There have been two matters finalised in the courts since the last Industry Update:

Near maximum penalties after worker told CFMMEU he would be “working for nothing” if made to join union on Toowoomba site

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed total penalties of $55,080 against the CFMMEU and its site delegate after he pressured a landscaper to join the union despite only being contracted to work on a Toowoomba building site for a couple of days.

The CFMMEU was penalised $48,600 which is 90 per cent of the maximum fine. The CFMMEU’s site delegate, Peter D’Arcy was penalised $6,480.  

Mr D’Arcy admitted that he made a reckless misrepresentation to the worker that he had to join the union prior to a site induction at the Grand Central Shopping Centre site on 27 March 2017.

During one exchange where the worker asked Mr D’Arcy about the cost of the union membership fee, Mr D’Arcy said it would be about $500 leading to the following exchange:

Worker:I’m only up here for a couple of days. So I’m basically coming up here to work for nothing.”
Mr D’Arcy: “Well, that’s just the way it is.”

In his judgment Judge Egan said Mr D’Arcy’s conduct had the effect of promoting a “closed union shop”. He also said Mr D’Arcy’s behaviour had “effectively, and practically, an element of coercion.” 

“the worker would effectively be working to pay the union its dues rather than working for his own monetary gain. After paying the union fee, the worker would have had nothing to show for his having provided his labour.” 

Court imposes penalties on the CFMMEU and Hutchinson Builders for a ‘deliberate’ CFMMEU attempt to ‘thwart’ government officers

The Federal Circuit Court has imposed total penalties of $35,700 against the CFMMEU and its representative Mark O’Brien and former official Michael Myles, after workers at a South Brisbane apartment site downed their tools in response to a visit by Queensland Government officers.

Hutchinson Builders was also penalised $1,200 for contravening strike pay provisions in the Fair Work Act after they made payments to each of their 10 employees who engaged in the unlawful industrial action.

The penalties follow an incident on 9 December 2013 where two inspectors from the Queensland Government’s then Building Construction Compliance Branch (BCCB) attended the $53 million Arena Apartment’s site to conduct an audit.

During the inspectors’ visit Mr Myles entered the site and directed a number of the employees to stop work and go to the lunch room.

When approached by employees of Hutchinson Builders about his presence on the site, Mr Myles said words to the effect: “This is what we do if these kind of people [BCCB inspectors] are on the job…our boys in the shed until they leave…end of story.”