The ABCC finalised one matter before the courts in Queensland and launched proceedings in another matter in South Australia since the last Industry Update. A summary is below:
- On 10 November 2017, the CFMEU and two of its officials were penalised $54,500 after attempting to force workers to join the union at the Gladstone Boardwalk project in Central Queensland.
- The Federal Circuit Court found that CFMEU organiser Jody Moses warned workers in September 2013 with words to the effect that: “This is the way it will be. You have to join the union otherwise you won’t be able to work onsite and we will make sure you don’t work onsite.”
- In his decision Judge Jarrett said the case “involved a flagrant disregard of workplace rights and the freedoms of associations guaranteed under the Fair Work Act.”
- Acting ABC Commissioner Cathy Cato said the Court had sent a strong message that employees have the right to work on construction sites without being forced to join a union.
Federal Court proceedings were launched on 21 November against the CFMEU and its SA organiser Mark Gava for alleged right of entry breaches at the $185m Flinders Medical Centre Transforming Health project site.
The ABCC alleges that:
- On 2 December 2016, Mr Gava purported to exercise a right of entry onto the Adelaide site while knowing he did not have a valid right of entry permit.
- When asked by the site manager if he was aware his right of entry permit had expired, Mr Gava said: “No I am not aware of that. I didn’t know that, our office handles that, I’d be surprised if our girls didn’t know that.”
- Mr Gava later gave evidence on oath in a FWC hearing that he knowingly entered the site without a permit.
Acting ABC Commissioner Cathy Cato said the laws made it clear that union officials require a valid permit to exercise statutory right of entry under the Fair Work Act.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the Fair Work Act in this case is $54,000 for bodies corporate and $10,800 for individuals.