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:

Finalised matter

CFMEU penalised $54,500 after demanding Queensland workers join the union

  • 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.

New matter

ABCC launched legal action against CFMEU alleging right of entry breaches in SA

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.