Penalties imposed this financial year to date Penalties imposed last financial year
$1,417,190 $5,929,065*
*2,993,300 subject to appeal

Highest personal payment order for union official on a "mission to get" subcontractor

On 7 December 2018, the Federal Court ordered the CFMMEU and its official Joseph Myles pay a total $294,000 after Mr Myles threatened to blockade and organised industrial action at the Springvale Level Crossing site in Melbourne 2013.

Mr Myles has 90 days to pay the $44,000 penalty. This is the second personal payment order made against Mr Myles and the largest personal payment order made by the Court in ABCC litigation.

The Court found that in a meeting on 19 June 2013, Mr Myles threatened to take action against the head contractor if they engaged the subcontractor and said he was “on a mission to get Clifton Formwork”.

In addition to organising unlawful industrial action and attempting to coerce the head contractor, Mr Myles contravened right of entry laws three times on 13 February 2014, 19 March 2014 and 1 April 2014.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said it was significant the Court again ordered Mr Myles personally pay the penalty for his unlawful conduct.

“All building industry participants should now be on notice that personal payment orders will provide the requisite measure of specific deterrence. This was not previously available when the tab was being picked up by the CFMMEU and there was no personal consequence for individual contraveners,” Mr McBurney said.

 

High Court dismisses CFMMEU challenge to maximum penalties; orders union to pay ABCC legal costs

The High Court on 5 December 2018 refused the CFMMEU special leave to appeal against a Full Federal Court decision that imposed maximum penalties of $306,000 on the union.

The penalty was for the unlawful conduct of its former Queensland President Dave Hanna in February 2015 at the Broadway on Ann site in Fortitude valley. At the time, Mr Hanna refused to leave the site, squirted water in the face of the site manager and at his mobile phone and used abusive language.

In October 2017, six maximum penalties were imposed on the CFMMEU for Mr Hanna’s right of entry contraventions. The ABCC successfully defended a union appeal on the penalty in the Full Federal Court in August 2018. The High Court has this month refused leave to hear a further appeal, bringing the case to a conclusion.

In imposing the original penalty on the CFMMEU in October 2017, Federal Circuit Court Judge Vasta described the union as “the most recidivist corporate offender in Australian history”.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the High Court’s refusal to grant special leave vindicates the position of the ABCC.

The High Court ordered that the CFMMEU pay the ABCC’s legal costs of defending the special leave application.

 

CFMMEU penalised $313,000 and ordered to take out advertisement for threatening to “smash” contractors

On 18 October 2018, the Federal Court ordered the CFMMEU and seven of its officers to pay penalties totalling $313,000 for their unlawful conduct against a number of concreting companies in Sydney in 2014 and 2015.

In a significant ruling the Court also ordered the CFMMEU to publish an advertisement of the fact that contraventions have been found and penalties imposed.

The Federal Court found the CFMMEU and senior officers, including former NSW State Secretary Brian Parker; Assistant State Secretary Robert Kera and organiser Luke Collier took action against a group of concreting companies to coerce them to make an enterprise agreement with the union.

In addition, the Court found the CFMMEU and its officers had contravened right of entry laws by hindering and obstructing workers and acting in an improper manner.

At a meeting on 5 June 2014, CFMMEU official Darren Taylor threatened to “smash” the jobs of one of the subcontractors so the other contractors would “know what is coming”. Mr Taylor told the subcontractors if they didn’t sign an agreement with the CFMMEU it would “pick one of you and come after you”.

Following the meeting CFMMEU Assistant Secretary Robert Kera sent a threatening text message reading “Eenie meenie miney mo!” to a contractor who had attended the meeting. Mr Kera and Mr Parker participated in a blockade of the Wolli Creek Site on 16 March 2015.

In his judgment, Justice Flick said “The conduct… evidences a continuing commitment on the part of the CFMEU to pursue its industrial objectives by unlawful means and a continuing commitment to pay such penalties as are imposed as but the “cost of doing business”.

The CFMMEU and individual respondents have appealed this decision to the Full Court.