$53,000 penalty for CFMEU: Judge says “country’s industrial laws little more than an annoyance” to the union

The CFMEU and three of its officials have today been dealt penalties totalling $53,000 by the Federal Circuit Court for organising unlawful industrial action at the Brooklyn on Brookes apartment project site in Fortitude Valley.

CFMEU officials Chad Bragdon, Jade Ingham and John “Jack” Cummins admitted to instigating unlawful industrial action at the site beginning on 7 April 2014. The unlawful strike continued until 12 April inclusive.

The union organised the action in an attempt to pressure the head contractor to reinstate CFMEU delegate Zoran Bogdamovic on the project.

The unlawful industrial action impacted six normal working days at the project with employees picketing the site and refusing to carry out any work.

Mr Bragdon was penalised $3,000 while Mr Ingham and Mr Cummins were penalised $2,500 each and a penalty of $45,000 was ordered against the CFMEU.

In handing down the decision, Judge Jarrett said there was no evidence if contrition or remorse from any of the officials or the union.

“The CFMEU has an egregious record of repeated and wilful contraventions of all manner of industrial laws,” Judge Jarrett said.

“… the gravity of the offence is substantially increased by the prior history of the CFMEU and the moral culpability and propensity for unlawful conduct to achieve its own ends that it so clearly demonstrates.”

“There is plainly a need to impose punishment to deter the CFMEU and others like it from treating this country’s industrial laws as little more than an annoyance,” Judge Jarrett said.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss welcomed the decision but expressed disappointment at the poor state of the rule of law in the building and construction industry.

“In this case, six days were impacted by an unlawful strike simply because the CFMEU decided it would ignore the law to pursue an illegitimate agenda – to have one of its delegates employed on site,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“FWBC will continue to promote the rule of law in the Australian building and construction industry and take action against those who choose to ignore it.”

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