CFMEU and 19 officials penalised $817,500 for “deliberate, flagrant and systematic” campaign in Queensland

The CFMEU and 19 of its officials have been penalised $817,500 after they shut down two major Brisbane sites in a “deliberate, flagrant and systematic” campaign aimed at forcing the sites’ head contractor to sign a CFMEU enterprise agreement.

Work stoppages took place over several months in 2013 at two construction sites – the $777 million Enoggera Army Barracks and $60 million QUT Kelvin Grove Campus. The industrial action continued until the head contractor signed the CFMEU enterprise agreement.

Union officials at the QUT site stood in front of cars and prevented workers who wanted to work from accessing the site. They held up signs labelling the workers “gutless grubs” “scabs” “dogs” and “weak as p*ss”.

In November 2012, the CFMEU published an article referring to the head contractor as “the last major tier one builder to knock over” in terms of signing a CFMEU enterprise agreement.

When work first stopped at the QUT site on 8 March 2013, CFMEU Assistant State Secretary Jade Ingham warned the head contractor’s operations manager: “this is just the start of it, the sooner you sign the agreement, the sooner it will stop”.

At a meeting of workers on 7 November 2013, after a further stoppage of work, some workers raised the prospect of returning to work with CFMEU Assistant State Secretary Jade Ingham. Mr Ingham responded with words to the effect “Look, I’m running this meeting, keep quiet”. The workers left the site on 7 November and did not return until 20 December 2013.

In its judgment today, the Court “[made] it clear that coercion and intimidation contrary to law will not be tolerated and will be the subject of significant sanctions”.

Justice Rangiah said the union’s condut was “deliberate, flagrant and systematic”, with “no evidence of any attempts by the CFMEU to take corrective steps to ensure that [CFMEU officials] and agents comply with the law”.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said “the sustained campaign on the head contractor impacted important major projects and risked the livelihoods of those who wanted to work.”

“The level of intimidation directed at both the head contractor and the workers is alarming,” Mr McBurney said.

“This was a protracted campaign orchestrated by repeat offenders intended to force the company to sign a CFMEU enterprise agreement.

“The penalties issued today by the Federal Court send a strong message that coercive and intimidatory behaviour will not be tolerated.”

More information is available on the ABCC legal case summary page.

A full list of union officials and their penalties is below.

Name

Number of Contraventions

Penalties

CFMEU

26

$551,900

Jade Ingham

11

$30,000

Kane Pearson

12

$37,500

Anthony Kong

14

$21,000

Kevin Griffin

12

$17,500

Michael Myles

7

$22,500

Andrew Sutherland

6

$10,500

Mark O’Brien

7

$22,500

Dennis Mitchell

7

$10,500

Chad Bragdon

6

$22,500

Edward Bland

2

$7,500

Duncan McAllister

8

$14,000

Benjamin Sheeran

2

$3,500

Wayne Scobie

4

$7,000

Mace Griffin

4

$7,000

John Cummins

1

$7,500

Ryan Whakaruru

2

$3,500

Lindsay Stohr

4

$7,000

Aaron Kelly

5

$10,500

Antonio Floro

3

$3,600

TOTAL

143

$817,500

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