CFMEU and its site delegate to face court for forcing worker to pay union fees

A CFMEU site delegate, Peter D’Arcy, is facing allegations in the Federal Circuit Court that he forced a worker to join the union and pay union fees at a site in Toowoomba. It is alleged the CFMEU is liable for the delegate’s conduct.

In a statement of claim, the ABCC alleges Mr D’Arcy forced a worker to join the union prior to the commencement of a site induction at the Grand Central Shopping Centre site on 27 March 2017.

The ABCC alleges that when Mr D’Aarcy asked the worker if he was a union member, the worker replied with words to the effect “not any more”. The following exchange is then alleged to have taken place:

Mr D’Arcy: “You’ll have to re-join [the Union]

Worker: “do I have to join?”

Mr D’Arcy: “Yes. The reason that I am here before the induction starts is to make sure that everyone is in the Union.”

Worker: “what if I don’t join the Union?”

Mr D’Arcy: “That’s fine, but you can’t work here, you’ll have to go and work somewhere else.”

When another worker heard this exchange, he joined the conversation and said words to the effect that it was “illegal”. Mr D’Arcy is then alleged to have replied with words to the effect, “If you want to work here then you have to be part of the Union”.

In response to a question from the first worker about how much the CFMEU membership would cost, Mr D’Arcy allegedly said it would be approximately over $500. The following exchange is then alleged to have occurred:

Worker:I’m only up here for a couple of days. So I’m basically coming up here to work for nothing.”

Mr D’Arcy: “Well, that’s just the way it is.”

The ABCC alleges the conduct in this case contravenes the adverse action, coercion and misrepresentation provisions of 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.

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