The ABCC has launched legal action against the CFMEU and two officials for alleged breaches of right of entry involving abusive behaviour at a Tasmanian construction site in October 2016.
Federal Court action has commenced against union organisers Kevin Harkins and Richard Hassett in relation to the $21.8 million Elwick Road Project in Hobart.
In a statement of claim lodged with the court, the ABCC said that during discussions on right of entry to the project, site management advised the union officials they were required to follow the provisions in the Fair Work Act. Mr Harkins allegedly said words to the effect:
“You know we don’t do that. My boss is bigger than your boss. This is a bullsh*t law and why would we comply with it?”
“We can get around it. We can be a pain in the ar*e.”
“You are stupid … look at all the trouble you have caused this job now, you d*ckhead.”
The ABCC statement of claim also alleged Mr Hassett contravened the Fair Work Act with the use of indecent language and acting in an aggressive manner, saying words to the effect:
“He is a f*ckin’ incompetent c**t. Always using his words to push the code compliance and Fair Work bullsh*t to me.”
“Don’t make me angry … I’m sick of your bullsh*t.”
“I’m closing the amenities f*cking down. What do you say to that … God you are a d*ckhead. F*cking incompetent c**t.”
“I f*ckin’ have all the power.”
“We don’t recognise the Code … You don’t want to get on the bad list.”
According to the ABCC claim, various persons objected to the abuse, with one manager referring to “offensive, personal attacks” and “nasty malicious behaviour” towards him.
Acting ABCC Commissioner Cathy Cato said the allegations of abusive behaviour were extremely concerning.
“It is unacceptable for people on worksites to be subjected to abusive or aggressive behaviour,” Ms Cato said.
“Permit holders have rights of entry under the Fair Work Act, but with those rights comes an obligation not to act in an improper manner.”
The maximum penalty for each breach of the Fair Work Act in this case is $54,000 for bodies corporate and $10,800 for individuals. The matter is listed for a case management hearing on 20 October.
See also: ABCC Legal Case Summary