28 October 2016 FWBC claims six Queensland building sites targeted by union campaign

The CFMEU and three of its representatives are facing court action along with the CEPU and two of its representatives after a major contractor was targeted as part of a coordinated campaign to cause disruption and delay, FWBC claims. 

According to claims lodged in the Federal Court, six of the Watpac’s Queensland projects, including the Commonwealth Games Velodrome and the Ronald McDonald House project were each shut down for two days after Watpac engaged a subcontractor who did not have a CFMEU enterprise agreement. FWBC alleges that on 19 August 2016:

  • CFMEU representatives Kurt Pauls and Justin Steele attended the Newstead Project and met with workers on the site. Following the meeting, workers left the project and did not return the following day. When asked why the workers were leaving, Mr Pauls said words to the effect of “the boys are going home and they won’t be back ‘til Monday,” because of a “failure to consult by Watpac and use of non-EBA subcontractors.”
  • Mr Pauls and Mr Steele attended the Velodrome Project and met with workers on the site. During the meeting workers were told that “there’s a precast contractor on another Watpac project that’s not playing the game”, and “Watpac’s been using a non-EBA (trade) company. We don’t stand for this”. Workers left the site and did not return the following day.
  • Mr Pauls and Mr Steele attended the Southpoint Project to meet with workers. Mr Steele told the project manager “We’ve been sent from head office” and “it’s nothing you’ve done, it’s something Watpac has done”. After meeting with Mr Pauls and Mr Steele, workers left the site and did not return the following day.
  • Mr Pauls and Mr Steele attended the Ronald McDonald House Project to meet with workers. Mr Steele told the project manager “the boys are going out and they’ll be back Monday”. Following the meeting, workers left the site and did not return the following day.
  • CFMEU representative Eddie Bland joined CEPU representatives Robbie Gould and Mark Bateman at the Pullman Ibis Project and informed the site manager that workers would be leaving and not returning to complete work that was scheduled for the following day due to the contractor engaging non-EBA subcontractors on other projects.
  • Mr Bland attended the Mary Street Project where he informed the project manager that he wanted to talk to workers about a subcontractor who did not have a CFMEU enterprise agreement. Following the meeting, workers left the site and did not return the following day.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that subcontractors cannot be discriminated against based on the workplace agreements they reach with their staff.

“The allegations raised in this case are very serious. Subcontractors are often small to medium family enterprises. The overwhelming pressure that is allegedly being applied to major contractors to force these family businesses out of the construction industry is of serious concern,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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