18 August 2017Legal action against CFMEU for allegedly threatening to shut down Melbourne project

Federal Court proceedings have been launched against the CFMEU and two representatives for allegedly preventing non-financial members from working at a Melbourne construction site.

The ABCC alleges in a claim lodged with the Federal Court in Melbourne:

  • Threats were made by CFMEU delegate, Mario Raspudic, to “shut the whole site down” at the University College project unless a worker became a member of the union;

  • During the induction CFMEU delegate Raspudic asked workers whether they were members of the CFMEU;

  • Raspudic told a worker, words to the effect that if the he did not get his union ticket “fixed up” he could not work on the site;

  • Following the induction, Raspudic allowed a union member to start work but prevented two non-financial members from working;

  • Both workers later commenced work at the site after each had paid a membership fee to the CFMEU;

  • Raspudic approached a worker and said words to the effect: “You can’t do any work until you join up with the union” and grabbed a worker’s laptop and attempted to pull it from his grasp during a short struggle; and

  • CFMEU official Mark Travers threatened a contractor on the project that unless it paid "union rates" it could not continue its contract on the site.

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said workers cannot be prevented from working on Australian construction sites based whether or not they choose to be a member of the CFMEU.

“The ABCC takes allegations of workers being prevented from earning a living because they are, or are not, members of a union very seriously,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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

The maximum penalties that may apply in this case are $10,800 for individuals and $54,000 for bodies corporate for each contravention.

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