21 April 2016Scott Vink added to no permit list

CFMEU official Scott Vink has had his Right of Entry Permits suspended for two years following an incident at the Pacific Fair shopping centre redevelopment which resulted in Mr Vink and the CFMEU being dealt near maximum fines of $9,000 and $48,000 respectively.

The Fair Work Commission yesterday accepted FWBC’s submission that Mr Vink’s permits should be revoked for a full two years after Judge Vasta described Vink’s behaviour as “sheer thuggery”.

Mr Vink had purported to enter the Pacific Fair site for safety purposes but he instead went to the site sheds and removed workers’ belongings, including taking their lunches from the fridge and leaving them outside on the ground.

When approached by a sub-contractor’s health and safety manager, Vink launched into an obscenity-laced tirade claiming workers should not use  site amenities unless they were CFMEU members.

An audio file of the exchange obtained by FWBC includes the following comments:

  • “Get out of the shed you scab.”
  • “You’re a f*cken piece of sh*t mate, that’s what you are.”
  • “What did I just say mate? Get this sh*t out of the f*cken shed. Don’t make it any worse.”
  • “No, maybe you can put Neil’s stuff in the fridge, Neil’s a union member.”

In handing down the penalty, Judge Vasta said the only reasons for Mr Vink’s behaviour was “to intimidate the employees and to reinforce to others at the building site, the notion that non-union membership (was) not going to be tolerated”.

Following the Federal Court outcome, the Gold Coast Bulletin (10 March 2016) reported that Mr Vink claimed he did nothing wrong stating: “It’s a political witch hunt and I’m not concerned about it at all”.

In revoking the permits, FWC Senior Deputy President Richards reiterated that Mr Vink misused his Right of Entry privileges to pursue other agendas.

“The current Right of Entry Permit was misused in an act of deception in order to achieve entry to the construction site for an ulterior purpose. Mr Vink entered the site for the ulterior purpose, which was to demonstrate a particular industrial objective.” Senior Deputy President Richards said.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said the misuse of Right of Entry occurred too often in the construction industry

“I am growing increasingly fearful that this malpractice will become a case of ‘the boy who cried wolf’. The CFMEU, in particular, has a proven track record of using bogus safety issues to get on to a site to pursue an industrial agenda,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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