18 March 2015Seven CFMEU officials facing Australia-wide construction site bans

FWBC has applied to the Fair Work Commission to revoke or suspend seven CFMEU officials’ right of entry permits. This would prevent them from entering any building and construction sites in Australia.

FWBC’s application comes after the Federal Court penalised them for unlawful activity on three Adelaide construction sites.

Among the officials is Victorian CFMEU Organiser John Perkovic. FWBC is seeking to have Mr Perkovic banned from entering all construction sites for two years after he verbally abused a Government employee, calling him “a f**king piece of s**t” and referring to him as a “c**t”. The Federal Court penalised Mr Perkovic $5000 and Justice White said “Mr Perkovic attempted to belittle, humiliate and intimidate” the Government employee.

The Federal Court penalised the CFMEU and the officials a total of $205,100 for breaking federal right of entry laws at Resthaven Aged Care Facility, Ibis Hotel and Minda Homes Master Plan Stage 1 developments in Adelaide. The latter will provide accommodation for people living with intellectual disability.

The Federal Court described the officials’ behavior in the case as “coordinated and strategic”. “It is fair to describe the CFMEU record (in the courts) as dismal,” the Court said.

“The record indicates an attitude of indifference by the CFMEU to compliance with the requirements of the legislation regarding the exercise of rights of entry,” the Court said.

As a result of the Court’s findings, Fair Work Building and Construction is requesting the suspension or revocation of the following individuals’ right of entry permits:

• John Perkovic, Organiser, VIC – two year revocation

• Luke Stephenson, former Official, SA – two year revocation

• David Bolton, Organiser, SA – two year revocation

• Michael McDermott, Assistant Secretary – 18 month revocation

• Troy Smart, Organiser, WA – three month suspension

• Anthony Vitler, Organiser, ACT – three month suspension

• Anthony Sloane, Organiser, NSW – three month suspension

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said “holding a right of entry permit was a privilege” and that “everyone on a construction site needs to follow the law whether they are a union official, worker or employer”.

FWBC has a ‘no permit’ list to assist construction Site Managers in combatting rising reports of right of entry breaches. The list, which names any union official who does not hold a valid federal entry permit, can be found here.

A hearing to determine the outcome of the above applications is to be scheduled.

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