November-December 2016 Industry Update
Summary of recent Right of Entry Permit activity
Right of Entry permits allow union officials to enter building worksites under certain circumstances. Holding a permit is deemed a privilege and it is important that the rules governing the use of Right of Entry permits are followed by relevant personnel.
The ABCC often makes submissions to the Fair Work Commission to refuse, revoke, suspend or impose conditions on an individual’s Right of Entry permit if concerns are raised regarding whether an individual meets the ‘fit and proper person’ criteria for holding a lawful permit or has otherwise misused their permit.
14 November 2016 - Joshua, Kennedy, Molina, Smart, Heath and Kerkvliet (CFMEU)
On 1 July 2016 the Fair Work Commission issued interim orders by consent in response to an application by the then-FWBC. The orders restrained CFMEU officials Douglas Heath, Peter Joshua, Phillip Kennedy, Brendan Kerkvliet, Vinnie Molina and Troy Smart from entering at least one crib room on BGC sites whilst on site holding discussions with workers, to ensure those workers who do not wish to participate in discussions have access to an alternate crib room.
The orders followed allegations that the officials failed to comply with directions to meet in one designated crib room, and in doing so repeatedly refused to respect the wishes of workers on the sites who did not wish to speak with union officials, when they visited the sites on numerous occasions between 28 January and 21 June 2016.
The interim orders were considered by all parties to be working well and were made Final Orders by consent on 14 November 2016. The orders will remain in place until the two Perth projects are completed. Related Federal Court proceedings were discontinued on the basis that the parties consented to the making of the Final Orders in the Fair Work Commission.
12 December 2016 – Michael Ravbar
The Federal Court dismissed an application by the ABCC seeking judicial review of decisions made by the Fair Work Commission to issue a federal right of entry permit to Mr Michael Ravbar, State Secretary of the CFMEU Branch in Queensland and Northern Territory.
The ABCC had argued the Fair Work Commission had not taken into account certain matters when considering Mr Ravbar’s permit application, such as the conduct of the State Branch while he had been Secretary and his own conduct at certain construction sites. The Court ruled the Fair Work Commission had not made a jurisdictional error in granting a right of entry permit to Mr Ravbar and had taken into account all matters it considered relevant.
The original FWC decision granting a federal right of entry permit to Mr Ravbar stands.