27 February 2015Urgent message for building and construction workforce ahead of March 4 national rally

Building and construction industry workers, employers and unions, are urged to think carefully before getting involved in strike action or they risk breaking the law and being put before the courts.

A national rally is planned for Wednesday 4 March, 2015. Rallies are planned for Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Townsville, Mackay, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin and Tennant Creek.

FWBC’s Director Nigel Hadgkiss is urging anyone who is considering participating in strike action in any way to understand the possible consequences. “Attending and participating in rallies is an Australian democratic right. All I urge people in the construction industry to do is comply with the law when doing so,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

Workers

Workers must have permission from their employer before stopping work, or not turning up for work. Otherwise if they take part in Wednesday’s rally it could constitute unprotected industrial action, which is illegal.

Maximum penalty = $10,200.

Employers

Employers must not pay workers for time they are striking if the strike is unlawful. This is known as ‘strike pay’. It is illegal to pay strike pay. Maximum penalty = $51,000.

Unions

Unions and union officials cannot organise unprotected industrial action (an illegal strike). Maximum penalty = $51,000 for the union.

Maximum penalty = $10,200 for an official.

FWBC Director, Nigel Hadgkiss, said workers, employers and unions must obey workplace laws. “FWBC will not hesitate to bring people, including employers, before the court where necessary,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

Mr Hadgkiss encouraged employers and employees to call FWBC for information about the rules around industrial action and the consequences of breaking them.

“You can call our Hotline on 1800 003 338 for confidential advice,” he said. Or go to our website www.fwbc.gov.au or download our App for iPhone, iPad and Android at www.fwbc.gov.au/app

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