Williams v AMWU, CFMEU, Powell, Mavromatis and Stephenson

Applicant: ABCC Inspector Andrew Williams

Respondent(s): AMWU, CFMEU & Michael Powell, Tony Mavromatis, Gareth Stephenson and Julio Pizzaro.

Date filed:  6 February 2009

Court Findings:

he respondents contravened s38, s43 and s44 of the BCII Act on multiple dates relating to the ‘West Gate Bridge’ dispute. A breakdown of the dates of contravention, the court’s findings and penalties are in the judgement attached.

In late 2008 John Holland Pty Ltd was engaged as the principal contactor on the West Gate Bridge Strengthening Project in Melbourne. The project involves strengthening and providing additional lanes on the West Gate Bridge and installing anti-suicide barriers.

Workers engaged by labour hire firm Civil Pacific Services (Vic) Pty Ltd were undertaking building work on the project for John Holland. The employees were covered by an agreement between Civil Pacific and the AWU.

On 3 February 2009 the CFMEU and AMWU contacted John Holland and requested that it make an agreement with the unions to cover employees at the project. The next day John Holland told the CFMEU and AMWU that they were not in a position to finalise an agreement with the unions. On 8 February 2009, Civil Pacific signed an agreement with the CFMEU and AMWU which required it to pay its workers higher rates of pay. In order to cover the increased labour cost, Civil Pacific requested John Holland increase its contractual payment. John Holland refused. This provoked a protracted demarcation dispute between the CFMEU, AMWU and the AWU.

In the afternoon of Friday, 6 February 2009, after a picket was established at the site, the ABCC obtained an injunction in the Federal Court restraining the CFMEU, the AMWU and their members from preventing or hindering access to the project.

John Holland later brought its own proceedings, which were heard in their interlocutory stages with the ABCC proceedings. The ABCC intervened in the John Holland proceedings. The John Holland proceedings were later discontinued.

The ABCC and John Holland obtained broadened injunctions on four occasions, 17 February 2009, 24 March 2009, 30 April 2009 and 1 May 2009. The number of injunctions reflected the progressive extension of protest conduct.

Court Outcome:

On 28 July 2010 the CFMEU, AMWU and three union officials were ordered to pay a total of $1,325,000 in penalties for 52 breaches of workplace laws. The penalties were as follows:

CFMEU $858,000

CFMEU official Michael Powell $71,000

CFMEU official Gareth Stephenson $71,000

 AMWU $298,000

AMWU official Tony Mavromatis $27,000

 

view the reported case at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2010/754.html