Work stoppages in Gold Coast & Brisbane result in $590k penalty

The Federal Court has ordered the CFMEU, CFMEUQ and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) to pay $550,000 to Lend Lease Project Management & Construction (Australia) Pty Ltd (Lend Lease) as a penalty for a campaign of work stoppages on the Gold Coast University Hospital project and Brisbane Supreme Court and District Court project last year.

Seven union organisers were also ordered to pay a $40,000 penalty to the Commonwealth as part of the judgment, which was handed down on 19 October 2012.

The judgment comes after FWBC also secured $101,930 in compensation payments for subcontractors that worked on the two sites. FWBC seeking compensation, in addition to civil penalties, means that lost income is returned directly to affected subcontractors and employees who suffered during a strike.

FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns said the unions and organisers signed an agreed statement of facts admitting to taking unlawful industrial action over 12 days in May 2011.

“This campaign of unlawful work stoppages delayed the Gold Coast University Hospital project by eight days and the Brisbane law courts project by five days,” Mr Johns said.

“The admitted unlawful industrial action cost the head contractor around $1.21 million.

“It is unacceptable, in this day and age, for unions and their representatives to take such reckless action to the detriment of major, public projects.”

Mr Johns said the unions claimed the action was motivated by a campaign to eradicate alleged sham contracting from the Lend Lease sites.

“I urge union representatives, and anyone working in the construction industry, to refer all allegations of sham contracting to FWBC,” he said.

“We will investigate and take legal action if the allegations prove accurate."

“I would like to see unions working with us to prevent sham contracting, rather than take matters into their own hands.”

Lend Lease engaged up to 86 subcontractors on the hospital project and 28 subcontractors on the law courts project. The company estimated that the daily cost of building the projects was $56,999 for the law courts and $115,722 for the hospital.

The matter will be subject to a further hearing on 8 November 2012 for the parties to provide written submissions on an injunction to prevent any further industrial action on the projects.

Further information

FWBC Media Backgrounder –

image descriptionCourt proceedings launched over Brisbane and Gold Coast stoppages

FWBC Media Release –

image descriptionFWBC secures compensation for Queensland subcontractors