Picketing of building sites or ancillary sites is unlawful if the picket satisfies both of the following two criteria.
First—if the picket involves any of the following:
- action that prevents or restricts a person from accessing or leaving a building site or ancillary site
- action that has the purpose of preventing or restricting access to or from a building site or ancillary site
- action that would reasonably be expected to intimidate a person from accessing or leaving a building or ancillary site.
Second—where the picket is any of the following:
- motivated for the purpose of supporting or advancing claims against a building industry participant in respect of the employment of employees or the engagement of contractors by them
- motivated for the purpose of advancing the industrial objectives of a building association
- otherwise unlawful.
The maximum penalties are up to $42,000 for individuals and up to $210,000 for a body corporate.
Example: Unlawful pickets
Mai is site manager on a large commercial building site in the CBD. A group of Union officials have blocked access to the site by parking their vehicles across the entry gate. They are preventing workers, concrete trucks, subcontractors and office staff from entering or leaving. Mai asks the union officials why they are picketing the site. One union official says it is because the head contractor is refusing to enter into a union enterprise agreement. They say the blockade will be in place until the head contractor enters into an enterprise agreement with the union. Mai thinks the picketing may be unlawful.
Mai is correct. An unlawful picket may be occurring. Organising or participating in an unlawful picket may be a contravention of the BCIIP Act. It is also unlawful for a person to take action with intent to coerce or apply undue pressure to another person to agree or not agree to make, vary, extend or terminate a building enterprise agreement. Persons are entitled to make, vary or terminate enterprise agreements under the FW Act. Mai should contact the ABCC for advice and assistance.