20/12/2007 - 16:42

91 rail workers ordered to pay $10,000 fines

20/12/2007 - 16:42

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The Federal Court today ordered 91 workers who took part in unlawful industrial action on the Perth to Mandurah railway project to pay fines of up to $10,000 each.

The Federal Court today ordered 91 workers who took part in unlawful industrial action on the Perth to Mandurah railway project to pay fines of up to $10,000 each.

A proportion of the penalty was suspended for six months.

Justice Gilmour declared that the employees engaged in unlawful industrial action. Also, a majority breached the terms of an order of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).

ABC Commissioner John Lloyd said today's decision was important.

"The contravention was serious as the strike lasted for seven days on a major project that had been plagued by industrial disruption," Mr Lloyd said.

"All in the industry, including workers, must realise that they will be held accountable if they contravene the law. A fair and efficient construction industry requires adherence to orders of the AIRC."

The Court made declarations that:

- 64 employees contravened the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 by engaging in unlawful industrial action and the Workplace Relations Act 1996 by breaching an order of the AIRC. The penalty for these employees was $10,000 of which $6750 is suspended;

- three employees contravened the BCII Act and the WR Act. The penalty for these employees was $8400 of which $5600 is suspended;

- 20 employees contravened the BCII Act. The penalty for these employees was $9000 of which $6000 is suspended; and

- four employees who failed to file an appearance or defence also contravened the legislation. The penalty for two of these employees was $10,000, of which $6750 is suspended. The penalty for the other two employees was $9000 of which $6000 is suspended. The employees to pay $5000 costs each.

In October 2007, 87 employees admitted the contraventions to the court.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union has pledged to pay the fines on behalf of the workers.

 

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