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‘Blue flu’ hits WA sites

The heated industrial climate in Western Australia has led to an outbreak of the ‘blue flu’ on two worksites in Perth over the past month, resulting in dozens of workers calling in sick. The Building Industry Task Force is considering whether to seek penalties against the CFMEU and workers involved in the ‘blue flu’, under the proposed Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill (Cole Bill), which would operate retrospectively from March 9 this year. Implications for employers The Cole Bill aims to cover both state and federal jurisdictions, and is underpinned by significantly increased penalties for unlawful industrial action.· Under the Cole Bill parties who take unlawful industrial action may be ordered to pay substantial uncapped compensation for damages to any person affected.· Once the Cole Bill comes into effect anyone affected by the ‘blue flu’ or any other illegal industrial action may be able to successfully seek penalties against those involved, (which would include employers, unions and workers) and also claim compensation for any damages resulting from the unlawful industrial action.For further information telephone Minter Ellison’s Kathy Reid on (08) 9429 7695 or Julie Marchese on (08) 9429 7553.

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