23/05/2008 - 12:56

CFMEU ordered to pay $35,000 fine

23/05/2008 - 12:56

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The Federal Court today ordered the militant construction union and two of its organisers, including assistant secretary Joe McDonald, to pay $35,000 in fines following industrial action at BHP Billiton's Ravensthorpe nickel project during 2005.

CFMEU ordered to pay $35,000 fine

The Federal Court today ordered the militant construction union and two of its organisers, including assistant secretary Joe McDonald, to pay $35,000 in fines following industrial action at BHP Billiton's Ravensthorpe nickel project during 2005.

 

A statement from the Australian Building and Construction Commission is pasted below:

 

The Federal Court today ordered the CFMEU, CFMEUW, Assistant Secretary Joe McDonald and organiser Michael Powell to pay penalties totalling $35,000.

The respondents had earlier admitted to engaging in unlawful industrial action at a nickel mine construction site in Ravensthorpe, WA in 2005. The CFMEU, CFMEUW and Mr Powell also admitted to aiding workers to go on strike a week later for 24 hours, in support of a claim for reinstatement of two workers who had been dismissed.

The first strike occurred on 17 August 2005 when 400 workers went on strike for 48 hours following a meeting with Mr McDonald and Mr Powell.

The second strike took place on 24 August 2005. Mr Powell conducted a meeting and 20 workers subsequently went on strike for 24 hours.

ABC Commissioner John Lloyd made the following comment.

"The issues that prompted the strikes should have been resolved by the parties according to the dispute settlement procedure in the certified agreements," Mr Lloyd said.

"It is highly unacceptable that a 48 hour strike by 400 workers occurred just one week after the agreements were certified.
"It is imperative for the Australian economy that large projects in the resources sector are
not delayed by unlawful industrial action."

In his decision, Justice Dowsett said:

"Where the parties have agreed upon dispute resolution procedures there is nothing oppressive about insisting upon their complying with the terms of such agreement. The strike action was quite arbitrary. The absence of any prior negotiations concerning the claims suggests that they may not have been the real, or sole, reason for the strike."

 

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