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Injunction on union boss

WESTERN Australian union heavyweight Joe McDonald has been slapped with an injunction barring him from encouraging construction workers to strike at a Perth high-rise building site.

Justice John Gilmour granted the injunction in the Federal Court in Perth this week after the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner applied for the court order to stop what it claimed was unlawful industrial action.

The ABCC alleges Mr McDonald, the WA assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and CFMEU officer Michael Buchan breached the Building Construction Act by encouraging employees at a CBD construction site to strike twice for a total of five days in June.

Mr McDonald and Mr Buchan claim CFMEU members at the site suggested the strike action because of safety concerns.

The ABCC said the real reasons the strikes occurred were because the construction company had involved the police to remove the pair from the site.

Justice Gilmour said that may well have led to the strikes, but he found Mr McDonald and Mr Buchan had engaged in unlawful industrial action.

"Whatever the real reasons, I am satisfied to the necessary degree that they had nothing to do with any reasonable concern as to any imminent danger to the health or safety of any employee on the site," Justice Gilmour said.

Both had hidden behind spurious concerns to the health and safety of employees to advance their own industrial aims, Justice Gilmour said.

"It is the very behaviour which the commonwealth parliament has made clear should be eradicated from the building industry in this country," he said.

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