08/07/2016 - 14:21

More fines added to CFMEU's 'egregious record'

08/07/2016 - 14:21

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Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union WA assistant secretary Joe McDonald was among 29 union representatives fined a total of $61,000 for unlawful industrial action at Lakeside Joondalup in 2014.

It isn't the first fine for CFMEU assistant secretary Joe McDonald (Photo: Tim van Bronswijk).

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union WA assistant secretary Joe McDonald was among 29 union representatives fined a total of $61,000 for unlawful industrial action at Lakeside Joondalup in 2014.

The action was taken on June 4 of that year, when Mr McDonald held a strike meeting of about 60 workers at the $208 million project site.

He had demanded that the head contractor pay workers strike pay for a series of union meetings they had attended during work time that year. At the June 4 meeting, Mr McDonald directed workers to leave the site that day and not perform work.

However under the Fair Work Act it is illegal for employers to pay strike pay, including for attending union meetings during work time.

Mr McDonald was today fined $5,500, while the workers who left the site were also found to have undertaken unlawful industrial action.

Federal Court justice Michael Barker said the actions had been deliberate.

“The fact of the matter is that the history of contraventions attributable to Mr McDonald shows that he uses unlawful industrial action as a calculated tool,” Justice Barker said.

It comes just a month after the CFMEU and officials were fined $21,225 for blockading the Perth International Airport expansion project in 2013, preventing 160 employees from accessing the site.

Business News reported in 2013 that, in an eight-year period, Mr McDonald and the CFMEU were fined more than $1 million for actions he had been involved in.

Fair Work Building Commission director Nigel Hadgkiss said he was disappointed by the frequency of union officials deliberately defying workplace laws.

“Once again, the CFMEU has chosen to ignore lawful dispute resolution avenues and instead chose to take unlawful action – furthermore the union encouraged workers to do the same, thereby exposing them to the possibility of incurring financial penalties,” he said.

“This repeated and blatant disregard for workplace laws is of grave concern. Every worker is

entitled to expect that other people in their workplace will respect the law.”

Also today, the CFMEU and three officials were fined $53,000 for unlawful action at an industrial site in Brisbane.

In that decision, Federal Court Justice Michael Jarrett was scathign of the union, saying there was no evidence of contrition or remorse.

“The CFMEU has an egregious record of repeated and wilful contraventions of all manner of industrial laws,” Judge Jarrett said.

“… the gravity of the offence is substantially increased by the prior history of the CFMEU and the moral culpability and propensity for unlawful conduct to achieve its own ends that it so clearly demonstrates.

“There is plainly a need to impose punishment to deter the CFMEU and others like it from treating this country’s industrial laws as little more than an annoyance,” Judge Jarrett said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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