The CFMMEU has been fined $18,000 after an official contravened right-of-entry laws at the NextDC data centre project in Perth.
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union has been fined $18,000 after an official contravened right-of-entry laws at the NextDC data centre project in Perth.
Union organiser Stephen Parker entered the Multiplex-built project on Newcastle Street without an escort in 2019, stopping workers unloading door frames.
The penalty takes total fines issued against the CFMMEU to $3.9 million since 2016, according to the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Mr Parker had attended the site after workers were asked to stop work when temperatures rose above 37.5 degrees.
Mr Parker said he had been unaware he needed an escort, but Federal Court Justice Katrina Banks-Smith took a different view.
“Mr Parker understood that he required an escort on site, but regardless he moved around the site unescorted, albeit for a relatively limited period,” Justice Banks-Smith said.
While two supervisors had attempted to unload door frames, Mr Parker had stood nearby telling the supervisors they should not be doing that sort of work and did not have gloves on.
The supervisors requested he move so they could continue unloading.
“His conduct when standing near Mr Margin and Mr Morris and commenting on the task they were carrying out might properly be described as officious, but was not deliberate in the sense of premeditated,” Justice Banks-Smith said.
“He may have held legitimate concerns for the safety of Mr Margin and Mr Morris but his failure to respond to the request to move from where he was standing in the area was improper, as the union accepts.”
ABCC commissioner Stephen McBurney said it was a clear contravention of right of entry laws.
“The CFMMEU has an obligation to ensure its officials, including Mr Parker, abide by the very laws that provide him access to Australian building and construction sites,” Mr McBurney said.
“In addition to the rights bestowed upon Mr Parker as a federal permit holder, he has an obligation to act in accordance with the law.
“In this case the court found Mr Parker failed to comply with the site requirement that he be accompanied by an escort to ensure a safe workplace and refused to comply with reasonable requests to allow work to continue unimpeded.
“Since 2 December 2016, the CFMMEU and its representatives have been found to have contravened federal right-of-entry provisions 295 times in 36 cases, with a total of $3.9 million in penalties imposed.
“This pattern of behaviour exemplifies a business model being pursued by the CFMMEU in defiance of the important protections contained in the Fair Work Act.”