ABCC announces court action against Queensland employees for engaging in unlawful industrial action

ABCC announces latest court action against Queensland employees for engaging in unlawful industrial action

Australia’s building industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), has commenced action in court against seven employees of Queensland construction giant, J Hutchinson Pty Ltd.

The ABCC is alleging that the employees engaged in unlawful industrial action during the construction of the Queen Street Village project on the Gold Coast in June 2021.

Each of the employees walked off the job whilst working on the $85 million development located on the former Gold Coast Hospital site at the corner of Queen and Nerang Streets.

In its statement of claim, the ABCC is alleging that:

  • A meeting was held on the morning of 8 June 2021 in the main site lunchroom, attended by a group of workers and an official from the CFMMEU;

  • Immediately following the meeting, the workers downed tools and left the project;

  • The workers absented themselves from the project for the remainder of the workday; and

  • Whilst the project remained open, the only work undertaken was by plumbers and gasfitters.

The ABCC is alleging that the workers, by their actions, engaged in unlawful industrial action and therefore contravened s46 of the Building and Construction Industry Improving Productivity Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).

Under the legislation, the maximum penalties that the courts can impose are $220,000 for a body corporate and $44,000 for an employee.

In its February 2022 ‘Industry Update’, the ABCC noted it had secured penalties against unions and their representatives amounting to a total of $1,949,678 for the financial year to date, the vast majority of which had been imposed against the CFMMEU ($1,810,678).

Industry Update – February 2022 edition | ABCC

For questions about safety, union right of entry, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 WAL LAW, 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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