ABCC announces latest court action against CFMMEU and officials in South Australia

ABCC announces latest court action against CFMMEU and officials in South Australia

The ABCC has announced its latest court action against the CFMMEU and four South Australian officials alleging the union contravened the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) through the actions of its organisers on the Yatala Labour Prison in Northfield SA over three days in August and September 2021.

The Commission is alleging the organisers contravened right of entry requirements, repeatedly refusing to comply with directions from site management to depart exclusion zones, and engaged in abusive, derogatory and offensive behaviour towards site management.

The ABCC is alleging that:

  • On 30 August 2021, Ms AR, Mr WR and Mr TB conducted a walk around the site during which Mr WR and Mr AR became abusive towards the health, safety and environment manager, using words to the effect of:

    o Mr WR:        “you are f**cking useless at your job; I can’t believe you call yourself a professional; you should be ashamed.

o   Ms AR:         “Completely f**king useless, you are going to kill someone”.

o   Ms AR:         “Seriously, aren’t you ashamed? It’s amazing how useless you are”.

o   Mr WR:        “How can you get up every morning and do a sh*t job? Aren’t you ashamed?”

In addition to the safety manager, it is alleged that both Mr WR and Ms AR made derogatory comments to the Safety Supervisor and Site Manager on the project.

Further, it is alleged that Ms AR entered an exclusion zone without appropriate authorisation and refused to leave the area when directed to do so.

  • On 31 August 2021, the ABCC allege Mr WR and Mr TB disrupted a concrete pour after raising a safety concern. Despite the site engineer immediately rectifying the issue raised, it is alleged that Mr TB stood close to the engineer and stated in an aggressive manner;

o   “I hope to God something goes drastically wrong and gets people seriously hurt, I really do. Then we can take (the contractor) to the cleaners in court, and you might learn your lesson”.

  • On 2 September 2021, the ABCC allege Mr DS used threatening words against the safety supervisor by saying, “The more you call your mates (referring to ABCC inspectors), the more I’ll come down on you”.

  • Later the same morning, Mr WR approached the safety supervisor and used foul language to intimidate him.

The maximum penalty that courts can impose for each contravention of the FWA is $66,600 for a body corporate (such as the union) and $13,320 for an individual.

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 925 529, 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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