CFMMEU in Court for activity at Adelaide Airport construction project
The Federal Court is expected to soon hand down its decision following months of industry activity at Watpac’s Adelaide Airport construction project in 2019. The construction union giant the CFMMEU and nine of its officials are likely to be handed significant fines.
Action was commenced in 2020 by the industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (the ABCC), who alleged numerous contraventions by the union and its officials, including breaches of workplace rights and non-compliance with right of entry provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act).
The ABCC alleged that union officials attended the site on six separate occasions, consistently refusing to show their entry permits, making threatening statements, and disrupting the work of subcontractors on-site.
It is understood that the union is facing a total of 144 unlawful entry charges for the project.
It is specifically alleged by the ABCC that officials of the union, on different occasions:
Refused requests to produce their right of entry permits;
Failed to report to the site office before entering the site;
Failed to comply with reasonable OH&S requests;
Falsely represented that an official possessed state OH&S authorisation to access the site;
Attended the site and demanded the Site Manager `shut the site down’ due to OH&S concerns, despite producing no evidence of any serious or imminent risk to any worker on the site; and
Made threatening and abusive remarks to the Watpac Site Manager.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the Act is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.
Further details will be provided when the Court’s decision is published.
For questions about the ABCC, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.