CFMMEU suffers double legal blow in the same week
One of Australia’s largest trade unions, the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy (CFMMEU), has suffered two legal setbacks that are likely to have significant impacts on the organisation in future years.
In the first case, Federal Court Justice Rares has imposed significant personal fines on several CFMMEU organisers without requiring a request from the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
In what is known as the Botany Cranes Case, Justice Rares ordered penalties against four CFMMEU officials for illegal pickets amounting to over $172,000 and against the union, $850,000.
In the period between 31 January 2019 and 1 February 2019, CFMMEU officials and organisers had organised a picket line and had threatened to organise or take action at the Botany Cranes Yard against Botany Cranes, with intent to apply undue pressure to the company to make a building enterprise agreement on terms proposed by the union.
Justice Rares determined that parts of the penalty were to be made to the company’s Operations Manager for “distress and hurt to her feelings”, the company itself, and to the NSW Police Force who attended the picket.
In the second case, Deputy President Saunders has rejected submissions from the CFMMEU that they are not required to provide particular documents in support of an application by the Queensland State Secretary to secure a new right of entry permit.
The documentation relates to an assessment of whether the State Secretary is a `fit and proper person’ based upon his conduct of encouraging or tolerating what Deputy President Saunders refers to as “a general culture within the CFMMEU of non-compliance with the law”.
The documentation requested will be required to be produced by the CFMMEU in July 2021.
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