CFMEU taken to Task by FWBC

Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) has confirmed their action against a number of union officials from the nation’s largest construction union. According to media reports the FWBC is taking the union officials to court over their conduct which resulted in a blockade at a construction project in Perth last year.

The national secretary of the CFMEU, Dave Noonan as well as its’ state secretary Mick Buchan, Assistant State Secretary Joseph McDonald and organiser Tawa Harris have been charged over the alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 which they committed in 2013 when they organised a blockade of a concrete which was scheduled to occur on the site of the New Children’s Hospital in Perth on July 18, 2013. In addition to charges against the individual officials involved in the incident, the FWBC have named the union itself in the action as well as its Western Australian state chapter.

The building regulator recently released a statement in which it alleged that the CFMEU officials purposefully disrupted the pour despite knowing that it would financially impact the head contractor, in this case John Holland. They alleged that the action was undertaken with the purpose of forcing John Holland to agree to enterprise agreement demands which included a “whole of site” agreement applying common terms to all workers on site including those workers who weren’t employed by John Holland.

The regulator also alleges that the CFMEU posted Facebook notices and fliers the day before the blockade which resulted in around 600 workers gathering the following day and blocking the site’s main entrance. The blockade then moved to a nearby park, but not until it became clear that the pour was not going to take place.

Mr Buchan is alleged to have made statements to the large group gathered:

dave-noonanAddressing the crowed at the park, Buchan allegedly said the workers and union had sent a message about their ability to ‘pull the numbers whenever we f***ing need them’ and would do whatever it needed to do.

“The one important thing that has happened here today is we send a clear message to everyone around here that’s here today that we can pull the numbers whenever we f***ing need them and we’ll do whatever we need to do,” he allegedly said words to the effect of.

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Joseph McDonald also alleged made controversial statements to the crowd to the effect of “we are the union and we called the shots today”.

Each of the individuals mentioned above face penalties of $10,200 for each breach and the union itself faces a $51,000 penalty per breach.

The statement also confirmed that the Fair Work Building Commission has launched proceedings against the CFMEU’s organiser Joseph Myles in the Federal Court of Australia for his statements declaring “war” and for organising another blockade which held up work on the $4.102 billion Regional Rail Link project in Victoria. That particular blockade was apparently in response to the head contractor’s refusal to employ a union delegate.



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