Feb 17, 2021

Union cops fine for stadium dispute

Union cops fine for stadium dispute

The Federal Court has fined the CFMMEU $190,000 and official Grant Harradine $20,000 over industrial action during the Queensland Country Bank Stadium build in Townsville.

Employees who took part in the action were also fined up to $5000 each.

Commenting on the outcome, Australian Building and Construction Commission commissioner Stephen McBurney said the penalties reflected the gravity of the offending conduct.

“The CFMMEU’s actions were motivated by a desire to pressure a local subcontractor to comply with the union’s will, regardless of the cost to the company,” he said.

He said the court made an order for payment of legal costs in addition to the penalties imposed.

The union has described the case as ‘a textbook example of injustice’, saying the ABCC had shown zero interest in the wellbeing or rights of workers.

“The union is pleased to see a commitment from the federal Labor opposition to disband the whole rotten sham that is the ABCC,” a CFMEU Queensland/Northern Territory spokesman said.

The case involved action against local business PJ Walsh Constructions in March 2019.

Mr Harradine was accused of organising an unlawful ban which involved workers refusing to work as part of a campaign to coerce the subcontractor to make a building enterprise agreement with the CFMMEU.

The court found 16 employees took part in the unlawful industrial action resulting in the subcontractor being unable to perform any work on the project for three days.

Eleven employees were penalised $5,000 while a further five employees were penalised $4,500 for their part in the unlawful industrial action. Total penalties imposed on the employees were $77,500.

The court found the actions contravened the unlawful industrial action and coercion provisions in the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).