92,000 More Reasons For Parliament To Support ‘Ensuring Integrity’ Laws

Master Builders Australia

The latest Federal Court decision has provided 92,000 more reasons why the Parliament should support proposed ‘Ensuring Integrity’ laws that will ensure building unions play by the rules just like everyone else.

The judgement (Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (No 2) [2019] FCA 1667) found that the CFMMEU and its officials had broken the Fair Work laws eight times by engaging in coercion and adverse action, resulting in total penalties of $92,000 including $12,000 payable personally an official.

Master Builders Australia’s CEO Denita Wawn said that the case highlights the urgent need for the Parliament to pass the proposed ‘Ensuring Integrity’ laws so that building unions learn to play by the rules or face disqualification or deregistration.

“This is the 24thjudgement in just over two years where building unions and their officials have been found guilty of coercion and taking adverse action against a company for not signing up to the union pattern EBA,” Denita Wawn said.

“This takes the tally of Federal Court judgements finding against building unions to more than 80 in just over two years, representing almost 450 separate instances where they’ve been found guilty of breaking Fair Work laws,” she said.

“The judgment also highlights the ongoing trend where building unions and their officials, despite being found guilty of breaking workplace laws, continue to operate with an apparent belief they are above the law. One official involved in the case has broken workplace laws more than 10 times in just the last few years alone,” Denita Wawn said.

“Unions and their officials who repeatedly and deliberately break the law must learn to play by the rules like everyone else or face the consequences” said Ms Wawn “and that is exactly what the Ensuring Integrity laws will do,” she said.

The judgement comes on the back of yesterday’s announcement that fresh legal proceedings have started in Queensland where building unions and another official face yet more new allegations of breaking the law, this time by allegedly forcing workers to join a union before they could work.

Court documents allege that the official engaged in conduct and threats including:

“You’re not working Sunday. I’m not going to approve you to work Sunday until this grubby little c**t joins the union”

and

“I remember you now. You were that cheeky f**king little c**t who refused to be part of the union. Youre a grubby little c**t. I remember tearing your papers up”.

Denita Wawn said that this latest case is typical of the illegal and thuggish style that building unions deploy, and which building and construction small businesses face every single day.

“While there’s often a focus on particular CFMMEU officials, that’s just the tip of the iceberg and these cases evidence how widespread and systemic and entrenched the union’s culture of bullying and lawlessness has become,” she said.

“Bullying is not tolerated in the community so it should not be tolerated from the CFMMEU or its officials. Unions do not have to bully and constantly flout the law to stand up for their members,” Denita Wawn said.

/Public Release.