ABCC commences action against CFMMEU and officials for alleged illegal picket of WA construction yard

Australian Building and Construction Commission

The ABCC has taken court action against the CFMMEU and two of its officials after they allegedly took part in an unlawful picket at a Balcatta company’s construction yard on 3 May 2021.

The ABCC is alleging CFMMEU officials Bradley Upton and Stephen Parker led the picket, which involved up to 60 protesters gathering at the construction yard at 6.30am.

In its statement of claim the ABCC is alleging:

· An unlawful picket was organised when a CFMMEU email was sent to all WA members calling on them to attend the Balcatta company’s construction yard to protest.

· The unlawful picket involved approximately 60 protesters, many of them wearing CFMMEU branded clothing and waving CFMMEU flags.

· A truck that had earlier dropped off timber was prevented from leaving the yard after picketers marched up and down the footpath blocking the exit.

· As the truck approached the exit gate, Mr Upton shouted to the picketers: “C’mon guys, get here. March up and down, they can’t stop us doing this. Stop ’em.”

· At around 7.45am Mr Upton addressed the picketers where he said:

“At this stage what we’re going to do is we’ll probably ah pass it in, we’ll head off. But keep your emails up to date, we’ll be (sic) keep coming back. We’re going to keep having a go at these f**king maggots.”

· Following Mr Upton’s direction, the picketers left the site.

· Later in the day the CFMMEU posted a video of the picket on the WA CFMMEU Facebook page.

The maximum penalty for unlawful picketing under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 is $222,000 for a body corporate and $44,400 for an individual.

The ABCC will seek personal payment orders against both union officials. Such an order would require Court imposed penalties to be paid personally by Mr Upton and Mr Parker, and not be paid or reimbursed directly or indirectly by the CFMMEU or through crowd funding.

Mr Upton has had penalties of $15,600 imposed in previous ABCC and FWBC matters. Mr Upton no longer holds a Federal right of entry permit after the ABCC Commissioner submitted to the Fair Work Commission that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a permit.

This is the second unlawful picketing case filed by the ABCC in Western Australia since the new provision was enacted in December 2016. If you have been the subject of coercion, intimidation or an unlawful picket, you can call the ABCC on 1800 003 338 for free advice and assistance.

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