Bully boy, ratbag construction union fined $250,000

If you think unions are scum in New Zealand then you haven’t seen how bad unions are in Australia.

One ratbag union has been pinged $250,000 for industrial bullying.

The militant construction union has been hit with fines of almost $250,000 after the Federal Court found it engaged in “industrial bullying” and deliberately flouted the law during a blockade at the $80 million Perth Airport expansion project.

In a scathing appeal judgment today, the court’s full bench found the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union had shown it preferred to pay civil penalties rather than obey the law.

The ruling comes after new ACTU secretary Sally McManus controversially declared last week that unionists should break the law when they believe it to be “unjust”.  

In today’s judgment, the Federal Court allowed an appeal by the Australian Building and Construction Commission against the primary judge’s 2016 ruling that the CFMEU and six of its officials should pay total fines of $21,000 over the blockade.

The court found those fines were too lenient and increased them to $242,000, including $195,000 for the union.

Among those fined were the CFMEU’s state secretary in Western Australia, Mick Buchan, and the union’s national president Joe McDonald, who has committed 53 prior contraventions of the law.

The case relates to the CFMEU’s move to prevent 160 workers from entering the Perth Airport site in 2013 during a dispute with a subcontractor, Concealed Interiors, over the non-payment of wages.

Judges John Dowsett and Steven Rares said in their judgment that Mr McDonald and the CFMEU were “serial recidivists”.

Not just recidivists…but serial recidivists…that’s pretty bad.

They found the CFMEU and its officials intended the airport blockade to affect companies apart from Concealed Interiors.

“It indiscriminately targeted all persons and businesses associated with the construction work at the site, regardless of their possible responsibility for what was only a ‘reasonable belief’ of the [union] that Concealed Interiors was in default of paying its, or some of its, employees their entitlements.

“As Mr Buchan said, ‘we don’t care where it comes from’. That statement reflected the reality of the blockade as industrial bullying.

Sadly, it is the workers who will pay the fines of their ratbag representatives.

 – The Australian

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.