Trade unions in Australia

Union ratbags threatening whistleblowers in corruption investigation

As Australia union corruption inquiry rumbles into life union ratbags are threatening whistleblowers and meeting to prepare evidence so they all sing from the same songsheet.

Even when under investigation their corruption continues.

Building union corruption whistleblowers have been threatened and warned not to co-operate with investigations into alleged criminal activity as the federal government prepares to launch a national police taskforce to examine the construction sector.

Fairfax Media can also reveal that corruption suspects have been meeting to plan their responses to the Abbott government’s royal commission into unions, raising concerns evidence has been destroyed and false stories agreed upon in a bid to stymie investigators.

Four prominent construction companies in NSW and Victoria have also launched internal investigations after Fairfax Media recently revealed links between their operations, underworld figures and allegedly corrupt officials in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.? Read more »

Union corruption so out of hand Abbott convenes a Royal Commission

As the months drag by and more and more revelations of union corruption surface in investigations by the Independent Commissions Against Corruption pressure has been building to have a more fuller Federal inquiry.

Tony Abbott has now convened a Royal Commission to look at union corruption.

Five of the nation’s most powerful unions linked to the ALP have been named as targets of a wide-ranging royal commission on union corruption – in which former prime minister Julia Gillard and other MPs and union officials are expected to give evidence.

The announcement came as Fairfax Media learnt Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had referred to police a secret dossier compiled by a whistleblower that made explosive corruption allegations that centre on the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

Other unions are also set to be dragged in and the government says construction firms accused of paying kickbacks to union officials to curry peace or win contracts will also be in the gun.

The CFMEU is one of the five unions named in the terms of reference, along with the Electrical Trades Union, the Transport Workers Union, the Australian Workers’ Union, and the Health Services Union. ?? Read more »

Rare as hen?s teeth this sort of union boss

Who would have thought you’d ever hear a union boss face reality…and even speak up about it.

Rapacious unions and stupid subsidies have seen the end of Holden and Ford manufacturing in Australia, while rampant union corruption is a festering sore in many states.

One of Australia’s most senior union officials has criticised the industrial relations system for “dragging Australia down” and fired a broadside at “criminals” who betrayed the union movement and hijacked its agenda.

Australian Workers Union chief Paul Howes has called for a “grand compact” between business and unions to take the heat out of the industrial relations debate and admitted wages in some sectors had increased too quickly.

The speech was declared a “disgrace” by the Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, who said the AWU leader was “giving ammunition to Tony Abbott’s attack on Australian wages” and should resign his post.

Mr Howes warned the resources boom was now over and that Australia faced a jobs crisis, with 130,000 losses since the global financial crisis and “tens of thousands more lie just around the corner”.

Mr Howes urged his comrades in the union movement to concede there had been a pattern of unsustainable wages growth in some sectors of the economy, adding “we could be pricing ourselves out of the market”. ? Read more »

Busting union ratbags

The Abbott government in Australia has announced a royal commission to look into ratbag unions.

Given the parlous state of union accounts and law breaking here it is certainly something John Key should be looking at doing.

THE Abbott government will establish a royal commission into union malfeasance in the new year.

Terms of reference are under development but The Australian understands the inquiry will focus on slush funds and examine union financial management and financial control.

It is expected to be approved at one of the first cabinet meetings of next year.? Read more »

Dodgy Union Ratbags protecting their patch

Nowhere in the world are ratbag unions worse than Australia. Over there they are mired in scandal, bribery and corruption allegations. And yet they are still trying to pervert democracy.

After the excesses that are now being borne out in the NSW?Independent?Commission Against Corruption the O’Farrell government moved to clamp down on political donations and the unions are fighting back.

Political donations laws in NSW will be tested in the High Court for the first time in a case brought by the union movement, which argues they infringe freedom of political communication and association.

The laws, introduced by the O’Farrell government in 2011, ban donations from anyone other than individuals on the electoral roll and restrict what individual unions affiliated to a political party can spend on campaigns.

They also prohibit the payment of affiliation fees such as those paid by unions to Labor and restrict the ability of Unions NSW and business or environment groups from receiving money from member organisations to run political advertising.

In documents to be lodged on Monday, lawyers for Unions NSW and five trade unions – including two not affiliated with the ALP – argue the legislation ”interferes with the right of free communication in relation to political matters”. The secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon, said if the laws were allowed to stand they would ”muzzle debate and silence the voice of working people”.

”This case transcends the interests of any one political party,” Mr Lennon said. ”At its heart, our High Court action is about the right of working people to ensure their collective voice is heard.”

The unions have also announced an all out war to keep the Coalition from winning in the election later this year.

Dodgy Unionist

Aussie unions are shockers but none more so than the?Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. Their boss is a shocker:

Notorious WA union boss Joe McDonald has again been fined for bullying workers at a construction site.

The latest penalty against Mr McDonald and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union takes the total amount of fines against the pair to more than $1 million since 2005, according to Fair Work Building and Construction.

In the latest case, Mr McDonald, the CFMEU WA assistant secretary, told workers at the Herdsman Business Park in Perth’s west in February 2008 that they must be a member of the union or they could “f**king go and find somewhere else to work”, the Federal Magistrates Court heard.

There was no obligation for workers on the site to be union members.

During a meeting with the employees of various subcontractors, Mr McDonald said he would close down the site because there were not enough amenities or toilets and the scaffolding was not safe.

Two other CFMEU officers also instructed workers to stop work and leave the site.

All but four did for the rest of the day.

The court heard that shortly after, the site manager told Mr McDonald he had arranged for additional toilets for the site, but Mr Donald responded “I don’t care, the men aren’t going back to work”.

Mr McDonald was found guilty of unlawful industrial action and making false and misleading statements about workers’ requirements to join the union and fined $6380.

The union was fined $28,600 plus $15,000 in costs to be paid to FWBC.

Mr McDonald and the CFMEU have been embroiled in numerous legal cases relating to bullying of workers at WA construction sites.