Construction union told to pay $110K for ‘hindering and obstructing’ contractors trying to pour concrete

Construction union told to pay $110K for ‘hindering and obstructing’ contractors trying to pour concrete

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In this article, you will get all the information regarding Construction union told to pay $110K for ‘hindering and obstructing’ contractors trying to pour concrete

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union and two of its officials have been penalised more than $110,000 for “hindering and obstructing” contractors trying to pour concrete.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court found the union and its officials breached the Fair Work Act when the two officials intentionally positioned themselves behind a concrete truck in August 2019 and refused to move.

Their actions caused the pour to be abandoned, wasting six cubic metres of concrete and costing the contractors a day and a half in lost work time on the $4.9 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project near Grafton in northern NSW.

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“The court found that the officials entered an exclusion zone, positioned themselves behind a concrete truck and refused to move when requested to do so,” the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) said on Friday.

The court imposed a penalty of $8,820 on official Dean Rielly, a $5,040 penalty on his fellow official Paul Fitzpatrick, and the CFMMEU copped a penalty of $100,800.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission is set to be abolished this year, when legislation is introduced reducing its powers to the bare minimum. Credit: AAP

ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said: “The actions of the CFMMEU, Mr Rielly and Mr Fitzpatrick were deliberate and unlawful.

“The disruption of a concrete pour triggers delays, loss of productivity, financial loss and an environmental cost.

“Regrettably, this is an all-too-common strategy for which the CFMMEU offers no apology, no contrition and no remorse.”

Judge Douglas Humphreys said Rielly “took the lead role in the contraventions”.

“At all times, Mr Rielly deliberately and intentionally refused to move away from the back of the concrete agitator until after the concrete pour was abandoned,” the judge said.

This is not the first time the union has halted concrete pours in the past, the ABCC said.

McBurney said his agency had brought successful prosecutions resulting in penalties against the union for interrupting concrete pours at Labrador in Queensland ($102,000 penalty), Kiama Aged Care Centre ($184,000), at nine Brisbane sites ($668,000), Footscray Station ($242,000), and Perth Children’s Hospital ($242,000).

In assessing the level of penalty for this latest offence, Judge Humphreys said: “It would be fair to say that the prosecution has been very hard fought at every stage.

“No remorse or contrition has been evidenced by the CFMMEU and, accordingly, no reduction in penalty is available in relation to this factor. Further, (there) has been no cooperation with the applicant post the initiation of the proceedings.”

The Australian Building and Construction Commission is set to be abolished this year, when legislation is introduced reducing its powers to a bare minimum.

Powers will then revert to the Fair Work Ombudsman and health and safety regulators.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said fair work laws would still be enforced in the sector despite the watchdog being abolished.

“If people commit a crime, actions should be taken by the appropriate authorities,” he told parliament.

“Why should workers in one sector be treated differently from workers in another sector.”

The commission was set up in 2016 by the Coalition to oversee the construction sector.

– With AAP

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Construction union told to pay $110K for ‘hindering and obstructing’ contractors trying to pour concrete

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