More than 1000 workers have been ordered back to work at Sydney’s Barangaroo construction site.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) strike on Thursday – over concerns a union delegate was victimised for speaking out on the site’s safety – has been deemed unlawful.
The Fair Work Commission has banned the CFMEU from industrial action on this matter for the next three months.
Developer Lend Lease threatened to take the union to the Federal Court if it did not comply with the order.
But CFMEU spokesman Brian Parker said this was just one battle in the industrial relations war.
“There’s a lot of workers that won’t be intimidated by their employer to return to work [even if] there won’t be union action,” he said.
“Lend Lease created a war. This is only one little battle amongst all that.”
Mr Parker said construction would not return to full capacity on Friday despite the commission’s decision.
The strike was the latest setback for the harbourside development after a bomb scare in June and two fires in March.
The CFMEU alleged that member Peter Genovese was stood down after the March fires for challenging Lend Lease on its “inadequate evacuation plans”.
A company spokeswoman said safety was Lend Lease’s No.1 priority but the union had used it as an excuse to disrupt construction.
“Where we believe safety is being used cynically as an industrial weapon to disrupt sites, we act swiftly to protect our rights and report unlawful behaviour to the appropriate authorities, as we have done today,” she said.
“We are seeking immediate orders against the union’s behaviour.”
The spokeswoman said Mr Genovese was stood down over an “employment matter” not related to site safety.
But the employee rejected suggestions of a conspiracy to sabotage construction.
“It’s all trumped-up bulls***,” says Mr Genovese.
“There were allegations of me supposedly hitting someone, and that’s not true.
“I say to them, come out and show the evidence.”
Mr Genovese said he wanted the project built on time but did not want Lend Lease cutting corners.
“I’m not part of a conspiracy to get this job from being built on time,” he said.
“This Barangaroo development is a great thing for Sydney.”