The CFMEU has been fined $132,000 over breaches of industrial law at construction sites across Adelaide.

The Federal Court handed down several judgments against the CFMEU over offences committed at three worksites between April and June 2014.

Five officials, including SA secretary Aaron Cartledge and assistant secretary Mick McDermott, were found to have unlawfully entered building sites without permits to speak to workers.

The union was fined a total of $110,000, while officials shared in fines of $22,000.

Justice Berna Collier said the breaches were at the lower end of the scale of seriousness.

But she described the union as a “repeat offender” which had shown indifference to industrial laws.

“Penalties imposed on the union appear to have no impact,” she said.

“The obvious inference to be drawn is that the CFMEU has ignored such penalties as inconsequential.”

Justice Collier noted that while there was no suggestion of aggressive or threatening behaviour, each of the officials had previously breached industrial laws.

The CFMEU and more than a dozen of its officials were fined almost $1 million in April over similar breaches at building sites across Adelaide between October 2013 and May 2014.

  • This only highlights the need for real action to restore law and order in the construction sector and bring militant unions under control by restoring the ABCC.

    To be sure, there were serious problems about the ABCC Bill presented in the previous parliament. If those subject to investigations for murder, rape and armed robbery have a right to silence, then one might wonder why someone who merely drives a crane and is the subject of a civil investigation over a workplace relations matter should not- as is the case under S102 of the previous bill. In addition, action must also be taken against bosses who either underpay workers or breach safety rules.

    That said, The former Labour government's moves to abolish the ABCC and replace it with weaker penalties for union officials who break the law and a regulator which has weaker powers was a foolhardy sop to the unions. The legislation must be fixed, but we do need the real powers of the ABCC to bring law and order onto construction sites.

Bizprac (expire May 30 2018)