CFMEU Pays $3.5m to Settle Lawsuit with Grocon 1

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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The construction union CFMEU will pay about $3.5 million to building giant Grocon to settle a civil case against it over illegal blockades to a series of Grocon Melbourne building sites.

A CFMEU spokesman confirmed the payout to Grocon, which he said would settle the civil case against the union.

The blockades were sparked by a dispute between the CFMEU and Grocon over safety issues that culminated in a blockade of the Myer Emporium work site in Melbourne’s CBD.

The CFMEU spokesman said the payment would cover Grocon’s legal costs only and would end the civil case.

“This dispute was always about and will always be about the safety of building workers and the general public,” a CFMEU spokesman said.

“This settlement means that not one cent of CFMEU members’ money will go to a company that continues to flout safety and put lives at risk in the name of profit.”

It’s understood Grocon sought $10.5 million from the union in lost earnings and costs over the blockades, sparked by a dispute with the company over safety issues and the appointment of shop stewards.

The union blockaded Grocon projects including its Myer Emporium site in 2012.  The CFMEU was later found guilty of contempt by the Victorian Supreme Court and fined $1.25 million.

Grocon says it’s pleased with a $3.5 million settlement that will cover its legal fees in a civil action against the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.  The company sued the CFMEU over illegal blockades of some of its Melbourne building sites, including the Myer Emporium in 2012.

Grocon executive chairman Daniel Grollo said the company had argued for a decade for the rule of law to apply on building sites.

“We are pleased that the legal process has resulted in a commercial resolution of this matter,” Mr Grollo said in a statement.

Despite the payout, CFMEU state secretary John Setka said he would not resign even though another potential settlement looms over industrial action with materials supplier Boral.

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  1. Joel Michaels

    Whilst the union's conduct in this case was disgraceful, it should also be remembered that some of Grocon's practices like going along merrily ahead with putting up advertising boards without bothering to get the right approvals and having crane operators continue to work though extremely strong winds at around the time all this was going on was equally disgraceful.

    Really, the industry needs to get beyond this. We need to get beyond a school yard type of mentality and adopt a holistic mentality which puts safety and productivity first and endless conflict last. We need to grow up.