CFMEU State Secretary claims officials “under pressure from national office” to break the law.

FWBC has launched four Federal Court cases against the CFMEU and six of its officials for alleged unlawful conduct on four building and construction sites in Adelaide.

This includes allegations that CFMEU SA State Secretary Aaron Cartledge entered a $120 million project without providing an entry notice as required by law. The Site Manager of the Flinders University site in Mitchell Park told Mr Cartledge and CFMEU official David Bolton they were not permitted on site because they had not provided an entry notice or permit. Mr Cartledge allegedly said they would “not be providing notice” because they were “under pressure from the national office not to provide right of entry notices”.

On another Adelaide site, after advising the Site Manager that he wanted to “have a chat to the boys”, FWBC is alleging that CFMEU SA State Assistant Secretary Michael McDermott ignored numerous requests to provide his right of entry permit saying “you know I’m not going to do that”.

When told he was on the site unlawfully and the police would be called, Mr McDermott allegedly responded “Are you going to be one of those d**kheads are you? Call them then, they are only going to escort me off if I’m still here,” before going to the lunch shed where he asked several workers “How many of you are in the union?”, and began discussing union membership.

Mr Cartledge allegedly attended an Adelaide CBD construction site a few weeks later where he again refused to comply with right of entry laws. At the Ergo Apartments project on Sturt Street, when asked “Why aren’t you giving notice prior to entry? If you give prior notice we have no problem” by the Project Manager, Mr Cartledge allegedly responded “Although we won’t be looking at safety on site I think the formwork could be improved and we will turn a blind eye to it, there’s a sneak peek of what we will be looking at next time on site”.

 FWBC is alleging:

  • Case 1: The CFMEU, David Bolton, Michael Huddy, Brendan Pitt contravened the law a total of six times at the Southern Expressway Duplication project in South Australia.
  • Case 2: The CFMEU, Aaron Cartledge, David Bolton contravened the law a total of four times at the Tonsley Redevelopment Project (a Flinders University Site).
  • Case 3: The CFMEU, and Michael McDermott contravened the law a total of two times at the St Marks College project in Kermode Street, North Adelaide.
  • Case 4: The CFMEU, Michael McDermott and Anthony Sloane and Aaron Cartledge contravened the law a total of twelve times at the Ergo Apartments Stage 2 project in Sturt Street, Adelaide.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said right of entry breaches could be extremely disruptive to construction projects. “Right of entry permits are a privilege and should be taken seriously and only used in accordance with the law,” he said.

The maximum penalties available to the Court in this case per breach are $10,200 for an individual, and $51,000 for a union.