FWBC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a court injunction against the CFMEU and seven of its officials in an effort to bring an end to a month-long spate of strikes and work stoppages at construction sites across Brisbane.
FWBC alleges that CFMEU officials Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis have targeted nine sites run by a major contractor, instigating strikes and disrupting work a total of fifteen times since 25 August 2016.
The affected sites include the $360 million Skytower project and $120 million Newstead Central apartment block.
According to statements filed with the Court, it is alleged:
- on a number of occasions union officials told the contractor’s representatives that the action was not related to the affected site but was aimed at the head contractor in response to it not consulting with the CFMEU and using “non-EBA subcontractors”.
- for example, in relation to strike action taken at the Hercules Apartments site, Mr Parfitt told the site manager that “it’s bigger than you”, stating the contractor was not “playing the game”; and
- in some instances the CFMEU used EBA clauses permitting workers to attend two-hour union “information meetings”, calling the meetings without notice and causing scheduled and time-critical work, including concrete pours, to be cancelled.
FWBC is seeking an injunction from the Court preventing the CFMEU from instigating any further strikes or stoppages at any sites operated by the contractor; from holding more than one union meeting every two weeks on any of the sites; and from holding any union meeting under the EBA clause without providing 48 hours written notice to affected employers.
FWBC is also seeking penalties against the CFMEU and the seven officials for instigating unlawful industrial action and engaging in coercive behaviour against the contractor.
FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that the ongoing and disruptive nature of the stoppages across several sites has necessitated the Court’s urgent intervention.