Unlawful strike could cost CFMEU millions

Updated September 13, 2017 17:15:25

The CFMEU and union officials are set to pay in excess of $2 million in penalties over unlawful industrial action at the Barangaroo site in Sydney.

The Federal Court is also referring the State Secretary of the NSW CFMEU Brian Parker and three other union officials to the Director of Public Prosecutions for allegedly giving false testimony in the case.

The strike involved about 1,000 workers and shut the construction site over two days in July 2014.

The court action was brought on by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

In handing down a judgement on penalties today Justice Geoffrey Flick said the CFMEU should face a maximum penalty, listed in the court documents at $1.3 million.

The CFMEU New South Wales also faces a penalty of around $1 million.

The Federal Court has individually fined Mr Parker $45,400 with three other officials facing fines of over $40,000.

Justice Flick’s judgment concluded that the CFMEU “has long demonstrated by its conduct that it pays but little regard to compliance with the law and indeed has repeatedly sought to place itself above the law”.

“The CFMEU is to be regarded as a recidivist offender,” he said.

In the case of the penalties awarded against Mr Parker, Justice Flick outlined that it reflected the position he held as State Secretary.

“His intentions to stir up the workers and his setting out to create an atmosphere of defiance,” Justice Flick said.

“And a willingness to take on police if they stood in the way of achieving his objectives.”

The case had earlier heard in evidence from a police officer who said Mr Parker had tried to intimidate her.

The court has also recommended evidence from Brian Parker, Robert Kera, Luke Collier and Tony Sloane be referred to the DPP to determine whether an offence had been committed under section 35 of the Crimes Act (Commonwealth) in giving false testimony.

The CFMEU said its lawyers are now studying the decision.

The ABCC said today’s judgement reflected the seriousness of the conduct which saw threats against workers and ABCC inspectors.

Topics: government-and-politics, unions, law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, federal—state-issues, federal-government, parliament, federal-parliament, sydney-2000, canberra-2600

First posted September 13, 2017 17:05:24