The Federal Court has imposed a $70,000 penalty against the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia (known as the CEPU) for unlawful conduct on a Brisbane construction site.
The penalty is the result of legal action commenced by the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) in relation to conduct at the ‘Southpoint A’ hotel and apartment construction site in Brisbane’s Southbank precinct.
The CEPU admitted breaching the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act and the Fair Work Act by organising unlawful industrial action at the site.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said court penalties are important to affirm the seriousness of breaching laws related to disrupting work on construction sites.
“Consistent with other industries, in commercial building and construction the Fair Work Ombudsman will investigate reports of non-compliance and hold to account those who are acting outside the law, including the organising of unlawful industrial action,” Ms Hannah said.
The conduct involved a CEPU official organising employees of a plumbing company performing work at the site to cease working for 3.5 hours on 1 December 2017.
Allegations of contraventions against former CEPU official Andrew Blakely and the workers allegedly involved in the industrial action were withdrawn.
Under federal legislation, responsibility for the case transferred from the ABCC to the Fair Work Ombudsman in December 2022.