By Alexandra Marriott
The CFMEU have shown scant regard for the law by defying a Fair Work Australia ruling ordering employees back to work on the Wonthaggi desalination plant project.
Senior Deputy President Ian Watson of Fair Work Australia yesterday ordered the unlawful industrial action at the site to be halted for 28 days. However the project still remained on hiatus as of Monday night.
The actions are further proof that lawlessness in some parts of the construction industry continues to be facilitated by the CFMEU, only confirming comments made by a Federal Court Justice two weeks ago.
Justice Richard Tracey said then that national governing councils of the CFMEU were “unable or unwilling to curb the unlawful activity of the (Victorian) branch”, and the union has been subject to a number of severe financial penalties over the past couple of years.
The CFMEU’s desal plant strike has also affected other non-union workers employed to work on construction of the plant, depriving them of income as well as delaying construction.
This case confirms there is still significant work to do for the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner to ensure these illegal strikes are completely banished from the Victorian (and Australian) construction industry, and yet again highlights the need for the ABCC’s retention.