CFMEU Condemns Fair Work Over Decision That Could See Members Fined Thousands

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The country’s largest construction union, the CFMEU has condemned Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) over a decision that could result in 74 of its members being fined thousands of dollars for failing to pitch up at work and instead attend a rally without permission.

The members all walked off a Perth job site in February 2013 to attend a rally for local jobs. The site was run by John Holland and the workers were all employees of Crown Construction, a subcontractor for John Holland.

The union is currently considering an appeal. Find out more here.

Builder Paid Union Official to Avoid Stop Work Orders

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Source: publicityworks.com.au

A builder in the ACT has told the Royal Commission into trade unions that he paid the wife of a CFMEU official $30,000 to avoid “getting on the wrong side” of the union and to avoid the union issuing stop work orders which would have cost the builder substantially.

The Royal Commission is still going on but more and more allegations of bribery and corruption are being heard. Read more about this builders story here.

More Bullying Allegations Against CFMEU Officials

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Source: publicityworks.com.au

The Royal Commission into unions has heard that CFMEU officials told a construction company to sack one of its contractors or it  “would be hell”. More allegations of bullying and intimidation have been heard at the Royal Commission.

A WorkSafe inspector, who initially ruled against stopping a concrete pour, said in a statement he had been intimidated by 4 or 5 Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials including it’s secretary, Dean Hall, at a Mitchell construction site.

Read more: www.canberratimes.com.au

Union Official Charged for Racial Abuse

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Source: publicityworks.com.au

Another CFMEU official has been charged, this time being fined $24,000 for racially abusing an American representative on a work site.

In addition to the official’s abusive language and obscenities used, the court took into consideration the “particularly racist overtone” of his rant.

The court praised the site representative for exercising restraint in this situation. Click here to find out more.

CFMEU Concerned about Safety Issues at Dangerous Worksite

According to an article on the website www.SafetyCulture.com.au the CFMEU is concerned about the safety on a site in Sydney where a young worker recently lost his life.

The union apparently raised concerns over safety on the site just 2 weeks before the young worker died.

The incident which claimed the life of the young Canadian worker happened on Saturday last week when metal beams hit into the worker, causing him to sustain fatal head and chest injuries.

WorkCover is currently investigating the incident after the CFMEU condemned the site for not being up to scratch when it comes to safety.

According to a WorkCover spokeswoman, two inspectors were sent to the site, and an investigation has begun to determine whether there was any breach of safety regulations leading to the workers death.

Just 2 weeks prior to the tragedy concerns were raised about the site and about the demolition processes on the job.  Work on the site ground to a halt after workers expressed concern that slabs were unstable during the demolition work however their concerns were ignored. Instead of bringing in experts such as engineers to sign off to say that the structure that was holding up these slabs was secure, the company ignored the warnings which ultimately culminated in the death of a young man.

Read what the article on SafetyCulture.com.au had to say about the incident:

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said work had stopped on the site where a 22-year-old man was killed on Saturday.

The Canadian backpacker suffered head and chest injuries after being hit by a number of metal beams during the demolition of a building in Australia Street in Camperdown.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said union organiser Tony Sloane had stopped work on the site around Easter after concerns were raised about how the demolition work was being carried out.

“While the full circumstances of the death are still not known, we fear there have been shortcuts taken to demolish the building faster,” Mr Parker said.

“If that is the case and this young Canadian has lost his life to help boost some builder’s bottom line then it just magnifies the tragedy.

“What was meant to be the trip of a lifetime has instead cost this young man his life.

“We will do all we can to ensure the truth of what happened today is exposed.”

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-dies-at-inner-sydney-worksite/story-fn3dxiwe-1226619731891

If this tragic story has taught us anything it is that safety cannot be ignored in the name of productivity. It seems likely a proper risk assessment process was not conducted.  This risk assessment process is covered in our White Card course, and includes explanation of the risk management matrix, the likelihood and consequence of the risk or hazard, and how to calculate the overall risk score.  

Employers need to address the safety concerns of employees because employees are the ones on the ground and exposed to these hazards each day. They are more likely to be aware of safety issues than employers are, so open communication between employers and workers is best. But it is not enough just to encourage open communication, employers need to listen to the concerns of their workers and address the issues before anyone else is killed.