The on-going inquiry into trade unions has heard that building inspectors were “abused, photographed and their personal details read out” by union officials in confrontations at construction sites.
During the clashes which were described as aggressive, the inquiry heard that building inspectors were harshly treated by union officials and video evidence has been presented to support the claims.
Apparently video evidence has shown a Fair Work Building Inspector being verbally abused by officials from the CFMEU, the following passage from a post on theaustralian.com.au explains:
Video evidence tendered to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption captured Fair Work Building Inspector Seamus Flynn repeatedly being called a “f***ing piece of s***” by officials from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).
The alleged victim, Mr Flynn said that he was approached by the CFMEU officials at a construction site in Adelaide. In May 2014 Flynn was approached by 3 CFMEU officials at the Ibis Hotel construction site after the inspector was informed by site controllers that the officials had illegally entered the site without the proper permits.
Flynn then apparently found the officials in a hallway of the building and took photographs of them at which time the officials began insulting the inspector.
It was heard that one official John Perkovic began verbally abusing the inspector, while a colleague of Flynn’s (Angeliek Peters) recorded the incident. The video was played at the inquiry hearings.
The article goes on to state:
In his statement, Mr Flynn said Mr Perkovic “quickly moved towards me, saying `you f****ing maggot, what are you taking a photo of me for you piece of s***’”.
Mr Flynn said Mr Perkovic, who was taller and larger than him, came close and pushed against his stomach with his body, pushing him backwards.
On the video, Mr Perkovic can be heard repeatedly swearing at Mr Flynn.
In a separate incident another inspector from Fair Work Building Matthew Barr was verbally assaulted at a Barangaroo construction site in 2014.
Barr and his colleagues were repeatedly called “dogs” and spat at by union officials while visiting the Sydney site to investigate unlawful industrial action. The investigation was related to a meeting held outside the building site at 6:30am which workers attended. CFMEU officials used a megaphone to address the crowd gathered and singled out one of Barr’s colleagues Inspector Jared O’Connor. The article went on to explain:
“That grub Jared O’Connor is here,” Mr Collier allegedly said, and read out Mr O’Connor’s mobile phone number to the crowd.
“Why don’t you give him a call and let him know what you think.”
According to counsel assisting the commission, Jeremy Stoljar SC said that the behaviour of union officials bordered on criminal. He said that inspectors were often outnumbered by CFMEU officials and members when they visited sites and also encountered offensive, “thuggish” behaviour.