The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has been fined $98,000 for breaching the Fair Work Act at a Werribee construction site.
Last week, the Federal Court heard that a CFMEU delegate refused to allow two men to install catering equipment at a Pacific Werribee cafe on August 4, 2015.
During an induction session the delegate prevented one of the men from working at the site for reasons including that he was not a member of the CFMEU.
As a result, the man spent the day waiting for his two colleagues to finish their work on the project.
Justice Richard Tracey said that the delegate also stopped another man working at the site, with the intention of coercing him into paying membership subscriptions, levies or dues to the union.
At the time, the man was a member of the union but was behind in paying his subscriptions.
The man was permitted to start work after he used a credit card to become a financial member of the CFMEU, paying $156.70 to the union over the phone.
The delegate allowed a third man, who was a member of the union, to work at the site.
The court ordered the CFMEU to pay two separate fines of $45,000, and another two fines of $4000 each, for breaching the Fair Work Act.
Justice Tracey described the delegate’s behaviour as “deliberate and wilful”.
Justice Tracey said it was possible to infer that the delegate “was acting to enforce a union policy that only financial members of the union be permitted to work on the site”.
He said that the union had not “exhibited any contrition” for the conduct of the delegate or any other CFMEU representatives who had engaged in similar behaviour in the past.
He said that since 2000, the CFMEU had been penalised more than 120 times for breaching the Fair Work Act.
“No assurance has been proffered by the CFMEU that it will direct its shop stewards not to seek to enforce ‘no ticket, no start’ regimes and to respect the freedom of association provisions of the (Fair Work) Act” Justice Tracey said.