14 September 2015Seven CFMEU officials have right of entry permits suspended after FWBC applications

Seven CFMEU officials have right of entry permits suspended after FWBC applications

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has refused CFMEU official John Perkovic’s appeal over a decision to have his Right of Entry permit banned for 19 months. Mr Perkovic was filmed abusing a Government Employee who was trying to ensure an Adelaide building site was trouble-free.

In refusing Perkovic the right to appeal, the FWC said: “We do not agree that the Deputy President sought to ‘punish’ Mr Perkovic. It is clear that the intention of the relevant sections of the Act is to protect the right of occupiers of premises and employers to go about their business without undue inconvenience. In deciding how to exercise its discretion under s. 510 it is quite appropriate to have regard to the gravity of the conduct of the permit holder. This is what the Deputy President did.”

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said the refusal finalises a series of right of entry applications made by FWBC after the CFMEU and 12 of its officials were fined a total $357,700 in two Federal Court matters in Adelaide. All 12 officials involved in the two cases have either been subject to FWC permit revocation or suspension orders, or they no longer hold a permit.

The first matter was handed down on 2 October 2014, and Justice Mansfield fined the CFMEU and five of its current and former officials a total $152,600 for acting in an improper manner while seeking to exercise their rights to enter a building site. More information is available here.

In his decision, Mansfield J said: “The CFMEU has a significant history of non-compliance with the provisions of industrial legislation…I have remarked upon the fact that each of the individual respondents’ conduct indicates that each (with the exception of Stephenson) simply did not care about complying with entry provisions”.

Justice White handed down the second matter on 23 December, 2014. White J fined the CFMEU and 10 of its current and former officials a total of $205,100 for acting in an improper manner while seeking to exercise their rights to enter building sites. His Honour described the officials’ behaviour as “coordinated and strategic” and described the CFMEU’s record in the courts as “dismal”. More information on the case is available here.

FWBC made an application to the FWC for Mr Perkovic’s permit to be suspended after the court fined him $5000 for conduct including trying to physically intimidate a Government employee and calling the Government employee a “f***ing piece of sh*t”, at the Ibis Hotel construction site. The incident was captured on video. In handing down the penalty decision, Justice White stated that: “Mr Perkovic’s conduct in the…incident was particularly egregious. He instigated the incident and engaged in sustained intimidatory and abusive conduct towards [the Government employee]”.

Seven of the officials, including Mr Perkovic, have had their permits suspended for a total 49 months. The other five officials, including SA State Secretary Aaron Cartledge, no longer hold a permit. FWBC maintains a No Permit List to enable industry participants to check the permit status of union officials.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said holding a right of entry permit was a privilege. “I sincerely hope the above actions taken by FWBC show the industry that we are serious about ensuring that right of entry holders are fit and proper people,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

Justice Mansfield matter

Respondent

State

Penalty

Permit Status

Aaron Cartledge

SA

$3,000

No longer holds a permit

Jim O’Connor

SA

$6,000

Suspended for 6 months from 4 May 2015

Brendan Pitt

VIC

$9,000

No longer holds a permit

David Bolton

SA

$4,000

Suspended for 6 months from 4 May 2015

Luke Stephenson

SA

$600

No longer holds a permit

CFMEU

 

$130,000

 

Total

 

$152,600

 

 

Justice White matter

Respondent

State

Penalty

Permit Status

Michael McDermott

SA

$4,000

Suspended for 6 months from 4 May 2015

Luke Stephenson

SA

$4,000

No longer holds a permit

Anthony Jarrett

SA

$800

No longer holds a permit

David Bolton

SA

$3,800

Permit suspended for 6 months from 4 May 2015

Anthony Sloane

NSW

$1,100

Permit suspended for 3 months with the suspension suspended for 3 months

Michael Huddy

NT

$800

No longer holds a permit

Anthony Vitler

ACT

$1,100

Suspended for 3 months from 4 May 2015

 

Troy Smart

WA

$1,000

Suspended for 3 months from 2 June 2015

 

Brendan Pitt

VIC

$3,500

No longer holds a permit

John Perkovic

VIC

$5,000

Suspended for 19 months until 17 January 2017

CFMEU

 

$180,000

 

Total

 

$205,100

 

 

PDF icon Media Release - Seven CFMEU officials have right of entry permits suspended after FWBC applications.pdf

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