WA workers sued for striking
MORE THAN 100 building workers at a Perth construction site face fines of close to $30,000 each after the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) sued them for walking off the job.
In the first prosecution under the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation, the ABCC is suing 107 of the 400 workers on the $1.5 billion Perth to Mandurah railway project individually, as their union advised them not to strike.
The workers, who also contravened an Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) order, were protesting against the sacking of a union shop steward.
The workers walked off the job for seven days in late February, at an estimated cost of $200,000 a day to construction company Leighton, according to ABCC commissioner, John Lloyd.
Each worker faces a maximum penalty of $22,000 for breaching section 38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 and a further $6,600 for contravening an AIRC order which directed the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and its members not to take industrial action.
The building industry in Western Australia was too often plagued by unlawful industrial activity and a disregard for the rule of law, according to Kevin Andrews, Minister Employment and Workplace Relations.