Illegal industrial action at the Lake Cowal gold mine has proven costly for the Australian Workers Union, resulting in fines totalling $55,000.
In a judgement handed down by the Federal Court on Friday 27 March, the Australian Workers Union (AWU) was fined $28,000, the AWU New South Wales branch $18,000, and its delegate, Joseph O'Connor, $9000 for two unlawful strikes in October and November 2005.
Holding Redlich partner and workplace relations specialist Charles Power said the decision was a product of its time, and not necessarily relevant to current industry practice.
"This case involved something that took place in NSW about the time the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was established. I think you will find that industry parties in the construction sector have significantly changed their practices since then," he said.
"Indeed the most recent report of published by the ABCC shows that its compliance activities in NSW have been negligible of late."
Acting ABCC Commissioner Ross Dalgleish said the penalties reflected the seriousness of the unlawful industrial action that had occurred.
Justice Jagot found that industrial action in October and November 2005 contravened s.38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005(BCII Act), s.170MN of the Workplace Relations Act 1996(WR Act) and the relevant Certified Agreement.
- Laura MacIntyre