AWU cops $55K fine for inducing strike

The Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner said this morning the penalty was received by the AWU, the AWU New South Wales branch and its delegate Joseph O’Connor.The ABCC said the industrial action occurred in October and November 2005, when O’Connor took “a leading role” in the industrial actions and encouraged and incited AWU members to strike.The first unlawful industrial action was taken between October 15 and 17, 2005, in support of a range of claims against employers.The second strike on November 10, 2005, occurred when workers failed to return to work after the time allotted for an authorised stop-work meeting.Justice Jagot found that the industrial action contravened section 38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act, section 170MN of the Workplace Relations Act and the relevant Certified Agreement. O’Connor himself was fined $9000, the NSW branch of the AWU was fined $18,000 and the federal AWU was fined $28,000. Acting ABC Commissioner Ross Dalgleish said the penalties reflected the seriousness of the unlawful industrial action.“These strikes involved nearly 300 workers on each occasion and caused estimated losses of $200,000,” Dalgleish said. “Dispute resolution procedures in the workplace agreement were ignored.”The ABCC said that on September 25, 2008, penalties totalling $9100 were imposed on the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and one of its representatives in respect of the second strike.

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