Union officials admit coercion

The Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) said three CFMEU officials – Steve Allen, Gerard Benstead and the union’s Victorian divisional branch secretary, Bill Oliver – admitted to coercion.The ABCC said the men admitted they intended to coerce the head contractor, Walton Constructions, not to engage Monjon to provide traffic management services on a Brunswick building site in Victoria in November 2005.In addition, the three men admitted to having contravened the Workplace Relations Act by encouraging Walton Constructions to terminate Monjon’s contract. Further, the court found all respondents contravened the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act by discriminating against Monjon on the basis that its employees were covered by a particular kind of industrial agreement, namely AWAs.“Attempts by the CFMEU to use a head contractor to enforce its will on a subcontractor are unfortunately common in the industry,” acting ABCC commissioner Ross Dalgleish said.“Employers have a right to go about their business in a lawful manner, free from coercion and discrimination.” In December 2007, Walton Constructions admitted to discriminating against Monjon and was penalised $25,000, with a further penalty of $25,000 suspended for 12 months.Penalties imposed on the CFMEU were:$18,000 for contravening s.43 of the BCII Act,
$2000 for contravening s.45 of the BCII Act, and
$750 for contravening s.298P of the WR Act.
Penalties imposed on the CFMEU officials were:
$2000 each on Oliver and Benstead. These penalties will be suspended for 12 months.

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