Organiser Justine Steele faces potential penalties of $30,000 for alleged unlawful industrial action from stoppages at nine construction sites.
Organiser Justine Steele faces potential penalties of $30,000 for alleged unlawful industrial action from stoppages at nine construction sites.

Hip-pocket pain for fined union staff

TEN CFMMEU organisers from Queensland face having to personally pay $121,000 in fines under new laws, but there are fears loopholes could provide a way to get around the crackdown.

Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy has warned that the Federal Government is investigating ways to close potential loopholes.

The Federal Court recently upheld the first personal payment order against Victorian CFMMEU organiser Joseph Myles, clearing the way for the Australian Building Construction Commission to take action in Queensland.

The ABCC is now seeking personal payment orders be handed down against 10 CFMMEU union organisers.

They face a combined potential penalty of $121,000, with individual penalties for alleged industrial law breaches, if the allegations are proved and the court imposes the orders.

Organiser Justin Steele faces potential penalties of $30,000 for alleged unlawful industrial action from work stoppages at nine construction sites run by Hutchinson Builders.

The ABCC is also seeking payment orders for five other organisers in that case - Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis.

Also targeted are Peter Joseph D'Arcy over allegations that he coerced a worker to join the union at the Grand Central Shopping Centre building site in 2017, as well as Michael Myers and Mark O'Brien for alleged unlawful industrial on the Arena Apartment site in 2013.

Experts warned there could be ways around the orders, such as holding fundraisers, offering end-of-year bonuses or third parties donating the cash.

Mr Laundy said attempts to circumvent orders would be contempt of court. Opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the orders were draconian.


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