Brew-break, union mtg, crib, smoko, lunch, union mtg, smoko, barby - a day in the life of no work CFMEU
Commonwealth Games site hostage to union ‘ploy’
The militant CFMEU allegedly targeted the $126 million site of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games opening ceremony with a crippling industrial campaign that left tradesmen with as little as two hours of work a day.
But the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union says three weeks of two-hour meetings twice a day were crucial to warning its members about the Turnbull government’s policies before the July 2 federal election.
The Federal Court yesterday heard workers at the Commonwealth Games site at Carrara in May clocked on at 6.30am for coffee and toolbox meetings until 7.30, before the first two-hour union-led “communication meeting” about the Coalition’s plan to overhaul the building code and revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission. That flowed straight into a half-hour smoko until 10am, an hour of “very little” work until the second union meeting from 11am to 1pm. A half-hour lunch break was followed by about an hour of work, before the workday finished as early as 2.30pm.
The meetings forced construction to largely grind to a halt at the Games venue, cost head contractor Hansen Yuncken $700,000, and threatened to delay the finish date of the sports complex, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, badminton, weightlifting and wrestling at the 2018 Games.
Fair Work Building and Construction told the Federal Court yesterday the meetings were “unlawful, illegitimate and unconscionable” and aimed at coercing Hansen Yuncken into signing a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
FWBC barrister Jim Murdoch QC said there was no evidence the meetings were legitimate information sessions, with workers simply sitting or lying around in the site’s car park and having barbecues in gazebos adorned with red CFMEU flags.
Bosses of major construction companies Brookfield Multiplex and Hutchinson Builders swore affidavits that the CFMEU held pre-election stop-working meetings at some of their projects, but the disruption was nothing compared with that suffered by Hansen Yuncken.