Two union officials from the militant CFMEU have been found liable of breaching workplace laws. Both officials refused to show their right of entry permits when entering a work site and for swore at the person who asked to see them.
When the Bendigo Theatre Project site manager asked CFMEU officials Nigel Davies and Alex Tadic to show him their right of entry permits in July 2014, they refused.
The Federal Court of Australia heard that the site manager, Simon Ireland, told the pair they were welcome on the site if they showed him their permits, but if they did not, they would have to leave.
The court also heard that Mr Tadic said words to the effect of,
“I am not dealing with a f—–g pen pusher f–k off”
and that he called Mr Ireland “a f—–g disgrace”.
Mr Tadic acted in an aggressive and abusive manner towards Mr Ireland for about five minutes.
Mr Ireland gave evidence that Mr Davies had also told him to “f–k off” when asked to produce his permit.
The court also heard that Mr Ireland had felt intimidated when Mr Davies took out his mobile phone and put it about a metre away from Mr Ireland’s face.
Mr Davies said he took photos of Mr Ireland from three metres away.
After the officials refused to show their permits, the police were called. Mr Davies and Mr Tadic then showed the police their permits but would not show them to Mr Ireland.
Justice RichardTracey said he was satisfied that Mr Tadic’s conduct “was improper” and therefore in breach of section 500 of the Fair Work Act.
Justice Tracey said.
“Mr Tadic could have responded politely to Mr Ireland’s request to explain his presence. Instead he chose to respond rudely and aggressively using foul and abusive language,”
A penalty hearing is yet to be held.
The Fair Work Building Inspectorate has asked for penalties to be imposed on the two officials personally without reimubursement from the union.
The High Court of Australia recently confirmed that a CFMEU official could be ordered to pay a penalty out of his own pocket.