Workers could face individual $10K fines for attending rally

by Chloe Taylor09 Sep 2015
Western Australian construction workers are appealing to the Federal Court after a decision was made that could see them fined over $10,000 each for attending a rally.

Last month, the Federal Court ruled that members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) had attended the event without securing permission from their employer to leave work.

A total of 76 workers reportedly walked off their job site – Perth’s new Children’s Hospital based in Nedlands – to attend a rally demanding more local jobs and apprenticeships, as well as a greater proportion of Australian content in gas and oil projects.

Around 5,000 people, who represented various unions, attended the rally.

Last year, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) initiated civil action, leading to the ruling from the Federal Court last month that 74 of the workers in question had contravened the Fair Work Act.

The maximum fine for an individual is $10,200. However, the decision to appeal is likely to delay the process of imposing the penalties.

According to the CFMEU members, Justice Barker failed to consider the individual evidence of each of the men, despite having suggested that they needed to prove they had permission to leave the site.

The workers argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove that each of them had breached the act, alleging that FWBC had failed to prove their absence was not permitted.

A directions hearing is due on October 19, with the full hearings in the appeal set to take place next year.


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