CFMEU, officials fined over $100,000 for unlawful conduct

One official called health and safety manager 'pathetic'

CFMEU, officials fined over $100,000 for unlawful conduct

The Construction, Forestry, and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) and three of its officials have been fined a total of $108,980 for unlawful conduct at a construction site in Melbourne.

The Federal Court imposed a $95,000 penalty against CFMEU, while the penalised officials include Paul Tzimas ($3,990), Gerald McCrudden ($3,330), and James Harris ($6,660).

Tzimas and McCrudden were fined after engaging in unlawful conduct while visiting a construction site in Melbourne in November 2020, according to a media release from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

During their visit, Tzimas told a health and safety manager: "you're pathetic" and "you're a disgrace." McCrudden also told two health and safety managers at the site: "you're f*cked this time."

Meanwhile, Harris' violation occurred months later in December 2020, where he blocked three concrete trucks that were trying to complete a concrete pour.

Justice John Snaden called Tzimas and McCrudden's actions as "needlessly obnoxious and rude."

He also called out Harris' conduct for being "inherently aggressive," "potentially dangerous," "disruptive," and "wildly improper."

The three officials admitted to breaching the Fair Work Act for acting inappropriately at the construction site.

According to Snaden, the penalties were imposed as they "serve as an appropriate deterrent, specifically and generally, against future contravention of the kinds that are the subject of this matter."

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said the penalties also affirmed the severity of breaching laws that require permit holders to observe proper conduct.

"There is no place for improper conduct by permit holders on any worksite," Booth said in a statement. "Improving compliance across the building and construction industry is a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman, and we will investigate reports of non-compliance and hold to account those who act outside the law."

CFMEU was previously fined $60,000, while an official got penalised early this year with $6,300 also for unlawful conduct.

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