The CFMEU has agreed to pay for the illegal blockade of Grocon’s Emporium site in 2012, agreeing to hand builder Grocon $3.55 million. This amount is in addition to the $1.25 million fine and court costs previously awarded against the CFMEU for its criminal contempt of Victorian Supreme Court orders relating to the blockade. Under the deal, the injunction in place in respect of Grocon’s Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) project will remain.
Grocon executive chairman Daniel Grollo welcomed the settlement.
“For well over a decade, Grocon has advocated that the law should be upheld by all participants in the construction industry – employers, employees and unions alike – as it is in other industries in Australia,” Mr Grollo said.
“We are pleased that the legal process has resulted in a commercial resolution of this matter.”
That payout could be dwarfed by a $28 million compensation fee being sought by Boral over the alleged secondary boycott action taken against it by the CFMEU over Boral’s refusal to cease concrete supply to Grocon.
In separate proceedings on 19 June, the Federal Court issued a strong warning to the CFMEU as it handed down fines of $545,000 for union officials’ unlawful coercion at a Grocon housing project in Brisbane aimed at forcing Grocon the sign a CFMEU EBA.
“An industrial organisation, be it an employer organisation or an employee organisation, which persistently abuses the privilege by engaging in unlawful conduct, cannot expect to remain registered,” Justice John Logan said.
The court referred to the CFMEU’s “outrageous disregard in the past and also in the present case of Australian industrial norms“.
Meanwhile, the CFMEU has defended its Grocon settlement with the claim that it doesn’t put itself above the law – and that “If it’s a matter of saving peoples’ lives, the CFMEU won’t blink”.
We need to maintain the rule of law on building sites, and it is concerning when there are claims that the rule of law does not always apply.
Master Builders commends the leadership shown by Grocon and Boral in their efforts to ensure that the rule of law applies to all building industry participants.