As members may be aware, a union rally was held this morning outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court in support of Victorian CFMEU Secretary John Setka and Assistant Secretary Sean Reardon. Mr Setka and Mr Reardon appeared in relation to blackmail charges for allegedly pressuring concrete supplier Boral over its relationship with the builder Grocon. The charges have been laid by Taskforce Heracles, established to investigate matters arising from the Heydon Royal Commission and made up of AFP and Victoria Police investigators. Mr Setka and Mr Reardon will next appear in court on 15 March 2016.
Members are advised to keep records of any employee absences as the payment of employees who attend the rally without consent from the employer can lead to fines for employers of up to $54,000.
Employees who withdrew their labour to attend the rally without authorization from their employer cannot be paid wages:
- for a minimum of four hours if they withdraw their labour for up to four hours; or
- if withdrawn for greater than four hours, the amount of time that labour is withdrawn.
Role of the FWBC
The industry regulator, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC), has the ability to prosecute where strike pay is provided, with fines of up to $54,000 for employers or unions involved in paying or demanding strike pay and fines of up $10,800 for individuals receiving or demanding strike pay.
In addition, building and construction industry workers who attend the rally without their employer’s consent could face penalties of up to $10,800 if they are found to have breached the Fair Work Act 2009.
Members seeking further advice should contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560 and/or the FWBC on 1800 003 338.