CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy

THE Federal Court has ordered Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union official George Bollas to pay a $2000 penalty for making false and misleading statements about workers’ obligations to join the union.
CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy CFMEU official learns $2000 lesson - workers can be choosy

Fair Work Building and Construction chief executive Leigh Johns

Jon Cuthbert

Bollas was the occupational health and safety representative on various Multiplex sites in Victoria, including the education revolution project at Penders Grove primary school in Thornbury.

In an agreed statement of facts endorsed by the court, Bollas admitted that on July 9, 2010 he made false and misleading statements to subcontractors at the site.

The comments included: “It’s compulsory to be in the union to work on this site and you can pack up your tools and go unless you join.”

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Leigh Johns said it was important that all building and construction industry participants understood that they had the right to choose whether or not to be a union member.

“It is unlawful for a union official to state that workers have to join a union, just as it is unlawful for employers to state that workers can’t join a union,” Johns said.

“The individual’s choice is a long-standing human right in Australia.

“Union officials may espouse the benefits of joining the union but a legal line is crossed if they incorrectly tell workers that they have no choice and must join the union as a condition of working on a particular site.”

The parties had previously agreed on the facts of the case and the penalty amount.

This story first appeared on ILN's sister publication ConstructionIndustryNews.net.

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