MUA penalised for ‘scab’ posters; calls to back ABCC

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MUA penalised for ‘scab’ posters; calls to back ABCC

The Maritime Union of Australia and one of its officials have been ordered to pay a total of $215,000 in penalties and compensation for distributing 'scab' posters; and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging senators to support a bill to reintroduce the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.

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The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and one of its officials have been ordered to pay a total of $215,000 in penalties and compensation after distributing posters labelling as “scabs” workers who refused to take part in a strike at Fremantle Port in Western Australia in 2011.

Federal Court Justice Antony Siopis described the distribution of the posters as “an act of vengeance” which caused the affected workers to fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

The court has fined the MUA $80,000 and the assistant secretary of the union’s Western Australian branch, William Tracey, a further $15,000. They were also ordered to pay a total of $120,000 compensation to the five workers who were labelled ‘scabs’.

The penalty and compensation orders are the result of an investigation and litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Justice Siopis found that the conduct of the MUA and Tracey breached the adverse action provisions of the Fair Work Act.

However, he dismissed the Fair Work Ombudsman’s allegation that the conduct breached the coercion provisions of the Fair Work Act. 

Justice Siopis said the penalties imposed should deter others from misusing power to harm those individuals who choose to exercise their workplace rights.
 

Senate urged to back ABCC


Senators should support the bill to reintroduce the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner given the mounting evidence of lawlessness on construction sites, says the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Kate Carnell, CEO of ACCI, said: “In recent months the Trade Union Royal Commission, the Fair Work Commission and courts of law have each revealed cases of gross and unrepentant misbehaviour on construction sites. 

"The construction industry is vital to our national economy. Union lawlessness left unchecked results in delayed projects, higher costs and reduced job opportunities. We all pay a price for this behaviour.

“Senators can take action this week to rein in out-of-control unions by passing the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, which would reintroduce the ABCC."

 
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