ABCC Backgrounder Wotherspoon v Brown by lindayy


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									                                     ABCC Backgrounder
                                     Wotherspoon v Brown
       Friday, 24 April 2009

       Allegations in the ABCC’s statement of claim

  1.     Hickory Developments Pty Ltd was the head contractor at a construction site in Mount
         Alexander Road in Flemington, Victoria.

  2.     Hickory Developments contracted Austress Freyssinet Pty Ltd to carry out specialist works
         at the site.

  3.     On the morning of 14 February 2008 two Austress workers arrived on the site to perform
         work. One worker was a direct employee of Austress, the other worker was engaged by
         Austress on labour hire. .

  4.     Before commencing work on 14 February 2008 both workers attended a site induction that
         was carried out by Mr Robert Brown, an employee of Hickory Developments.

  5.     At the site induction Mr Brown asked for the workers’ ‘union tickets’ and told both workers
         that they had to be members of the CFMEU or they would be not allowed work on the site.
         It is also alleged that Mr Brown prevented both workers from performing work on the site
         until they became up-to-date financial members of the union.

  6.     The workers then attended the union offices where one worker made payment of $680 in
         union dues in arrears. The other worker was required to pay $800 but did not make payment
         for their union membership dues in arrears.

  7.     The next day the worker that paid their union membership fee attended the site and was able
         to commence work. The worker that did not pay did not return to the site.

       Alleged contraventions

  8.     The ABCC alleges that Mr Brown:

              a. Made false and misleading representations to the workers regarding their obligation
                 to be, or become members of the CFMEU in contravention of s.790 of the
                 Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act).

Further enquiries:
ABCC Communication Unit
Sandra Scalise                   Jessica Kendall
03 8509 3025 or 0412 759 157     03 8509 3071 or 0403 344 186                                 2009/04
              b. took action that directly or indirectly prejudiced the workers’ employment because
                 they had not paid fees to the CFMEU, in contravention of s. 797 of the WR Act.

              c. took action, or threatened to take action, with the intent to coerce both workers to to
                 become members of the CFMEU, in contravention of s. 789 of the WR Act.

       ABCC Prosecution

  9.     The ABCC filed proceedings in the Federal Magistrates’ Court at Melbourne on 3 April
         2009. The first directions hearing is scheduled for 1 June 2009.


  10. The maximum penalty that may be imposed for each contravention of the WR Act is $6,600
      for an individual.

Further enquires:
ABCC Communication Unit
Sandra Scalise                   Jessica Kendall
03 8509 3025 or 0412 759 157     03 8509 3071 or 0402 241 621                                  MS 2009/04

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