A FIVE-minute tirade of foul language directed at the project manager of the Ulumbarra Theatre under construction in 2014 has cost union official Alex Tadic a $7500 fine.
Mr Tadic’s Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union colleague Nigel Davies will pay $19,000 for refusing to show his entry permit when visiting the site twice in July the same year.
Federal Court justice Richard Tracey also ordered the CFMMEU to pay $245,000, claiming the union failed to acknowledge any wrongdoing or try to correct behaviour.
The court had found both officials had acted improperly when they visited the construction site which was being converted from a decommissioned jail to a theatre.
Mr Davies had refused to show his entry permit when asked to do so on July 22 and 29, and one of the days held his phone close to the manager’s face taking photos of him.
The court found Mr Davies refused requests to leave and police officers were called to site.
Mr Tadic was found to have acted aggressively and abusively by launching into a “lengthy and foul-mouthed tirade” when he was asked to explain why he was on site on August 1.
“Mr Tadic contravened section 500 of the Fair Work Act by acting in a loud, rude, aggressive and abusive manner and by using profane and indecent language towards the authorised representative of the occupier of the site for between three and five minutes,” said the federal court judgement.
In handing down his penalties, justice Tracey said the union had adopted the attitude that it would not comply with any legislative constraints, “placed on its operations, with which it disagrees”.
“Such an approach is an anathema in a democratic society,” he said.
The action was brought to court by the building industry regulator, Fair Work Building and Construction, which has since become the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
ABCC commissioner Stephen McBurney said the judgement also noted the union was prepared to pay the penalties and treat any such expenditure as a cost of pursuing its industrial ends.