A DEVINE INTERVENTION
Building firm allegedly excluded non-union contractor
A QUEENSLAND construction company allegedly discriminated against a steel fabrication firm because it did not have a CFMEU-friendly enterprise agreement.
Devine Constructions stopped the steel fabrication firm from working on a Teneriffe apartment block when it had a contract to do so, and refused to engage the company for other work, according to a statement of claim in the Federal Court.
Devine Constructions’ general manager Michael Tucker and two employees, Wayne Sengelman and Andrew Blore, were also accused of breaching the Fair Work Act.
The charges follow an extensive investigation by Fair Work Building & Construction, the federal construction watchdog. Investigators followed an email trail back to November 2013.
A CFMEU official allegedly told Devine Constructions not to allow the steel fabrication company to perform any work.
“You guys aren’t allowed to do any work here,” Mr Sengelman, Devine Constructions’ project manager told two of the steel fabrication company’s workers who turned up to the Commercial Rd site to deliver and install bolts.
“Just as workers should not be discriminated against for being a member, or not being a member, of a union, contractors should not be disadvantaged if they do not have a specific kind of enterprise agreement,” said Nigel Hadgkiss, FWBC director.
FWBC alleges Devine Constructions broke the law five times and that Mr Tucker, Mr Sengelman and Mr Blore broke the law during the negotiations.
FWBC alleges that over a period of months, Devine Constructions received tenders from at least eight companies for the work.
Craig’s Engineering was only given the opportunity to submit an initial price and one reserved price, while others were given an initial price and invited to revise their bids two or three times.
A Devine Constructions document tendered in evidence contained a note: “Union recommended not to use – in the process of signing an EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement).”
Mr Tucker decided not to award the work to Craig’s Engineering.
Mr Blore allegedly told Craig’s it needed an agreement before it could obtain work. “We do not want any problems with the union,” he allegedly said.
A directions hearing is scheduled for October 12.
CONTRACTORS SHOULD NOT BE DISADVANTAGED IF THEY DO NOT HAVE A SPECIFIC KIND OF ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT