Government attacks CFMEU — again

Issue 

Yet again, the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (a federal government body set up to attack unions in the building industry) has launched legal action in the Federal Court against the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

The inspectorate said on September 12 that CFMEU organiser Theo Theodorou was alleged to have told the director of a demolition company wishing to work at a Carlton building site that: “as [the demolition company] is working in the city, it needs to obtain an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU for its employees”.

Anti-union laws introduced by the John Howard government — mostly kept intact by the subsequent Labor government — make it illegal for a union to force a subcontractor to sign an agreement with the union as a condition of working on a building site.

The CFMEU is also under attack from the Royal Commission appointed by the Tony Abbott government to investigate the union movement. The commission has heard allegations that the union "coerced" companies to employ union activists who have been trained in identifying safety hazards on building sites.

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