Union delegate fined $7500

A UNION delegate who refused to work on a Brisbane university construction site over two days in 2014 has been fined $7500 by a Federal judge.

Ryan Whakaruru was employed by John Holland Queensland to work on a redevelopment of Queensland University of Technology campus at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane.

He was also an elected delegate of the then Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett found Mr Whakaruru contravened the Fair Work Act, by engaging in unprotected industrial action on September 11 and 12, 2014.

On each day Mr Whakaruru walked off the job after early morning CFMMEU union meetings on site, after which other workers also left the site.

On the second day, Mr Whakaruru left with a CFMMEU official who was directed by police to leave the site.

Mr Whakaruru had been working as a traffic controller, hoist driver and labourer for John Holland Queensland.

The court heard Mr Whakaruru's contraventions arose out of an industrial dispute between workers at the QUT project and John Holland.

Some workers believed that John Holland's project safety adviser had provided personal details of some workers to the then Fair Work Building and Construction Commission, without consent.

"Mr Whakaruru's conduct in this case was part of a two-day action which was instigated to have another employee of John Holland removed from the QUT project site,'' Judge Jarrett said.

Mr Whakaruru took unprotected industrial action over two days, to support the CFMEU campaign to have another employee removed from the site, he said.

Judge Jarrett agreed with the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner that it was an attempt to infringe upon John Holland's right to freely employ workers as it saw fit.

"Mr Whakaruru's actions were deliberate. I accept that as a CFMMEU delegate, Mr Whakaruru's actions were likely to have carried weight among the other workers on the QUT project site,'' Judge Jarrett said.

There was some loss of productivity on the site because Mr Whakaruru was not there to perform his work, he said.

Judge Jarrett said Mr Whakaruru had shown no contrition and on July 12 he fined him $3750 for each contravention.



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