Master builders welcomes the positive conclusion to an economically damaging industrial dispute that should not have been allowed to occur in the first place.

“The CFMEU should be condemned for the industrial bastardry that has forced an Australian business to take legal action to defend its right to lawfully conduct its business,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“The community deserves better from the CFMEU and its outrageous and unlawful black banning of Boral profoundly reinforces the need for a regulator with powers to intervene early in such circumstances to prevent the rule of law being flouted,” he said.

“It is vital to remember that only the deep pockets of Boral, the leadership of CEO Mike Kane and the determination of Boral’s Board to stand up the CFMEU’s thuggery have allowed this settlement to occur. Thousands of other building contractors remain vulnerable to the CFMEU’s unconscionable tactic of threatening to shut down businesses in order to impose its will,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The dispute has taken a long time to resolve but the ACCC’s action based on the secondary boycotting provisions of the law is still on foot.  There are therefore further legal processes underway,” he said.

“Master Builders calls on the Government to implement recommendations of the Harper Review of Competition Policy that penalties for unions be brought into line with those imposed on companies for breaches of competition law such as secondary boycotts. This is reiterated in Master Builders’ Submission in response to the Draft Report of the Productivity Commission’s review of the workplace relations framework,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“While the ACCC’s ability to intervene is valuable, the CFMEU’s war on Boral highlights the need for a regulatory body that could have intervened early to prevent a business having to go through a very costly process to merely protect its lawful right to operate,” he said.

This settlement reflects a result that shows that the rule of law has been applied.  In the Interim Report of the Heydon Royal Commission it was said:

“The defying of the Victorian Supreme Court’s injunctions for nearly two years (by the CFMEU)… will make the Australian legal system an international laughing stock.  A new form of ‘sovereign risk’ is emerging – for investors will not invest in countries where their legal rights receive no protection in practice.”

“With the current settlement Master Builders welcomes the fact that this legal risk is directly confronted. This should also confirm for cross bench senators the absolute imperative of passing the Bills to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.