16 December 2019 

New proceedings launched by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) following threats to deploy “old school” tactics of blocking concrete pour during the construction of an aged care centre shows the need for “new school” Ensuring Integrity laws to stop building union bullying.

The latest proceedings flow from events during the construction of an aged care facility in which building unions allegedly failed to show entry permits on two separate occasions. The building union officials then allegedly issued a series of demands which, when resisted by the employer, caused the officials them to block entry to the site. This followed comments from the officials in which they allegedly said ‘we’ll do it old school’ while making gestures including running a finger across their throat.

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said this case is one of a spate of reports involving building unions tackling concrete companies during crucial stages of construction, mainly concrete pours.

“Shutting down a construction site during a concrete pour is one of the oldest tactics deployed by building unions as it causes maximum disruption,” she said.

“As one of the individuals involved allegedly stated, this is indeed an ‘old school’ tactic but yet it continues again and again,” Denita Wawn said.

“The fact that even building unions allegedly refer to the tactic as ‘old school’ show exactly why we need the Ensuring Integrity laws – a ‘new school’ approach to tackling a decade’s old problem,” she said.

“Clearly there are some organisations and their officials who continue to repeatedly and deliberately break workplace laws and they show no signs of stopping – which is exactly why Parliament should support the Ensuring Integrity laws when it resumes next year,” Denita Wawn said.

“The Ensuring Integrity laws will ensure that everyone plays by the rules and introduce real consequences for those who don’t. We need these laws so that these ‘old school’ tactics become exactly as the name suggests and are consigned to the dustbins of history,” she said.

“Registered organisations and their officials enjoy a wealth of rights and privileges under the Fair Work laws and, given these protections. There is no need to constantly break the laws to represent your members. But building unions do it over and over again and it will only get worse. Its cases like these that show exactly why we need the Ensuring Integrity laws,” Denita Wawn said.

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