Court finds Boral company acted illegally over worker threats on Turnbull’s unfair Building Code

Published: 4 Sep 2017

A Court has found that management of a Boral concreting subsidiary, De Martin and Gasparini, acted illegally in threatening to make its workers redundant because they didn’t have an agreement that was Code compliant.

On Friday, the Federal Court found that the company had taken an adverse action against its workers and had contravened the Fair Work Act.

The judge found that statements made by De Martin and Gasparini managers to its workforce when this decision was announced were intimidatory, threatening and were intended to terminate the workforce.

The judge was scathing of De Martin and Gasparini managers in his decision, saying he was not satisfied that they gave a full and accurate account of what they told the workers, nor that they gave credible or reliable explanations of the reasons for their decisions.

The CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said the decision was a result of the chaos being caused by the Turnbull Government’s unfair and unnecessary Building Code.

“We welcome the Court’s decision, which vindicates our members’ right to have a say in their agreement.

“Our members were put under enormous pressure as a result of the company’s actions. Their job security was threatened, causing them stress, anxiety and fear.

“At the heart of this is Malcolm Turnbull’s Building Code. It’s unfair, it’s unnecessary and it’s causing serious disruption to the industry.

In late June, De Martin and Gasparini threatened more than 100 workers with redundancy before August 31, after they last week voted down EBA changes that would strip away conditions and pave the way for casualisation of their workforce.

The changes would have removed employees’ right to four day weekends six times a year at public holiday times – an important condition for managing fatigue in an industry characterised by long hours and physical labour.

It would also prevent restrictions on the use of contractors and casual labour hire workers, reducing the security of employment for construction workers.