Federal Court finds against ABCC’s pursuit of construction workers wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts in hot weather

Published: 13 Nov 2018

The heavy-handed tactics of the Liberal Government’s partisan attack dog building regulator, the ABCC, have been exposed once again after the Federal Court today ruled against it. The ABCC had pursued workers on a John Holland construction site in Newcastle for wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts in hot summer weather.

The Full Court of the Federal Court upheld a CFMEU appeal against a finding that one of its organisers took adverse action against and coerced John Holland when workers on the site protested about having to wear long sleeved clothing in the middle of a hot summer.

The Court found that the ABCC did not prove that there was any industrial action that was taken.

It found that the ABCC did not prove workers were not permitted to stop work after John Holland would not let them work in shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

The CFMEU NSW Construction Secretary Darren Greenfield said the case proved the ABCC was once again out of line.

“Despite the ABCC's own investigators concluding that the employer had let the workers stop work, the ABCC brought this case against the CFMEU anyway,” Darren Greenfield said.

“The ABCC is out of control. It pursues construction workers without evidence and for no reason other than to run the Federal Liberal Government’s political agenda.

“The ABCC is better resourced than ASIC, despite thousands of criminal acts by the banks uncovered by the Royal Commission.

“Enough is enough. The Federal Liberal Government needs to stop its witch-hunt against CFMEU officials and workers.”

The Full Court of the Federal Court also found:

  • there was no coercion, unlawful, illegitimate or unconscionable action by the CFMEU or its organiser

  • that Federal Circuit Court Judge Emmett's finding of unconscionability was inadequate, unjustified and not open.

  • that the CFMEU’s organiser did not suborn the workers to vote in favour of any action, and said it was "up to you".

Media Contact: Darren Greenfield - 0413 622 769