Published: 29 Jul 2019
The Union had a huge victory recently after one of our new delegates was targeted for his union activity and sacked by his employer. The Union lodged an urgent application with the Federal Court and we were granted a hearing a few days later. We argued that our new delegate at Wesbeam in Dandenong, Victoria was subjected to unfair treatment for his role as the Union delegate and Health and Safety Representative (HSR). This started with him being denied overtime which he has previously worked regularly and built up until the employer warned him for ‘talking about the union too much at work’. The employer then terminated his employment.
The Judge hearing the case found that the employer’s own evidence showed ‘a dislike for, or hostility towards, the union and the bargaining power it brought to Wesbeam workers'. The Judge also accepted the Union’s argument that his dismissal would have a ‘chilling effect’ on the Union’s ability to continue to recruit and represent members on site. The Judge ordered full reinstatement of our delegate’s position on an interlocutory basis, at least until the substantive matter is decided.
This case shows that the Union will pull out all stops and do whatever it takes to protect our Delegates and Health and Safety Representatives from employers who would rather sack their workers than negotiate with them and their Union to provide them with safe and decent working conditions and fair pay.
The full case is here https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FCA//2019/1030.html.
Picured above: from left CFMEU Manufacturing National Legal & Industrial Officer Cate Larkins, Delegate and HSR John Trego, Organiser Bronson Flanagan and Senior Organiser Steve Abboushi.