||Issue No. 273||22 July 2005|
Interview: Battle Stations
Unions: The Workers, United
Politics: The Lost Weekend
Industrial: Truth or Dare
History: A Class Act
Economics: The Numbers Game
International: Blonde Ambition
Training: The Trade Off
Review: Bore of the Worlds
Poetry: The Beaters Medley
The Locker Room
Keep the Faith
Life on a Low Wage
Seeing the Trees For the Wood
Carnival Comes to Town
Hadgkiss in Safety Failure
In another embarrassing defeat for the Nigel Hadgkiss-led Taskforce, A Melbourne judge has rejected its claim that CFMEU organiser, Fergal Doyle, "intentionally hindered" a Melbourne site supervisor by checking safety standards.
On the contrary, Justice Ron Merkel ruled, the supervisor had left his normal duties to follow Doyle and an elected safety rep around the site so he could digitally record everything they did, on the advice of the Taskforce, itself.
Justice Merkel said the worker representative had not required the supervisor's participation in the safety inspection and the decision to follow him around, for about half an hour, had been "entirely a matter for him to decide".
Doyle had claimed the right to visit the site because his union had negotiated a certified agreement with a subcontractor at the Villex site.
Justice Merkel found Doyle had exercised right of entry to the job as a "matter of fact, rather than a matter of law" and said it was "unfortunate" that the case did not resolve the "real dispute" about the validity of safety inspections under subcontractors' EBAs.
The head contractor had sought to block Doyle from the workplace.
The Taskforce, bankrolled by taxpayers to spearhead the federal government's crusade against building workers, has spent millions of dollars in running cases on behalf of industry employers.
CFMEU officials complain that it doesn't seem bothered about courtroom defeats. That its real objective appears to be tying the union up in legal proceedings and forcing it to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on defending its right to exist.
It has drawn scathing judicial criticism for its methods and some of the cases it has run.
Earlier this year, Justice Wilcox in the NSW Supreme Court, described a case it had brought against the CFMEU as "hopeless".
"Even on the view of the facts propounded by the applicants," he said, "their case was hopeless. It was instituted without reasonable cause."
His comments came just four months after a Melbourne judge accused Hadgkiss' organisation of using "undemocratic" and "authoritarian" tactics, after it had demanded that workers submit personal bank account details.
"Such notices are foreign to the workplace relations of civilised societies, as distinct from undemocratic and authoritarian states," Justice Marshall said.
The Taskforce was then exposed in the Australian Senate for secretely recording people at work.
The federal government responded by announcing its intention to turn the Taskforce into a permanent Commission with increased coercive powers.
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