Crackdown on ‘highly-offensive, highly-sexist’ tradies

 

FOUL-mouthed tirades and sexists slurs will be stamped out on construction sites in a zero-tolerance crackdown on the outdated and unlawful behaviour.

Construction watchdog Australian Building and Construction Commission boss Stephen McBurney says "highly-offensive, highly-sexist" behaviour will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted.

"I absolutely reject this notion that the building and construction industry should be held to a different standard than other workplaces in Australia, or that giving someone a highly offensive, highly sexist spray is acceptable," he said.

"We also have an issue of a relatively low proportion of construction workers being female and it's unacceptable for them to be exposed to this type of behaviour.

"We want to take a zero tolerance approach to that and we want to call it out whenever it occurs."

Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission Stephen McBurney. Picture: Kym Smith
Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission Stephen McBurney. Picture: Kym Smith

The Courier-Mail revealed in December a case before the Federal Circuit Court where a CFMEU official allegedly barked like a dog at female health and safety consultant on a Gold Coast construction site and called her a "f**king dog c**t".

The union has said the official denied the allegations and that it intends to defend what it called "sensational and inflammatory" claims.

It comes as new data reveals the ABCC has prosecuted 72 cases with penalties imposed of $11.9 million since it was recreated in December 2016.

Of those 62 cases and $10.7 million in penalties were against the militant CFMEU, with issues cropping up in every state and territory across the country.

"I don't know any other regulator in Australia who can point to that being an issue in their jurisdiction. It's that stark contrast between the CFMEU's wrong doing as compared to the rest of the sector," Mr McBurney said.

CFMEU protest at Parliament. The CFMEU has been involved in 62 of 72 court cases the ABCC has prosecuted where penalties were imposed. Picture: Annette Dew
CFMEU protest at Parliament. The CFMEU has been involved in 62 of 72 court cases the ABCC has prosecuted where penalties were imposed. Picture: Annette Dew

There have only been three other unions taken to court and fined in that time, including CEPU, AMWU and AWU, handed a combined of $362,000 in penalties.

There are currently 40 cases ongoing across the ­country, 12 of which are in Queensland. Of that 40, 33 relate to the CFMEU, 10 of which are in Queensland

"We're dealing with ongoing challenges in QLD, we will deploying our resources to deal with those challenges head on. We will investigate and we will litigate any contraventions," Mr McBurney said.

CFMEU Queensland state secretary Michael Ravbar was contacted for comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Crackdown on 'highly-offensive, highly-sexist' tradies


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