ABCC fines workers while letting bosses off the hook

Published: 27 Jan 2022

Figures released by the ABCC show the construction industry regulator has hit individual workers with more in fines and penalties than they have levied against employers since the organisation was re-constituted in December 2016.

“It is sickening to see the ABCC celebrating its clear bias against construction workers upon reaching the 'milestone' of 100 completed court cases since 2016,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“On the ABCC's watch, construction workers who stick up for their rights or fight for fair pay are more likely to be prosecuted and fined than the bosses who are stealing their wages or putting their safety at risk.”

“Since 2016 the ABCC has hit 252 individual workers with $530,800 in fines and penalties, substantially more than the $513,255 they have imposed on employers.”

“Most of these workers were fined for attending stop-work meetings or participating in industrial action that would not see workers prosecuted in any other industry.”

“Over the same time period trade unions have been penalised more than $14 million.”

“Of the one hundred cases the ABCC is celebrating having completed since 2016, 74 were against the CFMEU and 13 were against employers.”

“This sham regulator has completed only 3 cases related to wages and entitlements in an industry where wage theft is rife and where the union has recovered tens of millions in wages for workers.”

“In 2016 the ABCC was re-constituted with a legally enshrined obligation to act as an independent and unbiased regulator in the construction industry and NOT as a politically motivated attack dog to be wielded as a weapon against workers and their unions.”

“Yet today the ABCC is shamelessly celebrating its blatant record of failure and ongoing refusal to act as an independent and unbiased regulator.”

“This hopelessly compromised and deeply politicised outfit allows unscrupulous employers to rip workers off with impunity. Construction workers should not face being targeted and fined by a regulator with the powers of a Royal Commission that ignores criminal behaviour by employers."

"The ABCC must be abolished.”