23 April 2015

Union Membership and Privacy

The Age reports that the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has
demanded access to 80,000 building workers' private details and the names of anyone who has attended a shop stewards' meeting in Victoria. 
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has reportedly characterised the orders as "draconian" and as a major privacy breach that could be used to blacklist union members from future construction projects.

The Royal Commission's interim report was noted here.

The orders, apparently sent to CFMEU branches this month, order the union to provide member details, including member residential addresses. The orders were revised last Friday to allow the omission of some details.

The Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) - the construction sector industrial relations inspectorate -  is reported as stated that it is was not privy to documents obtained by the Royal Commission and would never undermine someone's freedom of association -
It is farcical to suggest we would be breaking the very laws we so vigorously enforce
The agency currently has several investigations into alleged freedom of association breaches.
In March the CFMEU was found guilty of contempt over a blockade at the Bald Hills Wind Farm Project with cars and barbeque trailers for about eight hours in April 2014, with a fine of $125,000 and indemnity costs. The CFMEU, its Victorian Assistant Secretary Shaun Reardon and former official Danny Berardi were fined $43,000 for attempting to coerce a head contractor into signing an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU. FWBC filed contempt of court charges against the CFMEU after it breached a court undertaking by blockading the