AUSTRALIA: Blackmail charges against CFMEU officials dropped

16 May 2018 11:50


The BWI is pleased to hear the decision of the Australian Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw blackmail charges against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)’s Victorian Branch officials Shaun Riordan and John Setka.

“This case was the culmination of a political witch-hunt against unions driven by Liberal Governments for over four years”, said Riordan and Setka in a statement. “It has nothing to do with workers safety or rights, it’s always been about criminalising unions in this country.”

The charges relate to allegations that in 2013 the officials had spoken to executives at construction materials firm Boral about not supplying concrete to construction giant Grocon’s Melbourne work sites.

They emerged at the Liberal Government’s hallmark Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, a key part of its attack on unions and workers’ rights.

This victory cements the progress that have been made by the Australian trade union movement in recent months. For example, the green-lighting of the merger of the CFMEU and Maritime Union of Australia will create a 200,000 member-strong ‘super union’ that will be a formidable force for workers’ rights across Australia and beyond.

In addition, Australian workers have come out in force against the Liberal Government on the streets of cities across the country as part of the ACTU’s #changetherules campaign for better pay and conditions. One hundred thousand people hit the  streets of Melbourne on 9 May, demanding an end to inequality.

At the BWI World Congress in December 2017, a resolution was passed in solidarity with Australian workers and against the repressive Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), which is designed to attack construction worker and union rights. Along with the CFMEU and ACTU, the BWI co-filed a complaint in the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association against the ABCC.