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Union fight at wind farm  

Credit:  Matt Johnston, Stephen Drill | Herald Sun | April 16, 2014 | www.perthnow.com.au ~~

A Victorian construction union has been banned from leaving cars or equipment near entrances to a $400 million wind farm after a costly industrial battle reignited.

The Federal Court ordered the 200m exclusion zone on Wednesday, after the CFMEU was accused of blockading the Bald Hills Wind Farm this week.

Earlier this month, the union had given an undertaking to the court that it would not restrict access to the site, which is near Inverloch in South Gippsland.

On Tuesday, Bald Hills Wind Farm general manager Matthew Croome said the CFMEU had blocked access to three entrances.

“It is disappointing when we can’t continue working on the project,” he said.

“Some workers are on site, but it is disrupting.”

CFMEU organiser Gareth Stephenson told the Herald Sun on Tuesday that the union had a “presence” at site entrances but it wasn’t a blockade because “at no stage has there been any attempt by the workforce to get in”.

“There’s no one that came to us that said ‘excuse me, can we go to work?’,” he said.

He also warned that the union was likely to continue protests until management sat with them to tackle their concerns, from entitlement matters to toilet access.

The Herald Sun understands the CFMEU is also angry a project contractor has done a deal to use Australian Workers’ Union members, rather than its members.

The Fair Work Building and Construction Commission is investigating the union’s actions, and sought a hearing at the court on Tuesday.

The commission has been investigating since February, when the first alleged blockade of the Wednesday’s order must be published on the CFMEU’s website and the commission said a written copy must be given to union officers Derek Christopher, Ralph Edwards, Bill Beattie, Joe Myles and Drew McDonald, Toby Thornton, Alex Tadic, Rob Graauwmans and Mick Powell.

Commission director Nigel Hadgkiss said: “I want to put all industry participants on notice that conduct of this nature will not be tolerated.”

Source:  Matt Johnston, Stephen Drill | Herald Sun | April 16, 2014 | www.perthnow.com.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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