Valley union stalwart blacklisted

Gippsland’s most prominent electrical union official has been barred from entering work sites by the Fair Work Commission, for failing to disclose past industrial misdemeanors in a permit application.

Electrical Trades Union Gippsland organiser Peter Mooney, a union stalwart in Latrobe Valley’s power and construction settings, can no longer enter building and construction industry workplaces after failing to satisfy the Fair Work Commission’s “fit and proper person” criteria. Union officials are required to hold an entry permit in order to gain access to workplaces, under the Fair Work Act 2009.

However, a permit renewal application by the ETU’s parent union on Mr Mooney’s behalf was rejected in the FWC by director regulatory compliance Chris Enright on 1 April.

“Mr Mooney’s disregard for the provisions of industrial legislation is sufficient for me to conclude that I am not satisfied that he is a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold the entry permit the subject of the current application,” Mr Enright said.

He said a “lack of due diligence” in Mr Mooney’s failure to disclose his numerous breaches of industrial law in previous permit applications further contributed to his rejection decision.

Mr Mooney told The Express his union would appeal the FWC decision, before declining to comment further.

The Federal Government’s Fair Work Building and Construction department had launched proceedings against Mr Mooney’s application, publicising his rejection along with 17 other union officials, mostly from the CFMEU’s construction division, on its website.

FWBC director Nigel Hadgkiss urged site managers to familiarise themselves with the ‘no permit list’, and their rights about ‘right of entry’.

“It is within your right to request to see and inspect the original permit,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“It is not enough for the official to flash the permit at you. You are entitled to, and should, inspect it.

“If someone on the list comes onto site uninvited, and does not leave when asked, call the police.”

ETU state secretary Tony Gray and CFMEU state secretary John Setka have also had their entry permit applications rejected.

Mooney’s misdemeanors 

In its rejection of Peter Mooney’s right of entry permit, the Fair Work Commission noted his past industrial breaches, including:

 – A 2004 incident in which Mr Mooney was fined $2400 for demanding several apprentices employed by a subcontractor leave the site of a major construction project, as their employer did not have an enterprise bargaining agreement.

The subsequent impact on the project cost the sub-contractor losses of $19,000.

 – A 2007 incident in which Mr Mooney incurred two separate $1500 fines for his unspecified involvement in unlawful industrial action at a construction site in which employees refused or failed to attend or perform work.

 – In 2008/09, Mr Mooney’s role in organising protests at a gas plant construction site, with the “intent to coerce the sub-contractors to agree to enter into building agreements”, attracted a $4000 fine.

The conduct was “serious in nature and at certain times involved interference or damage to property with the employee’s ability to enter and exit the site”.

Source: Fair Work Commission decision paper