The CFMEU is seeking the repayment by John Holland and its sub-contractors of $700,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements to workers on the Canberra Light Rail project.
The claim, lodged in the Federal Court, affects 84 CFMEU members with an average individual underpayment of $7400.
In some cases, the amounts owed to individual workers exceed $20,000.
The union alleges a litany of breaches of awards and enterprise agreements by John Holland and its sub-contractors throughout 2017, including non-payment of overtime and allowances, payment of below Award wages, failure to provide proper breaks, as well as breaches around payment of superannuation.
CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said the union had detailed 55 alleged contraventions of the Fair Work Act in its claim.
“The alleged failure to provide proper crib breaks, meal breaks and insufficient time between shifts is of particular concern,” Dave Noonan said.
“Construction work is among the most dangerous work in the country. When construction workers aren’t allowed the appropriate breaks during work, and in between shifts, it puts their lives at risk.”
The union’s claim relates to the following breaches of Awards and enterprise agreements by the John Holland and subcontractors:
- Failure to provide crib breaks of any kind.
- Failure to provide meal breaks no later than five hours after the start of work and failure to pay of double time until the meal break is provided.
- Failure to pay overtime rates for work outside the spread of hours
- In some cases payment of wages lower than in the Award, and general failure to pay Award allowances.
- Failure to observe the 10 hour break between shift requirements in the Award and corresponding failure to pay double time.