BHP lose court battle over sacked CFMEU members

BHP has lost a court battle against the CFMEU over the sacking of two union members at Peak Downs mine.

The Federal Court ruled last week that BHP Coal had breached industrial laws when it sacked the men in 2011.

Kevin Adams and Justin Winter were officials with the CFMEU when they were dismissed in July 2011.

BHP said the men were let go for breaching workplace conduct after allegations they bullied and threatened another employee over his decision to resign from the union.

However the Federal Court said it found no evidence to support the alleged threats, and instead found that Adams and Winter were sacked for union-related activities, Brisbane Times reported.

Justice Berna Collier said Adams and Winter had acted lawfully when they tried to persuade Robert Cramond to rejoin the CFMEU.

Justice Collier also said the mine’s general manager ignored an internal investigation that found no evidence supporting Cramond's claims he had been threatened.

It was also found that BHP funded Cramond's legal defence when Adams sued him for defamation.

Queensland District Court ruled in favour of Cramdon, and Justice Collier said this was used by the Peak Down’s general manager to issue "show cause" notices to the two union members.

Justice Collier ordered both terminations be treated as null and void.

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