The majority of a full High Court has today found that parts of Tasmania's laws against workplace protests in forestry and related areas are invalid because they offend the Constitution's implied freedom of political communication.
The FWC has found it has no basis to suspend industrial action by CEPU members at the Australian Submarine Corporation, because a campaign of 162 half-hour stopworks is yet to begin, but has warned it would be likely to issue orders to provide for an agreement ballot in a strike-free environment if circumstances change.
The High Court has this morning refused a CFMEU bid for special leave to challenge a full Federal Court majority ruling that increased penalties twelve-fold after after accepting that it could not treat a "lawful request" or a party's motivation for taking coercive industrial action as a mitigating factor when determining fines.
The IEU has flagged rolling stopworks in more than 500 NSW and ACT schools next term after the FWC held that, just as the Roman Catholic Church's dioceses are in "full communion" they are also engaged in a "common enterprise", so its employees are eligible to take protected action.
The Federal Court has imposed record fines totalling more than $2.4 million against the CFMEU national and NSW branches and nine officials over breaches at Barangaroo in 2014, but says that without "legislative action" even higher penalties currently available under the law might not deter the militant union.
In the first test of whether Queensland's laws regulating peaceful assemblies can be used to block pickets and protests during industrial disputes, the state's Supreme Court has rejected mining company Glencore's argument that such activities can't be authorised.
Catholic school employers have failed to convince the FWC to refer to a full bench its challenge to the right of NSW and ACT teachers to take protected action on the basis their dioceses are not "single interest employers" as required by the Fair Work Act.
The High Court has reserved its decision on parallel appeals by Esso and the AWU questioning what constitutes a breach of bargaining orders and whether a breach during bargaining means future protected action is not possible.
A full Federal Court has fined the CFMEU $300,000 and the CEPU $130,000 over a 2011 industrial campaign; penalties that are almost three times higher than originally sought by the construction watchdog.