ACTU campaigns to close fine loopholes

Peak union body says company directors should be personally liable for court-imposed fines over workplace deaths

ACTU campaigns to close fine loopholes
Michael Borowick wants to strengthen directors' liability.


The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) says it will lobby both governments and its own membership to ensure court-imposed fines are paid by the companies owing them.

Where a restructure takes place, company directors should be ultimately liable, assistant secretary Michael Borowick says.

"Strengthening occupational health and safety laws to make negligent companies and individual directors liable sends a clear message to employers that they must ensure people are safe at work," he says.

Borowick says there have been occasions when courts have imposed fines, but the target company has been liquidated or restructured before the penalty has been paid.

"That has to stop," he says. "If a court imposes a fine, it should be paid.

"[Avoiding the fine] shows disrespect for the judicial process, and disrespect for the families of workers killed on the job."

Borowick says the campaign for change will launch during tomorrow’s International Workers’ Memorial Day – which commemorates people killed at work across the globe.  

He expects to move motions at the ACTU 2015 Congress in May, as well as the Australian Labor Party national party conference in July.


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