Union officials face fines of more than $10,000 for allegedly coercing a building company to make an enterprise agreement with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
Fair Work Building and Construction director Nigel Hadgkiss said no business should be coerced into signing away a workplace right.
“Coercion has no place on Australian building sites,” he said. “Enterprise agreements are a workplace right not a requirement.”
Mr Hadgkiss said the agency was taking legal action against the CFMEU and its officials over allegations they put pressure on a small building company to sign an enterprise agreement. Individuals faced a maximum penalty of $10,200 and the union could be fined $51,000 if a finding was made against them.
Fair Work alleged CFMEU assistant secretary Shaun Reardon on June 28 last year told the director of the building company words to the effect: “You need to sign an EBA … The only way to teach you guys a lesson about joining an EBA is when we f--- you around and delay your sites like with crane lifts.”
It was alleged former CFMEU official Danny Berardi went to the building site in Hawthorn, Victoria, earlier that day and said words to the effect: “You’re playing games with me in my area; you won’t be lifting the panels today.”
When the company's director told Mr Berardi the company would not be signing an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU, Mr Berardi allegedly said: “Well, you’ll be f---ed. I’ll blockade all your sites.”
It was alleged the site closed for the day, with little construction work done.
When Mr Berardi returned to the site on July 13, he allegedly directed the crane operator to stop work for three hours because the company had not signed the EBA.
Mr Berardi was forced to resign from the union early this year after Fairfax Media and the ABC revealed he had allegedly taken secret commissions from a building company.
CFMEU Victoria branch spokesman Clancy Dobbyn accused Mr Hadgkiss of pushing the Abbott government’s political agenda.
“These lies are part of the political war against the union being waged by the Abbott government,” Mr Dobbyn said.
“Grubby builders are lining up to take advantage of those attacks on the union and this is no different.”
In Brisbane on Thursday, the CFMEU Queensland secretary Michael Ravbar denied allegations he was involved in getting a crane company banned from work sites because it would not sign the union's EBA.
Jeremy Stoljar, counsel assisting the royal commission into trade unions, alleged Mr Ravbar had threatened a campaign of bans against Universal Cranes. Mr Ravbar dismissed the claims as "make believe".
"That's how it works, isn't it Mr Ravbar," Mr Stoljar said. "That's really what this whole thing is about. You don't openly ban, but you apply pressure and in that way a company like Universal Cranes feels the effects of the applied pressure."
The lawyer for the CFMEU John Agius accused Mr Stoljar of "climbing into the witness box again", but commissioner Dyson Heydon disagreed.
Mr Stoljar continued to press Mr Ravbar saying: "You think that by avoiding words like ban and boycott you can avoid the legal effects of what you are doing.
"You have your ways and you may not go around doing it openly, but what you do is you apply pressure by going to clients of people like Universal Cranes and telling them that the union doesn't want Universal Cranes on site, that's right isn't it?"
Mr Ravbar replied: "You make that statement, but the reality is that's not the case".
The royal commission will continue its hearings in Sydney next week.