A pair of construction union bosses ordered coffee and joked about weight loss at a Melbourne cafe before they allegedly blackmailed Boral executives, a magistrate has heard.
CFMEU state leaders John Setka and Shaun Reardon are fighting allegations they blackmailed Boral managers Paul Dalton and Peter Head in April 2013.
They allegedly threatened to blockade Boral plants and trucks if the company refused to meet union demands.
At the time the CFMEU was waging industrial war against building giant Grocon, which Boral supplied with cement.
The union wanted to appoint its own OH&S representatives at Grocon sites.
The meeting at North Melbourne's Auction Rooms cafe was called by Boral in the hope the union would lift a blackban on its cement deliveries.
Details of the meeting emerged as Mr Dalton gave evidence on Thursday during Setka and Reardon's Melbourne Magistrates Court committal hearing.
Mr Dalton said Boral organised the meeting with an aim to "do a deal" with the union officials.
"I wanted to understand their position and see what deal we could do," he said.
Defence counsel Neil Clelland QC, who cross-examined Mr Dalton, suggested the meeting began jovially.
"You shook hands, ordered coffee and Mr Setka and Mr Reardon joked about their weight loss challenge," Mr Clelland said.
The barrister said the union officials had suggested staging a blockade to make it seem Boral trucks were being stopped, but weren't really.
"It will make it look like the plant is being blockaded," Mr Clelland said.
"So you don't have to have the difficult conversation with Grocon, with whom you have a supply contract."
Setka and Reardon were charged in 2015 after an investigation by a joint Victorian and federal police unit, following a referral by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
More than 20 witnesses are scheduled to give evidence at the committal hearing, which will determine if Setka and Reardon stand trial.