Australia court stops industrial action at port terminal

DP World kicks against termination of concession agreement by Djibouti  

 

The Federal Court of Australia has issued an interim interlocutory injunction halting industrial action at container terminals of DP World Australia announced back in January.

The court order prevents more than 1800 workers employed at the stevedore’s terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Fremantle from taking any form of legally protected industrial action until March 13, 2020.

DP World Australia sought the injunction against industrial action coordinated by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union (CFMMEU), saying that at least one of the union’s claims in enterprise bargaining was not permitted under the Fair Work Act 2009.

DP World Australia (DPWA) Chief Operating Officer Andrew Adam said the order meant it was business as usual at the terminals and that there would be no disruption to normal services.

“In granting the interim injunction, the Federal Court of Australia determined the CFMMEU has a case to answer on its decision to press for claims that fail to comply with Australian workplace laws,” Adam said. 

Adam added that the statement by the union over local worker rights is another attempt to “distract CFMMEU members’ attention from its mismanagement of bargaining for new enterprise agreements at DPWA’s terminals around Australia.”

The interim interlocutory injunction will remain in effect until the final determination of the case, or until alternate orders are made.

The final hearing is scheduled in mid-March.

Wharfies were outraged by the court decision, describing it as an attack on the fundamental democratic rights of all Australian workers.

The Maritime Union of Australia said the decision should send a shudder down the spine of all working Australians, with the Federal Court “entrenching the power of foreign and local corporations and undermining the ability of workers to have any chance of standing up against workplace greed, inequality and for justice in the workplace.”

MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said the Federal Court decision was just the latest in a long list of aggressive moves by DP World aimed at forcing workers to accept management’s demands for a new workplace agreement. 

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