Hutchison Port workers continue protests despite orders to cease

Dockworkers at Hutchison Ports Australia have continued picketing ports in Sydney and Brisbane in protest against the company’s sacking of almost 100 workers via email last week, despite an order to cease by Australia’s Fair Work Commission.

The Fair Work Commission found the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) appeared to be behind the industrial campaign, and ordered it to cease.

However, Hutchison Ports’ workers met yesterday at Sydney’s Port Botany to discuss their response, and voted to defy the Commission’s order, according to Inchcape Shipping Services.

MUA Queensland state secretary Bob Carnegie said that the protesters are not taking industrial action, and that the gathering is a “peaceful community protest” which is “outside the scope of the Fair Work Commission.”

Carnegie also said that the union has the permission from the Port of Brisbane to continue to protest for another 24 days.

MUA said that it utterly rejects the suggestion that the company is reducing its Australian operations due to a lack of competitiveness and loss of stevedoring contracts, and that this is a strategy to increase automation, as there are no logical reasons why the company would otherwise give away profitable contracts as they have done recently.

MUA’s Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith also said the company had not lost contracts and that the company was subcontracting vessels to Patrick and DP World.

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