Australian Resources & Energy Group AMMA has described a major strike by Port of Melbourne workers last week to support the boss of Australia’s new construction, mining and stevedoring mega-union as “irresponsible, damaging and reckless”.
Wharfies from DP World’s West Swanson terminal, Patrick’s East Swanson terminal, and Toll Group’s Webb Dock facility all stopped work on Wednesday last week to attend a massive rally in Melbourne.
The ACTU-organised ‘Change the Rules’ rally was in part in support of the secretary of the newly formed CFMMEU, John Setka, who has been charged with blackmail over allegedly threatening Boral with a secondary boycott during a union dispute with builder Grocon.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott labelled the strike action “drastic and illegal,” and said it shows the decision to allow the CFMEU and the MUA to merge was a mistake.
“This is exactly the type of damaging, coordinated law-breaking that AMMA has warned of repeatedly in our Fair Work Commission proceedings appealing the creation of this super-militant union,” Knott said on May 9.
“It’s a stark reality check for anyone who believed the unions’ assurances that it would not lead to this type of coordinated industrial action.”
The Turnbull Government pushed to block the union merger, but the necessary legislative changes were not delivered before the union was formally merged.
“Today’s events demonstrate how coordinated industrial action between the CFMMEU’s construction and maritime divisions can have immediate and damaging impacts on the economy, the community and our international reputation as a reliable place to invest and do business,” Knott continued.
“Australia’s ports are the gates to our economy, aiding everything from large-scale commodity exports to trade for small and medium businesses. They are also critical to individual members of the public accessing household products and essential medical supplies.
“It is extremely disappointing that just as the Australian economy is starting to turn a corner – allowing our federal parliamentarians to debate how best to allocate strong national revenues – the new super-militant union chooses to threaten this growth by slamming shut the gates to our trade.”