Tuesday 19th Dec, 2017

More ugliness on Australia’s waterfront

MUA banners. Photo: Jim Wilson
MUA banners. Photo: Jim Wilson

Union members allegedly breached a Supreme Court injunction this week by continuing to picket at a Port of Melbourne stevedoring terminal, and reportedly targeted company executives and their families with “vile” abuse.

According to multiple reports, a picket initially organised by the Maritime Union of Australia has grown with the support of other unions, after the Supreme Court granted an interim injunction against the MUA, preventing its members from coming with 100 metres of the site on Friday.

The terminal, run by Victorian International Container Terminals (VICT), is reportedly completely shut down by the picket, leaving some 1000 containers stranded.

Workers reportedly started to leak through the picket earlier this week, but union leaders have resolved to continue their “peaceful assembly”.

This comes after VICT boss Anders Dommestrup said union members had targeted the company’s leadership, alleging some 150 calls were placed to one executive’s phone in under an hour, and another’s mother was the recipient of “vulgar abuse”.

“Following the granting of the injunction, there were attempts to intimidate and harass some of our staff and their families in a very personal and vile way,” Dommestrup was quoted as saying by the AFR.

“VICT will not tolerate that kind of behaviour and neither should anybody else.

“We intend to alert the Victoria Police given the information we already have to hand.”

VICT has vowed to go after the unions for millions in damages as a result of the picket, and has threatened to engage with the Police if the union members do not disperse.

The unions’ campaign alleges VICT is “undercutting Australian wages and offshoring our jobs”.

“All community members present know that VICT is a company with an atrocious global record on workers’ rights, conditions and safety and they can’t be trusted, MUA national deputy secretary Will Tracey was quoted.