Trailer Magazine


Unions defy Supreme Court order as picketing continues

  • Posted on Wednesday 13th, December 2017.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has implored the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to comply with Supreme Court orders to disband their illegal picket at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT).

The ATA is representing freight operators that for two weeks have been blockaded from collecting and delivering containers at the VICT.

On 12 December, the Court issued orders against the MUA and the CFMEU, preventing them approaching within 100 metres of VICT’s business. It also issued orders requiring the unions not to restrict access to VICT by either trucks or people, and requiring them not to encourage others to attend the site to do the same. 

“Despite the Court order, it is our understanding that the picket is still in place and trucks are not able to access containers at VICT,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.

“This arrogant defiance of a Supreme Court order is continuing to disrupt activities at the terminal, as well as trade and commerce throughout the state during the busiest time of the year for small businesses that are being denied access to their goods.

“The order from the Court was effectively a signal that the Victorian people should not be held to ransom by illegal picketing that has shut down the Port of Melbourne’s third stevedore, and it is stunning that the unions are showing such contempt.

“Breaking the law, as the CFMEU and MUA are doing by defying these orders, is irresponsible, immature and selfish. It’s time they grew up and stop holding VICT and Victorians to ransom through these actions.”

Anderson emphasised there is a prescribed system in place for matters like the one that led to this illegal picketing to be dealt with.

“To prevent further disruptions at the Port of Melbourne and embarrassment for Victoria as a place to do business, we urge all parties to use the industrial relations system and Fair Work Commission to have workplace disputes resolved.”

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said that after more than two weeks and two court rulings against the illegal picket at Webb Dock, it is time for police to ensure the court’s orders are enforced and legitimate business activities are permitted to resume.

“The freight logistics industry and the community have spent two weeks paying the price while the CFMEU and the MUA engaged in a protracted bout of political grandstanding that is all about pursuing their own organisational interests,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.

“This illegal picket has already cost businesses millions of dollars in the lead up to
Christmas.

“The impact is being felt well beyond the confines of Webb Dock – as consumers and businesses can’t access much needed consumer merchandise, motor vehicle components, food and medical products,” he said.

Anderson said on 15 December that the unions that have been disrupting VICT operations will disband their picket.

“It is our hope that normal operations can resume at the terminal as quickly as possible so that freight operators can have access to goods that have been languishing on the dock for too long,” said Anderson. “We applaud both parties for working to achieve a reasonable outcome, and for resolving further matters through the industrial relations system."

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