Interim injunction in Australia halts terminals strike

The Federal Court of Australia has issued an interim interlocutory injunction that had the effect of halting industrial action at container terminals of DP World Australia. The strikes had been announced in January.

The court order prevents the more than 1,800 workers employed at the stevedore terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Fremantle from taking any form of legally protected industrial action until March 13th.

DP World Australia had sought the injunction against industrial action that was coordinated by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union (CFMMEU). DP World said 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 that there would now be no disruption to normal services.

The interim interlocutory injunction remains in effect until the final determination of the case, or until alternate orders are made, with a final hearing scheduled for mid-March.

The stevedores expressed anger at the court decision, describing it as an attack on the fundamental democratic rights of all Australian workers.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said that the Federal Court was “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 that the Federal Court decision was the latest in a long list of aggressive moves by DP World that aimed to force workers to accept management’s demands for a new workplace agreement.

A series of coordinated stoppages closed the DP World container terminals in Australia for between 48 and 96 hours in 2019, impacting the ports of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Fremantle.