Sydney Hutchinson workers denied entry

Wharfies arriving for their first shift at Hutchinson Ports in Sydney have been told to turn around and come back in the afternoon.


About 100 workers in Brisbane and Sydney were celebrating Thursday night’s last-minute Federal Court win by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), which successfully argued Hutchison Ports failed in its responsibilities over the sackings.

The court accepted the union’s argument that Hutchison had breached its enterprise agreement by failing to adequately consult with workers and ignoring a dispute resolution clause before announcing the forced redundancies.

Justice Darryl Rangiah on Thursday agreed to grant a temporary order that would remain in place until a full hearing in September.

But on Friday morning Hutchinson seemed to be unaware of the court injunction.

Security guards stationed outside the entrance of the port building were manning the doors as workers arrived in the morning for their first shift.

“It appears that clearly Hutchinson wasn’t prepared for this morning’s shift,” MUA’s Sydney deputy secretary Paul Keating told AAP.

“I’ve spoken with the terminal manger and we’ve got an understanding to the company’s allocations; our members will start on afternoon shifts at 2pm.”

The court injunction is a small win for the workers, but does not mean their jobs are reinstated for good.

Negotiations will now begin with the MUA and management in the hopes of agreeing to a fairer resolution.

Hutchinson sacked close to 100 workers last Thursday via text message and email. The company claimed it was not financially viable to keep the workers on.

CFMEU members arrived by the busload on Friday morning to show their solidarity, with the picket line ballooning in numbers.

The workers will continue to blockade any trucks hoping to enter the dock until they begin work.

They were busy on Friday morning cooking up a large breakfast to thank the unionists who have been organising shifts to help them man the 24-hour picket line.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin and ACTU president Ged Kearney will address the workers at midday before their first shift.