MUA Takes Hutchison Ports to Court over Email Sackings

The Maritime Union of Australia is taking its fight with Hong Kong-based logistics operator Hutchison Ports Australia to the Federal Court after almost 100 workers were sacked by emails and text messages in the midnight hours of August 6.

The MUA claims Hutchison breached its enterprise agreement with its workers on two grounds: lacking of adequate consultation with respect to redundancies, and ignoring the dispute resolution clause.

On these two grounds the MUA is seeking an injunction, plus penalties and damages.

The hearing, whereby the MUA is seeking to prosecute Hutchison, will be heard at 11.15 am local time, Thursday, August 13.

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Hutchison’s conduct was outrageous.

”The MUA is taking this Federal Court action because the union and the Australian public don’t think it’s good enough to sack your workers at midnight by text and email,” Crumlin said.

”This conduct by Hutchison doesn’t pass the pub test. We’re outraged and the outpouring of community support for the sacked workers suggests the Australian public is too.”

Just before midnight last Thursday, 97 workers from Brisbane and Sydney were sacked by text and email.

Dockworkers at Hutchison Ports Australia have continued picketing ports in Sydney and Brisbane in protest against the sackings despite an order to cease by Australia’s Fair Work Commission.

The Fair Work Commission found the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) appeared to be behind the industrial campaign, and ordered it to cease.

MUA Queensland state secretary Bob Carnegie said that the protesters are not taking industrial action, and that the gathering is a ”peaceful community protest” which is ”outside the scope of the Fair Work Commission.”

Hutchison Ports is owned by Li Ka-Shing, the 17th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of USD 27 billion, according to MUA.

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