Plea to unions on illegal VICT blockade


Supreme Court issues blanket injunction clearing terminal entrance

Plea to unions on illegal VICT blockade
The union blockade last Friday

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has implored the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to comply with Supreme Court of Victoria orders issued yesterday for their illegal picket at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) site to be disbanded.

The order prevents the unions approaching within 100 metres of VICT’s business and interfering with container transport there. 

They also ban them from restricting 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," 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.

After Friday's mass rally, the injunction covers Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) secretary Luke Hilakari and CFMEU secretary John Setka.

In his finding, Judge Michael McDonald notes the VICT application was supported by a "substantial body of evidence" but that the unions had "filed very little evidence, and, certainly, none which challenges the substance of the evidence" from VICT.

He also dismissed the notion that it was in any way "community protest" and that the picketers knew their actions were unlawful.

 "Absent a representative order fixing potential liability under the individuals engaging in that unlawful conduct that conduct will continue," the ruling reads. 

VICT chief executive Anders Dommestrup welcomed the decision to extend the injunctions against the illegal picket of Webb Dock.

"This is a victory for the whole community against selfish trade union interests.

"The Court’s decision indicates a conspiracy, led by the MUA and the CFMEU, to harm and damage VICT, and in turn impacting the many small and medium sized businesses whose goods have been left in limbo by the unions’ actions.

"VICT will continue to assess the damage that has been done to our business.

"We will be seeking to recoup those damages. Others will be doing the same. Any breaches of the Court’s orders will also be pursued as a contempt of court.

"The unions offered virtually no defence of their illegal behaviours because there is no defence.

"The MUA, the CFMEU and others associated with the illegal picket are now required to cease their illegal picketing and not to approach within 100 metres of our business. The union organised rally of last Friday put attendees at risk of these orders being made against them."

 

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