Penalties imposed over unlawful WA strikes

1 November 2012

Note: Reference to prosecution in this media release is a general reference to the FWO commencing proceedings for the imposition of civil penalties and should not be taken to be a reference to criminal proceedings.

Penalties totalling $36,300 have been imposed against the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and two of its officials over separate incidents of unlawful industrial action at Fremantle and Broome, in Western Australia.

The MUA has been penalised $26,400 and MUA WA branch officials Chris Cain (secretary) and William Tracey (assistant secretary) have been fined $2640 and $7260 respectively.

The penalties, imposed in the Federal Court in Perth yesterday, are the result of an investigation and prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The first incident involved unlawful industrial action by 113 employees of marine terminal operator DP World at the Fremantle port in May, 2009.

The MUA, Cain and Tracey admitted in Court that they organised and were involved in the employees going on strike for about 24 hours from the afternoon of May 19.

Tracey had met with DP World managers five days earlier to discuss possible redundancies and had told them: "If we can't amicably come to an agreement on the redundancies, there'll be industrial action".

The second incident relates to an unlawful strike by 15 employees of the Broome Port Authority in March, 2010.

The MUA and Tracey admitted in Court that they organised and were involved in the employees going on strike for about 24 hours from the morning of March 30.

Tracey told the Broome Port Authority Chief Executive Officer the reason for the strike was "disrespect".

Before the industrial action, Tracey had threatened to "bring the port to its knees" and was involved in distributing flyers bearing the MUA logo that accused the Broome Port Authority of showing disrespect to its workforce.

The industrial action in both Fremantle and Broome was unlawful because it occurred before collective agreements had expired.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder Relations
0457 924 146
Penelope.Rowe@fwo.gov.au

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