The Maritime Union of Australia is taking Patrick Stevedores to court, saying it wants to stop the company from making workers redundant while the parties argue over how many jobs should go.
The MUA will seek an injunction in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Thursday to stop Patrick’s making Webb Dock wharfies’ jobs redundant or casual.
The union will ask the court to defer Patrick from giving up to 80 employees redundancy notices next Tuesday, while a separate action is before the workplace umpire.
Patrick Stevedores has been contacted for comment.
Fair Work Australia is already hearing a dispute between the MUA and Patrick about how many workers should be made redundant.
Redundancies could affect up to 80 of 260-300 workers on site, MUA assistant national secretary Ian Bray says.
“What they want to do is reduce the permanent workforce by 66 per cent,” he told AAP.
“We’re saying it doesn’t need to be that drastic.”
Mr Bray says the union will tell the Federal Court that until the matter is heard by FWA, the redundancies shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead.
“For us, there’s no point going to a hearing once everybody’s been made redundant,” he said.
Mr Bray says Patrick has received a payment of at least $18.5 million from the Victorian government to relocate while Webb Dock is redeveloped and it was in Victoria’s interests that Patrick retain permanent jobs.
A spokesman for Ports Minister David Hodgett has previously said any compensation was a commercial arrangement between Patrick Stevedores and the Port of Melbourne.
The matter between the MUA and Patrick is expected to go before the Federal Court at 2.15pm (AEST) on Thursday.