Trucks have stopped trying to enter a Melbourne shipping terminal after union workers barricading the dock knocked out the teeth of a driver earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Victoria has heard.
The Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) has been shut down for two weeks after Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members walked off the job.
The VICT is currently seeking an order from the court to ban the MUA, the CFMEU and Trades Hall Secretary Luke Hilikari from coming within 100 meters of the site, and from encouraging other union members to picket.
The dispute has been ongoing for 13 days, forcing precious cargo to be diverted to Adelaide and then taken by road to Melbourne.
Lawyers for the VICT told the court the serious assault of the truck driver occurred on December 2.
But the MUA representatives questioned the veracity of the attack, saying that the court had not been presented with evidence of who the driver was.
The VICT claim that no trucks had tried to enter the facility since the alleged attack.
The Webb Dock blockade has left 1,000 shipping containers stranded, including two shipments of EpiPens, according to the Victorian Transport Association.
Mr Hilikari told the ABC the union asked the VICT to come and retrieve the containers, but they were yet to do so.
He also said he had doubts as to whether there were actually EpiPens at the stevedore.
Dispute 'holding Victoria to ransom'
The issue on the docks came to a head when an audit revealed 22 workers did not have a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC), which lets workers into secure areas.
According to the union, the one worker who had taken the company to Fair Work had his employment terminated.
Outside the court, the Victorian Transport Association's Peter Anderson said the situation was "holding Victorians to ransom".
He called on the union to go through the proper processes and come to the table to negotiate.
"That's exactly why we have a Fair Work Commission," he told the ABC.
"That worker in the first instance became ineligible to work on the wharf, so now they're looking for a re-classification of an individual to maintain a work status as a casual.
"There's a bit of inconsistency in what they're looking for, however there's always middle ground in any negotiation."
Earlier, Mr Hilikari told the ABC that the worker has since received authorisation to work on the docks.
He said the picketing would most likely continue until the worker was reinstated.
"He's been authorised to be on the docks, so there's no reason for him not to get back there," he said.
"If he goes back to work, then the strike will be over and thing will be moving back from the dock, that's my strong feeling that I get from unions and people who are community supporters down there."
Workers are granted MSIC clearance after they have been cleared by the AFP and ASIO as not being a threat to the maritime or offshore industry.
In a statement, MUA Deputy Secretary Will Tracey said the worker had to take one extra step to have his clearance approved, due to a previous conviction.
"VICT management and its supporters made the claim several times that this worker had his appeal for an MSIC rejected, not once but twice," he said.
"When the truth is that he has held a two-year MSIC card on several occasions since receiving an assault conviction more than 20 years ago."
Government monitoring situation
Mr Hilikari called on the state and federal governments to intervene.
"[VICT] have automated the docks, and they're paying lower wages than industry standards, and they're also targeting union members … this issue needs to be resolved," he said.
A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said they were monitoring the impact the situation had on supplies.
"The Government has repeatedly offered to bring the parties together to help them resolve this dispute — including an offer to bring in Industrial Relations Victoria as a mediator — and that offer remains open," the spokesperson said.
"The matter will be heard by the Fair Work Commission tomorrow and we are hopeful this will bring an end to the dispute."
The post Truckie 'had teeth knocked out' trying to enter Melbourne docks union blockade, court hears appeared first on News Wire Now.