The Maritime Union of Australia will fight Hong Kong-based logistics operator Hutchison Ports Australia in the Federal Court after almost 100 workers were sacked by text in the dead of night.
The MUA claims Hutchison breeched its enterprise agreement with its workers on two grounds:
- Lack of adequate consultation with respect to redundancies.
- 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 11.15am on Thursday.
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,” Mr 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 suddenly without explanation by text and email.
The company is owned by Li Ka-Shing, the 17th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $27 billion.
Forbes magazine listed Li Ka-Shing as the 28th most powerful person in the world in 2014, ahead of Rupert Murdoch, IMF Director Christine Lagarde and the Presidents of Brazil, Japan and Egypt.