Shipments from Port Hedland were delayed this month as tug crews undertook strike action against a local manager accused of sexual harassment, intimidation and bullying in the workplace.
Western Australia Assistant Branch Secretary Will Tracey said the three hour work stoppage on March 9, which brought one of Australia’s biggest ports to a standstill, was a result of years of alleged misconduct by a Teekay Shipping operations manager.
Teekay manages the tug fleet which ensures vessels enter and exit the harbour safely.
Mr Tracey said three female staff at Teekay’s Port Hedland office had resigned in the past year due to alleged sexual harassment by the manager in question.
“The allegations of inappropriate conduct have been there for quite some time. It’s got to a stage where our membership up there couldn’t stand by, after three women in the office resigned,” he said.
“We’ve all got daughters, wives, sisters and we just can’t stand by and watch this stuff go on. We needed Teekay to take the allegations seriously, the women certainly have, they resigned on the basis of it.”
“They had made formal complaints to senior management on the east coast and the way they decided to deal with it wasn’t appropriate.”
A Port Hedland Authority spokesman said he was informed of the strike 45 minutes prior.
“To the best of our knowledge it was illegal strike action taken by the tug crews,” he said.
“As a result two vessels missed their windows on the morning tide and had to sail later that evening.”
Mr Tracey said Teekay had agreed to investigate the conduct of the manager, who was taken off duty while inquiries were conducted.
When contacted by the North West Telegraph, Teekay managing director David Parmeter said there had been an agreement between the parties involved not to comment publicly on the matter.