A maritime worker at the centre of an industrial dispute at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) at Webb Dock in Melbourne has been granted a security clearance by federal authorities, rubbishing claims by the company that he was ineligible.
A community protest has been underway outside the VICT for nearly two weeks after a casual employee was denied shifts after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment, and acting as an MUA delegate at the site.
MUA Deputy Secretary Will Tracey said: “The worker in question was granted a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) card last Friday by federal authorities and the company can end this dispute right now by offering him his job back.
“22 workers on site had been identified as not having an MSIC that allows them to work in the restricted landside zone but only one was punished by the company – undoubtedly because he stood up for workers’ rights on the job.
“VICT management and its supporters made the claim several times that this worker had his appeal for an MSIC rejected, not once but twice, 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.
“The worker in question now has an MSIC card – so either our federal agencies have got it wrong by re-issuing his card, or the company has been caught out telling lies. I think it is the latter.”
“When a worker with a conviction re-applies for a new MSIC card, they simply apply for a police check and if there are no new convictions, the card is re-issued.
“It is one extra step but does not equate to ‘losing an appeal against the regulator's refusal to grant an MSIC’ – a claim the company has made on more than one occasion.
“It’s clear the company is more interested in public relations than industrial relations and was pulling a stunt to try to demonise the worker and his union. We know that the local community in Port Melbourne won’t stand for it and neither will the Victorian public.”
“VICT said those workers had either been granted a clearance or were awaiting the security regulator's decision. A company spokesman said the employee in question was the only ineligible one and that he had lost an appeal against the regulator's refusal.” AFR Nov 29 - This is a LIE
‘Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers said the issue was about national security critical to the protection of ports."Why on earth would the MUA hold the Victorian community to ransom over a person who's ineligible to hold a MSIC?"’ AFR Nov 29 - This is a LIE
“Mr Anders Dommestrup, Chief Executive of VICT Ltd, said today the union officials organising the picket at Webb Dock were demanding that VICT offer work to an MUA member with a criminal record that makes it illegal for him to work in the secure areas at Webb Dock under Federal law.” VICT media release December 6 - This is a LIE
Tracey said this also brings into question other claims the company has made, including the alleged hold-up of epiPens.
“The MUA has offered several times over the past week, including yesterday, to try to broker with the community members running the protest to move any EpiPens through the terminal and the company has refused to provide the container number,” Tracey said.
“It’s also worth pointing out that only one ship per week uses VICT, compared to on average 13 ships per week at DP World and 10 at Patrick Stevedores so any suggestion that this dispute is bringing Victoria to a standstill is false.”
Media Contact: Darrin Barnett 0428 119 703