The Fair Work Commission has ordered Svitzer Australia to scrap its lockout of tugboat workers planned for today (Friday, 18 November). Yesterday, The Commission ruled it was satisfied the lockout of maritime workers would cause significant damage to the Australian economy. The FWC hearing continues with no final decision on either suspension or termination of the Protected Industrial Actions by the maritime unions, but the FWC has indicated that a full decision will be handed down today.

Some port authorities had been preemptive in ordering ships away from ports or delaying ship arrivals in anticipation of a lockout of tug crews. It is hoped that these preemptive actions can be reversed without causing undue vessel scheduling delays.

A notice from Svitzer received late yesterday (Thursday, 17 November) follows:

Dear Customers and Stakeholders,

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Fair Work Commission hearing has concluded for today, but in its statement before adjourning it advised the lockout will not proceed.

The hearing remains underway and the FWC is giving some further considerations overnight as to whether to suspend or terminate the protected industrial action – but they have made it clear they will issue an order before midday (AEDT) Friday 18 November.

On this basis, the lockout will not proceed and customers can return to planned shipping movements and recommence port operations. 

Svitzer Australia

The team at Kerry Logistics are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will be sure to provide further updates as the hearing continues. We are hopeful the MUA will also be instructed to cease the ongoing protected industrial action which has continued to disrupt port operations, and a positive outcome can be achieved for all parties.