Maritime union to pay more than $ 2 million in compensation and penalties for organizing illegal stops

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Patrick Stevedores and Qube Logistics received a combined total of more than $ 2 million in compensation and penalties following illegal work stoppages in Port Botany organized by the maritime union and 2 officials in 2017.

Patrick Stevedores Holdings and Patrick Stevedores Operations operate container handling terminals, notably in Port Botany in New South Wales. Qube Logistics provides transportation logistics services, including the transportation of freight and empty containers by road and rail.

Approximately 90% of the affected employees were members of Maritime Union Australia, now merged to form the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, and were covered by the Patrick Terminals Enterprise Agreement 2016 (the company agreement).

Litigation over the subletting of the port

In separate proceedings brought by Patrick Stevedores and Qube, Lee J found that the union and 2 officers, Mr. McAleer and Mr. Keating, had violated sections 417, 421 and 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) by organizing and being involved in a protest action carried out by Patrick Stevedores employees on several shifts in April and May 2017. The industrial action included a ban on loading empty containers on trains and a general work stoppage.

The industrial action concerned a decision by Patrick Stevedores to sublet to Qube a space it was not using for its handling operations. The union was extremely suspicious of this action, seeing it as part of a “longer-term strategy to remove the docks of the future from railway works at the Port Botany terminal”, and a dispute ensued.

Determined complex claims

Following the main judgment, the court had to determine the complex claims for statutory compensation under section 545 of the FW Act and whether financial penalties should be imposed. The issue of compensation was complicated as various losses were claimed by 5 different entities.

Lee J stated that subsection 545 (1) “confers a broad remedial power on the Court to make any order it deems appropriate, if it is satisfied that a person has contravened or has proposed to contravene a provision. remedy, and subsection 545 (2) provides a non-exhaustive list of examples as to the types of remedial orders that may be made, including statutory compensation as specified in section 545 (2) (b ) ”.

Lee J also said that the loss must be suffered as a result of the contravention for an order to be made under section 545, and explained in detail what that statement required in order for the loss to be recoverable.

Patrick Stevedores received a total of $ 364,725 for the cost of additional rail loop trucks.

Qube received a total of approximately $ 1.8 million relating to the costs of engaging subcontractors to transport containers that would otherwise have been transported by rail, by engaging truck drivers and entity trucks. tied to help clear the backlog of commercial containers, import and export detention costs, wages paid to railway staff when they could not be meaningfully employed, and lost revenue due to canceled services .

Qube’s claims for the loss of an important customer and the salaries paid to railway personnel when they could not be meaningfully employed were not accepted.

The union was also penalized $ 30,000, while Mr. McAleer and Mr. Keating were penalized $ 7,500 and $ 5,000 respectively.

Sources:

• Main judgment: Patrick Stevedores Holdings Pty Ltd v Union de la construction, de la forestry, de la marine, des mines et de l’énergie [2019] FCA 451, April 2, 2019.

• Compensation and sanctions: Patrick Stevedores Holdings Pty Ltd v Union de la construction, de la forestry, de la marine, des mines et de l’énergie (n ° 4) [2021] FCA 1481, November 29, 2021.


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