Hundreds of rowdy unionists have blockaded Melbourne’s port in an ongoing dispute threatening the delivery of goods ahead of Christmas.
Union members were bussed in from across Melbourne to march on the Victorian International Container Terminal, despite a Supreme Court ordering the Maritime Union of Australia to cease picketing.
“You ought to be congratulated for defying these f***ers,” controversial CFMEU leader John Setka told the crowd.
“We will continue to win … they’re f***ing rats.”
The stoush has been going for two weeks, after a MUA member was denied security clearance to work at the dock because of a criminal conviction.
Deputy secretary of the MUA Will Tracey said the casual worker in question had previously held a permit to work in high-security areas at the port despite the 20-year-old criminal conviction.
The union isn’t calling for his return to work, but don’t want him sacked.
“We just want to clear it up and we don’t want him to work casual shifts, all we want is to have his termination letter removed,” Mr Tracey said.
Well-known Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire also spoke to support and rev up the picketers.
The terminal says the action threatens more than $100 million worth of business, with one ship instead sent to Adelaide and others are being diverted to alternative Victorian ports.
There are also more than 1000 shipping containers waiting for import and export, including $45,000 worth of pears, seafood, medication and milk for China, stuck at the picketed facility.
The company says it is monitoring CCTV to see if the action breaches the Supreme Court order and is considering its legal options.