Patrick attempts to thwart High Court decision
By Melanie Sjoberg
ADELAIDE — With most Patrick wharves back in operation, the previously quiet docks in Adelaide were swarming with people who had responded to a call from the Maritime Union for a peaceful assembly at 7am on May 9.
The owner of a ship assigned to Patrick had announced that its loading had been sub-contracted to P & O, thereby preventing former Patrick employees, all MUA members, from returning to work.
MUA secretary Ric Newlyn, who attempted to negotiate with Patrick management, said the companies were breaching the High Court decision by not reinstating all former Patrick workers. He told the crowd of 100 protesters that the MUA had workers ready to start loading immediately. The MUA's position was supported by the United Trades and Labor Council.
When two trucks arrived with the metal to be loaded, the picket held its ground while Newlyn talked to the drivers. Cheers erupted as the drivers departed with fists raised. The companies decided not to push ahead with the loading and activists were asked to reassemble the following morning after further negotiations between Patrick and the MUA.
Patrick is considering closing its Adelaide site, which employs 40 MUA members.