Australia : Coles wins injunction against workers picketing outside distribution centre in Melbourne
Coles has won a temporary Supreme Court junction ordering workers on strike to stop picketing outside a distribution centre in Melbourne and targeting company trucks.
The supermarket giant sought urgent legal action after about 650 staff walked off the job indefinitely as they demanded more pay and better job security.
Trucks have been prevented from entering or leaving a cold storage facility at Truganina, while other vehicles have also been targeted by picketers at nearby Derrimut and Laverton North.
It is part of an industrial campaign by the National Union of Workers (NUW) against the company Polar Fresh, which operates the Truganina facility on behalf of Coles.
The centres store cold items for stores in Victoria and Tasmania, including dairy, meats and poultry.
Justice Michael McDonald issued the temporary injunction to prevent the picketing at all three sites, with the case to return to court on Monday.
The injunction was sought by lawyers for Coles and Polar Fresh, but the NUW was not represented in court for the hearing.
Barrister Paul O'Grady for Coles said perishable foods such as dairy, meat, poultry and seafood was a risk of going off.
"This is a specific targeting of Coles trucks," he said.
"One can infer that it is to apply pressure to Polar Fresh through Coles."
Fair work hearing to resume next week
The court heard the industrial action at Truganina was approved by the Fair Work Commission.
Mr O'Grady said Coles had planned to use the two other facilities, operated by Scott's Refrigerated Freightways and Costa Logistics, to maintain its supply chain during the strike.
He said Coles trucks were being stopped at the other sites with "truck drivers' details being checked as to whether they are Coles related".
The broader industrial dispute will return to the Fair Work Commission on Thursday.
Picket 'placing millions of dollars of produce at risk'
Coles said the NWU had engaged in "unlawful conduct" by picketing the sites.
"This is placing millions of dollars of fresh food grown and produced by Victorian farmers at risk of rotting and spoilage," the company said
"Unlawful picketing of the contingency sites unrelated to the Polar Fresh dispute threatens to disrupt the distribution of fresh food for customers in Victoria and will harm other businesses unrelated to the negotiations."
Curtly Tuala from the NUW earlier said employees wanted greater job security.
"We want a zero-casual site. We want a sense of security for the workers," he said.
"They deserve a sense of security because we know what it would enable the workers to do, looking after a family and your kids and providing for them."
First posted July 27, 2016 18:54:29