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Australia’s Fair Work Commission rules Svitzer cannot lock out staff

Australia’s Fair Work Commission has averted a ports shutdown, ordering Svitzer, the nation’s top towage operator, to scrap its planned lockout of tugboat workers tomorrow.

The commission said today that the lockout of maritime workers would cause significant damage to the Australian economy.

Svitzer, owned by AP Moller-Maersk, announced on Monday its intention to lock out almost 600 tugboat workers from 17 ports across the county, having gone through three years of tough negotiations with seagoing staff over new contracts, which had resulted in repeated strikes.

The commission will likely now proceed with a forced mediation between the company and the unions.

Yesterday Australia’s workplace relations minister Tony Burke described Svitzer’s lockout plans as “economic vandalism”.

The severe breakdown in relations between workers and the Danish towage operator has sparked many calls for this maritime sector to be nationalised.

Credit Splash 247 by Sam Chambers

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