Waterfront Dispute 1998 Outline the key stakeholders, origins, issues involved, the effects and impacts of the dispute and the resolutions of the dispute.

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WATERFRONT DISPUTE 1998 _"The most bitterly fought domestic issue of my whole time as prime minister was waterfront reform in 1998." - John Howard._ SUMMARY On the night of April 7, 1998, the Patrick Stevedoring initiated its 'anti-union ' strategy whereby it sacked all 1400 permanent workers and 330 part-time workers, liquidated its stocks and locked out many of its docks. The bitter tension between the wharfies and security guards at the lockout were echoed through the disputes between Patrick Stevedoring, the coalition (liberal) government and the ACTU and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The conflict arose from the two main issues of workforce productivity on the wharves and the role of unionism, particularly on the wharves. …show more content…

Initially, the case went before the Federal Court, with the Justice North finding it in favour of the MUA, yet the liberal government (who supported Patricks) appealed to the High Court of Australia. The case was similarly heard before the judges yet they found it once again in the favour of MUA, stating that the company had intentionally restructured its corporation with purpose to dismiss the unionised workforce. During the legal dispute, pickets were set up across the ports as a form of industrial action from the sacked workers in an attempt to hinder the movement of port traffic and slow down waterside productivity. Yet these were promptly removed through court injunctions. In short, the use of the mechanism of corporate restructure, in the case of Patricks, allowed them both to evade paying employee entitlements and dismissing almost its entire unionised workforce. The Waterfront Dispute was heavily debated by all parties on 60 Minutes and all the issues of unionism on the waterside and productivity were discussed. This prompted debate on whether other employers could use such tactics to their advantage. EFFECTS/IMPACTS OF THE WATERFRONT DISPUTE The dispute took very expensive consequences which affected both large and small businesses as industrial action via courts and picketing on the docks hindered waterfront productivity. The legal case was costly for the Patricks Stevedoring as they

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