Esso, AWU back in court Wednesday

THE Australian Workers’ Union and Esso will again meet in the Federal Court on Wednesday.

According to AWU Victorian branch secretary Ben Davis, Esso is seeking an injunction on industrial action at its Longford plants.

Last Tuesday the Federal Court made orders restraining the AWU from being directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in or party to industrial action.

AWU informed its members that all forms of industrial action were suspended until 4pm on March 25, and all delegates were not to organise or engage in any industrial action.

Mr Davis said Esso should be more focused on reaching a fair enterprise bargaining agreement for its workers than court cases.

Mr Davis said he believed they were not in breach of the section 418 order, issued by the Fair Work Commission, to stop or prevent unprotected industrial action.

“We think we’ve done everything right; we’re looking forward to our day in court to prove that,” he said.

“They’ll either get an injunction on industrial action or not.”

Mr Davis said the safety of workers should be the number one priority.

“It’s not about money; it’s about occupational health and safety and manning levels,” Mr Davis said.

“There’s 13 operators on site at any one time and they want to drop that to 12.

“We don’t think they can run a site properly with 12 people. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it is a big difference to safety.

“We want to reach an agreement that minimises the chance of accidents and ensure the site is as safe as possible.”

An Esso spokesman said the company was disappointed by the industrial action and was working with unions and staff to reach a timely and mutually beneficial agreement.