INDUSTRIAL action commenced at Darwin Port on Friday morning with a series of strikes and indefinite work bans.

The dispute between three workers’ unions and port management began last month, driven by the threat of protected industrial action.

The Maritime Union of Australia, the Maritime Officers Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union had accused Darwin Port of seeking to cut its workers’ pay, an allegation rejected by port management.

The dispute is currently going through fair work proceedings, with a Fair Work Commission conciliation conference scheduled for 29 August.

AMOU Northern Territory organiser Tracey Ellis confirmed to DCN protected action has commenced as planned.

“The unions have reached out to the company and asked to meet to try and resolve the issues but the company refuse to meet unless it is in front of the commission,” Ms Ellis said.

A notice of protected industrial action, posted by the MUA last week, said Darwin Port workers would stop work for one hour from 1300 each day for seven days, beginning on Friday 19 August.

A list of indefinite work bans also came into force at 0600 on Friday, under which participating workers would not perform non-rostered overtime work, transfer from primary positions, work during breaks or take work-related phone calls outside rostered hours.

The bans also limit pilot vessel operations to 10 knots, and the use of workers’ dominant hand when using tools, including computers, when safe to do so.