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Coles blockade continues despite Victorian court order
19/07/2012 - A blockade at a Coles warehouse is continuing — despite a court order preventing striking union members from denying trucks access to the Melbourne site.
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A Victorian judge has extended an order preventing the National Union of Workers (NUW) and 25 individuals from blocking access to the Somerton warehouse for a further seven days.
NUW members have been stopping trucks from entering or leaving the warehouse, which is managed by the Toll Group, for the past eight days as part of a pay dispute.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Anne Ferguson granted an interim order on Monday prohibiting the NUW and 25 people, including union officials and workers, from blocking trucks at the warehouse.
On Wednesday she extended the order for seven days.
Toll Group barrister Stuart Wood SC said it appeared one of the people named in the order was in contempt.
"The picket is still continuing, it has actually intensified," he told the court.
"There is a physical barrier across the entrance.
"There is evidence of some of the defendants still being involved."
Toll Group says the warehouse management and staff attempted to enter the site on Wednesday morning, but police warned it was not safe to proceed.
"Toll will not be taking any action at the union's blockade that endangers safety," Toll Group general manager of corporate affairs Andrew Ethell said in a statement.
He accused the union of claiming it had no control over the blockade despite telling the company they could arrange for some Toll people to access the site.
"The people blocking vehicles from entering the site are acting illegally, regardless of whether they have been named as part of a Supreme Court order or not," he said.
NUW state secretary Tim Kennedy said the union was complying with the court order and was focused on continuing negotiations with the company.
He said he could not comment on any blockade as he had not been at the site since Sunday.
Justice Ferguson ordered that a message be posted again on the union's Facebook and Twitter accounts stating "trucks and people must not be prevented from entering or leaving the Toll site".
The matter will return to court next Wednesday.
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