Tugboat workers at Port Hedland have voted in favour of the option of staging 24 hour, 28 hour and seven-day strikes in support of their demands for improved work conditions.
The strikes are not certain, but the permission gained this week is only valid for only 30 days.
The threat of strikes on the Port Hedland tugboats is not confined to the deckhands, with two other classes of tugboat workers -engineers and masters - also inching towards strike action.
Unions in Australia must give three days' notice before they undertake any strike action. So far, this notice has not been served.