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A strike that threatened to disrupt operations at Fremantle Port and the Kwinana bulk terminal for up to eight days has ended after hours of negotiations between the maritime union and the State Government.

More than 100 wharfies and maintenance staff went on strike at 5.30am yesterday in a move that was expected to disrupt the supply of retail goods ahead of Christmas.

The action followed a break down of negotiations between the Maritime Union of Australia's WA branch and Fremantle Ports over a new employment deal.

While the union pushed to secure job guarantees for the next four years, the State Government claimed such a move would reduce the port's ability to operate.

Fair Work Australia called an emergency hearing between the two sides yesterday after workers picketed the entrance to the port's tug boat and pilot boat operations.

MUA assistant secretary Will Tracey said the union was now satisfied with the comments made by the government in regards to a "no privatisation commitment".

He said employees agreed to return to work after the government agreed future disputes over privatisation would go straight to arbitration.

"We got forced arbitration and that was one of the key outcomes we were saying needed to be achieved if we were to take the action off," Mr Tracey said.

"We were able to reach that last night at the 11th hour at 10pm in agreement with the port.

"We certainly didn't get everything we wanted and they didn't get everything they wanted but the compromised outcome we reached certainly does afford our membership the level of security we need."