Monday, January 13, 2020

As Bushfires Burn So Dockworkers Across the Country at Container Terminal Walk Out in Protest

Slow Negotiations Prompt Industrial Action from Wharfies
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – It appears that, whilst dock workers in New South Wales press on in the effort to support those stricken by the horrendous bush fires sweeping the region, 4,000 kilometres to the west members of the same workers' grouping, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), have gone on strike in a dispute over working agreements.

From the night of Sunday January 12 around two hundred MUA registered wharfies at the DP World run container terminal in Fremantle walked out, accusing the company of failing to bargain in good faith, as negotiations for a new workplace agreement drag on for more than 15 months.

The union is threatening further action, rolling stoppages that will see every worker down tools for the final hour of each shift, along with a range of work bans. DP World Australia is the country’s largest stevedoring operation and the MUA says its members had been left with no choice but to take industrial action in a bid to finalise a new workplace agreement that addresses important issues around job security, and locks in workplace conditions such as parental leave and domestic violence leave.

MUA West Coast Branch Secretary Christy Cain said that the ongoing industrial action was intended to send a clear message that the dockers are willing to fight for a fair agreement that includes important job protections and workplace rights, continuing:

“Wharfies at DP World’s Fremantle terminal are simply fed up after attempting to negotiate a new workplace agreement for 15 months. What we’ve seen in that time is the senior management of the Dubai-based company issue ultimatums, threaten massive job cuts, and attempt to unilaterally strip away workplace rights, all in an effort to force workers to accept their demands.

“Dubai Ports needs to understand that Australian wharfies will not be bullied into handing over hard-won rights and conditions, and we are prepared to fight to ensure we receive our fair share of the productivity gains we have delivered on the waterfront.

”They are also showing their anger at DP World’s failure to bargain in good faith, and ensuring the company realises that they will absolutely not accept a situation where these negotiations continue to drag on for month after month with no resolution in sight. The MUA remains ready and willing to resolve this dispute and bring an end to this escalating industrial action, but that can’t occur until DP World management start to genuinely negotiate in good faith.”