Wharf workers at key ports around Australia are set to walk off the job from Thursday in a prolonged dispute over automation and outsourcing.
Hundreds of workers at stevedoring company DP World will again strike this week at Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle after ongoing industrial disputes.
“Rather than bargain, management have basically told workers to withdraw their claims entirely and accept the company’s offer or there will be no agreement,” Maritime Union of Australia assistant national secretary Warren Smith said.
“Most of the worker’s claims are not cost claims.
“They are about protecting our current conditions, which were hard won and fought for historically by a previous generation.
“It’s not up to us to undo the historical legacy of wharfies and we won’t.”
Well @DP_World_Aust is a company accredited by White Ribbon but refuse to put paid domestic and family violence leave in the EBA. This is one of the reasons why we are striking #ausunions pic.twitter.com/tR3HOS8pcK
— MUA (@MaritimeUnionAU) July 15, 2019
More than 600 Sydney workers will leave work on Thursday morning, while Brisbane wharfies will start a series of one-hour strikes at the start of every shift.
Fremantle workers will strike for 24 hours from Saturday.
It is the second time in a fortnight the wharfies have taken strike action.
The union claims it is fighting against the outsourcing of jobs, cuts to income protection insurance and any plans for automation that could cause job losses.
Last week the union said workers had imposed a range of indefinite work bans, including bans on upgrades, overtime and shift extensions.
“The industrial action follows the expiry of a three-month ceasefire agreement between DPW and the MUA, which saw the company press ahead with a savage agenda of job cuts and attacks on rights and conditions,” the MUA said.
In a statement released on July 8, DP World Australia (DPWA) called for an end to the disruptive action.
“DP World Australia are disappointed the CFMMEU (the union) has recently escalated their industrial action across its terminals, particularly at a time when shipping lines are reviewing stevedore contracts,” DPWA chief operating officer Andrew Adam said.
“The industrial action will cause significant disruption to DPWA customers and, importantly, the broader supply chain of shippers, exporters and importers. DPWA employees will also be unnecessarily and avoidably impacted by these lost earnings.”
Mr Adam said the union did not make any material concessions to its initial 50 claims during the recent 12-week bargaining period.
The claims included a wage increase well above CPI “without any willingness to support the needs of DPWA”.
Mr Adam said the union continue to demonstrate an alarming refusal to acknowledge the commercial reality of the intense competition from automated competitors.
“The company has put forward its position and the union must now make appropriate concessions to their extensive list of claims,” Mr Adam said.