As informed, the latest action on behalf of the giant
stevedoring company, which employs over 1,800 workers, has seen wharfies
employed at DP World in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle stripped of
The union said the move was an “unlawful and aggressive
attack on workers’ rights” leaving workers unable to fulfill family
The decision has been described as an attempt of
intimidating workers to accept the terms of a new workplace agreement that is
being negotiated at the moment between the union and DP World.
Negotiations have been ongoing for more than 15 months. The
previous agreement expired 12 months ago and it is hard to predict when a new
agreement might be reached having given the recent escalation of the dispute.
“During this period of negotiation DP World had sought to
intimidate workers using workers’ family and social benefits such as Income
Protection, we’ve seen dockings, actual sackings, threats of mass sackings,
leave cancelled, attacks on democratic rights, and cancellation of Christmas
bonuses,” MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said.
“Rather than backing down, workers will be responding to
this latest attack with a fresh round of industrial action, including strikes,
rolling stoppages during each shift, and the imposition of a range of work
The latest call to industrial action follows a series of
coordinated stoppages that shut DP World container terminals for between 48 and
96 hours in 2019, involving more than 1800 wharfies in Melbourne, Sydney,
Brisbane, and Fremantle.
As explained, MUA members want to finalize a new workplace
agreement but need assurances that their jobs would be secure and vital
workplace conditions would be maintained. Wharfies want their jobs to protected
against outsourcing, automation, cuts to conditions such as income protection
and in support of domestic violence provisions in the new agreement.
Commenting on the matter, DP World Australia said that “only
eight employees in key specialist roles in Sydney and Fremantle have been
required to return to work from annual leave.”
The decision was ascribed to the company’s intention to
ensure safe and efficient operation.
“We absolutely understand the potential disruption and
inconvenience for the eight employees we have asked to return from leave early.
We have worked hard to avoid this circumstance, as we have a critical service
to provide to our customers and Australia’s exporters and importers and need
coverage in these specialist roles to operate our terminals. DP World Australia
believes the MUA’s misleading media statement is part of a deliberate campaign
to distract attention from the union’s mismanagement of enterprise bargaining
at our terminals around Australia.”
Last October, the MUA and DP World reached an in-principle
agreement on new enterprise agreements. DP World Australia said the union
backed out, lodged fresh claims and reinitiated industrial action.
“To date, we estimate employees have unnecessarily lost
around AUD 6,000 each because the union appears to prefer grandstanding to
productive bargaining. We urge the MUA to cease industrial action and focus on
bargaining so we can finalize new enterprise agreements and provide certainty
tor our workforce and customers as soon as possible,” the company added.