By Nick Hartman
Up to 2,000 dock workers across the nation will go on strike on today, for up to three days, protesting lost conditions in their wage agreement, outsourcing of labour and to project cuts related to automation, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
300 workers in Brisbane downed tools on Monday, joined by 600 Melbourne workers who will go on strike for the rest of week starting today. Tomorrow it is expected that 600 workers in Sydney and hundreds more workers in Fremantle will join the strike, taking the total number up to around 1,800.
DP World Australia (DPWA) the affected company, says the industrial action would “[significantly] disruption” on customers and its supply chain.
The industrial action has been approved by the Fair Work Commission. The action follows the end of a three-month truce between DPWA and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
The MUA, who merged with the CFMEU to form the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union, say that DPWA wanted to cut jobs, work rights and other existing conditions.
“We will not roll over and accept an unfair agreement, we won’t accept unilateral attacks on workplace rights and conditions, and we won’t stand by while outsourcing and automation are used to axe quality jobs,” MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said.
“We are fully committed to reaching an agreement as quickly as possible, however we will not sell our conditions, compromise our core claims, or undermine industry standards to do it.”
DPWA said it was disappointed that the strike is taking place. According to the company, the union “continued 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.
“Unprecedented consolidation of, and changes to global shipping lines calling Australia, combined with surplus stevedoring capacity are contributing to DPWA’s challenging financial outlook.
“DPWA continues to maintain that it will make an enterprise agreement on terms that secure the business’ long-term, ongoing sustainability.”