The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said it would take protected action against terminal operator Dubai Ports World.
The MUA plans to begin light protected industrial action at DP World terminals in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle on Thursday.
The decision has been triggered, as explained by MUA, by the company’s “ongoing refusal to negotiate in good faith on a new enterprise bargaining agreement.”
Namely, senior managers across the company intend to seek arbitration at Fair Work Commission rather than bargain with the union.
The MUA has been bargaining for more than ten months for a new EBA, with a view to maximising permanency and job security.
The union said that the industrial action is being taken due to the company’s insistence on taking away of penalty rates, increasing hours of work and their failure to adequately re-shape the workforce with the introduction of automation.
“This comes on top of DP World’s decision to force redundancies for 12 full time workers at its Fremantle cargo operations removing permanent and stable full time jobs. This will reduce the full time rostered permanents to 40 out of 200 and is set to take effect on 31st December,” the union added.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said that the dispute isn’t about money but about hours of work, job security, and automation of the waterfront “with no fair redundancy provisions in place when hundreds of workers will get the sack.”
“We understand the inevitability of automated technology but that does not mean loyal workers should be randomly thrown on the scrapheap in an exercise of excising delegates and union activists from the workplace while managers steal their jobs. Nor does it mean the workers who are left should not benefit from the massive productivity gains that automation delivers,” Smith said.
“The proposals we have put to the company around automation deal with the manner in which automation is negotiated and introduced. Our main demands around automation are job-saving reductions in hours of work; and job security,” he added.
The union is also seeking transparency about automation plans in the future and “dignified arrangements for those that will have to exit the industry and fairness in the approach to that process.”
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