Wharfies vote to launch rolling industrial action

| March 15, 2019

Workers at container terminals run by Australia’s largest stevedore have voted overwhelming in support of taking rolling industrial action, including strikes and indefinite work bans, with actions to commence from next Friday.

The strike vote follows a threat by DP World Australia management last month to strip workers of income protection insurance unless they accepted the company’s demands for a new workplace agreement covering pay and conditions.

The bans and strike action, which can now legally occur from next Friday, include bans on upgrades, bans on overtime and shift extensions, and a series of rolling work stoppages of between 1 and 24 hours.

Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin described the ballot result as an overwhelming rejection of management’s attempts to bully and intimidate the workforce.

“This ballot has sent an overwhelming message to management at DP World Australia: we will not be intimidated, we will not roll over and accept your unfair agreement, and we are willing to take every step possible to fight for a fair outcome,” Mr Crumlin said.

“Workers are determined to ensure they received a fair reward for delivering huge profits to the company.

“DP World Australia has seen these profits off the back of huge increases in workforce productivity and it’s time for the company to not only give something back but also change course on their attack on workers Income Protection.”

MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said the union had notified of the implementation of indefinite work bans, which will take effect from next Friday. If no resolution is reached, rolling strike action at all four major container terminals will commence in the coming weeks.

“This ballot has overwhelmingly endorsed wide-ranging industrial action. Workers are extremely angry at DPW for the attack on Income Protection and are prepared to use that action to achieve some justice,” Mr Smith said.

“Management attempted to use the wellbeing of workers and their families as a bargaining tool, and our members are determined to send the strongest message possible that we will never back down to corporate bullying and intimidation.

“Wharfies wages were restrained in the last round of negotiations and it led to huge profits for DP World. Yet instead of rewarding those efforts by sharing some of these profits, this global multi national has resorted to threats, and wharfies don’t like threats.”