DP World Australia Makes Further Job Cuts

file photo courtesy of DPWA
file photo courtesy of DPWA

Published Jul 18, 2019 6:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

DP World Australia (DPWA) has announced that it will make 100 stevedores in Sydney and 100 stevedores in Melbourne redundant.

This is in addition to 47 stevedores already leaving DPWA in Melbourne this week through voluntary redundancies.

About 1,800 stevedores work for the company. The decision comes as a direct result of volume losses since September 2018, said the company. “DPWA has been postponing these crucial restructures since September 2018 to progress constructive Enterprise Agreement negotiations. In the absence of  significant negotiation progress over the past nine months, the company must push on and address the impact of volume losses,” said Andrew Adam, Chief Operating Officer.

 “We have been very patient, but further restructures of our workforce have become necessary. We have not taken the decision to downsize lightly,” said Adam.

Since the three-month intensive bargaining period with the CFMMEU began in April 2019, DPWA has reduced their claims from 29 to just five. “The CFMMEU commenced the three-month negotiation period in April with 59 claims and ended in June still having 53 claims, which have the potential to increase our costs by over $15 million per annum.

“The Union have repeatedly demonstrated a dogged unwillingness to make any concessions on their claims. We are always prepared to meet with the Union to negotiate, provided those meetings will be constructive,” said Adam.

Ongoing industrial action across DP World’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle Terminals continue to impact the entire supply chain, causing delays and adding costs for importers, exporters and shipping lines, he says. “Four vessels have been redirected to other stevedores in July to mitigate delays, and we estimate 40 vessels and up to 110,000 containers will be delayed,” said Adam.

Unprecedented consolidation of, and changes to global shipping line services calling Australia, combined with surplus stevedoring capacity are contributing to DPWA’s challenging outlook.

The Maritime Union of Australia, part of the CFMMEU, said the timing of the announcement - during protected industrial action at the company’s Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle container terminals - was a clear attempt to threaten workers into accepting cuts to their rights and conditions.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said DP World sacking workers and destroying families to achieve an industrial outcome was an extreme act that reflected the unfettered corporate power available to bosses in today’s society. “From day one DP World started with threats to our families. Management have refused to meet telling wharfies that they’ll get an agreement only if they withdraw their claims and accept the company’s claims, which result in less job security and worse conditions,” Smith said. “It started with threats to workers income protection insurance, now they are targeting wharfies jobs.”

The MUA slammed DP World for notifying media outlets of the cuts before contacting the affected workers. “This situation, where a massive multinational company is showing total contempt for Australian workers and their families, shows once again how broken our country’s workplace laws are. Threatening people’s jobs, their livelihoods, and their families well-being should never be considered an acceptable way to achieve an industrial outcome.”

The latest strike action follows a series of coordinated stoppages that shut DP World container terminals for between 48 and 96 hours last week, involving more than 1,800 stevedores in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle.