Wharfies Stage Snap Strike at Fremantle

Credit: MUA
Credit: MUA

Published Jan 13, 2020 4:55 AM by The Maritime Executive

Two hundred wharfies at the Dubai Ports container terminal in Fremantle, Australia, have stopped work for 24 hours, accusing the company of failing to bargain in good faith as negotiations for a new workplace agreement have been underway for over 15 months.

The strike, which commenced on Sunday night, will be followed by further action including rolling stoppages that will see workers down tools for the final hour of each shift, along with a range of work bans.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said workers at DP World Australia, the country’s largest stevedore, had been left with no choice but to take industrial action in a bid to finalize a new workplace agreement that addresses important issues around job security and locks in workplace conditions such as parental leave and domestic violence leave.

MUA West Coast Branch Secretary Christy Cain said: “Dubai Ports needs to understand that Australian wharfies will not be bullied into handing over hard-won rights and conditions, and we are prepared to fight to ensure we receive our fair share of the productivity gains we have delivered on the waterfront.”

Cain says the MUA remains ready and willing to resolve the dispute.

The action follows strikes staged in July last year at Fremantle, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane after the company confirmed the loss of around 250 jobs Australia-wide. At the time, chief operating officer Andrew Adam said the company had no choice as it had lost market share. "With the current position of the union, there is not a prospect of an agreement, so we have to continue to manage the business in light of those cost items."