Striking back

MORE than 200 wharfies in Fremantle went on a 24-hour strike on Monday after negotiations over a new pay deal with DP World Australia hit a new low.

The Maritime Union of Australia has been negotiating a new workplace agreement with the Dubai-based company for 16 months, but WA branch secretary Chris Cain said there’d been so many delays his members were fed up.

Mr Cain said as well as the 24-hour stoppage, the wharfies would be downing the tools for the final hour of each shift, along with a range of other work bans.

He told the Herald that among other sticking points, the wharfies were furious that DP World wanted the right to alter their shift rosters at short notice.

“This would make it impossible for members to be able to organise outings or get-togethers with their families,” Mr Cain said.

“There is no reason to change the rosters; there’s nothing really in it for [DP World].”

Mr Cain believes a change in DP World’s management last year had added further delays to the negotiations.

He claimed delegates travelled over east for meetings, only for DP World representatives to turn up late or walk out of meetings that were supposed to last two days.

“What we’ve seen in that time is the senior management of the Dubai-based company issue ultimatums, threaten massive job cuts, and attempt to unilaterally strip away workplace rights, all in an effort to force workers to accept their demands.” But DP World’s chief operating officer Andrew Adam puts the blame on the MUA, saying it blocked an in-principle agreement it reached with employees in October last year.

“In addition to the withdrawal from the IPA, the union has presented new claims which are unacceptable to DPWA,” Mr Adam said.

“Without withdrawal of the new claims…it is not possible for DPWA to progress to a new agreement.”

Mr Cain said the wharfies were concerned about their job security and wanted that guaranteed in the agreement, along with parental leave and domestic violence leave.


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