Australia’s Wharfies Reveal Further Strikes at DP World Terminals

Wharfies at DP World’s container terminals in Australia have decided to escalate their industrial action campaign, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

As part of their move to protect jobs from outsourcing and automation, more than 600 Sydney workers will walk off the job for 48 hours from the morning hours of July 18, while 350 Brisbane wharfies will commence a series of one hour strikes at the start of every shift. In Fremantle, work will stop for 24 hours from the morning of July 20.

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 1800 wharfies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle.

MUA said that workers at all four terminals are also maintaining a range of indefinite work bans, including bans on upgrades, overtime, and shift extensions.

Union members are taking industrial action in an effort to finalize a workplace agreement that would protect them against outsourcing, automation, cuts to conditions such as income protection and in support of domestic violence provisions in the new agreement.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said DP World is refusing to meet to negotiate a resolution.

DP World Australia (DPWA) earlier called for an end to industrial action across its terminals. The company said that it is “disappointed” that the Australian Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) escalated their industrial action across a number of terminals, particularly at a time when shipping lines are reviewing stevedore contracts.

“The industrial action will cause significant disruption to DPWA customers and importantly the broader supply chain of shippers, exporters and importers. DPWA employees will also be unnecessarily and avoidably impacted by these lost earnings,” Andrew Adam, Chief Operating Officer at DPWA, said.