Sydney, Brisbane Dockers to Strike over New Workplace Deal

Workers employed by Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane are planning to start a series of work stoppages as of January 17, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

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A protected action ballot of Hutchison Ports workers from Port Botany and the Port of Brisbane, conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, recorded 98.4 percent support for a number of strikes, along with a range of other actions. The first round of industrial action, involving bans and limitations, is scheduled to start on Thursday, the MUA said.

The workers opted for the move after negotiations over a new workplace agreement covering Hutchison Ports workers in Sydney and Brisbane reached a stalemate.

The MUA explained that the company’s demands include a 2.5 percent cut to superannuation, reductions to sick and parental leave, cuts to redundancy and long service leave, removal of income protection, wage cuts of up to AUD 10 per hour followed by a wage freeze, and reductions to safety standards, including the loss of full-time first-aiders and removal of personal protective equipment.

“If Hutchison gets its way, waterfront workers would be left 26 per cent worse off in retirement based on the company’s planned cuts to their superannuation entitlements, while redundancy payments would be halved for the average worker, as would long service leave,” Warren Smith, MUA Assistant National Secretary, said.