Unions from across Victoria have joined the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) at a Melbourne rally today, urging the Abbott Government to back Australian workers and clearly dissociate themselves from the attack on penalty rates by container terminal operator Dubai Ports World.
About 300 workers rallied at the headquarters of Citibank, whose parent company Citigroup owns 75 per cent of Dubai Ports World Australia. The company operates container terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle.
The MUA has been bargaining for more than 11 months for a new national enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with a view to maximising permanency and job security in the face of automation.
A four hour meeting called by the MUA to report back to members today on the progress of EBA negotiations was met with a 16-hour lockout by Dubai Ports World management.
The first rally was organised in Sydney on December 15 as a response to Dubai Ports World’s reported intent to strip new workers of their penalty rates, thus creating two levels of workers in the one workplace.
Both parties have agreed to attend conciliation hearings at the Fair Work Commission in early January.