Two hundred wharfies at DP World’s 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 drag on for more than 15 months.
The strike, which commenced on late January 12, will be followed by a range of further actions including rolling stoppages that will see every worker down tools for the final hour of each shift, along with a range of work bans, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
MUA explained that 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.
“Wharfies at DP World’s Fremantle terminal are simply fed up after attempting to negotiate a new workplace agreement for 15 months,” Christy Cain, MUA West Coast Branch Secretary, said.
“By stopping work for 24 hours, then imposing ongoing stoppages and bans in the days and weeks ahead, Fremantle wharfies are sending a clear message that they are willing to fight for a fair agreement that includes important job protections and workplace rights.”
“They are also showing their anger at DP World’s failure to bargain in good faith, and ensuring the company realises that they will absolutely not accept a situation where these negotiations continue to drag on for month after month with no resolution in sight,” Cain added.
Several months ago, maritime and transport unions from dozens of nations expressed their support for Australian wharfies amid an escalation of disputes with port operator DP World.
The support came on the back of a series of strikes organized by wharfies fighting job losses, outsourcing, automation and threats to conditions at container terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle.