Fremantle wharfies to join strike around Australia

Fremantle Harbour. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Fremantle Harbour. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

WHARFIES at key ports around Australia are set to walk off the job in a dispute over automation and outsourcing.

Hundreds of workers at stevedoring company DP World will again strike this week at Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle after ongoing industrial disputes.

More than 600 Sydney workers will leave work on Thursday morning while Brisbane wharfies will start a series of one hour strikes at the start of every shift.

At Fremantle workers will strike for 24 hours from Saturday.

“Rather than bargain, management have basically told workers to withdraw their claims entirely and accept the company’s offer or there will be no agreement,” Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary Wayne Smith said.

“Most of the worker’s claims are not cost claims, they are about protecting our current conditions which were hard won and fought for historically by a previous generation. It’s not up to us to undo the historical legacy of wharfies and we won’t.”

It is the second time in a fortnight the wharfies have taken strike action.

Last week about 230 wharfies at Fremantle’s container terminal took part in a two-day strike, joining industrial action already underway in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The union claims it is fighting the outsourcing of jobs, cuts to income protection insurance and plans for automation which could cause job losses.

But DP World says the union has refused to budge in negotiations and needs to acknowledge the company’s commercial reality amid increased competition from automated competitors.