War of the Wharves

DP World Ftle

Job losses at Fremantle Port and the threat of further industrial disruption have escalated the protracted stand-off between the Maritime Union of Australia and the operator of the country's biggest container terminals.

DP World Australia yesterday confirmed that it had retrenched 12 of its 200 workers at North Quay in what the MUA described as "a highly intimidatory" move.

The union will today seek to block the job losses via a bargaining order sought from the Fair Work Commission in Sydney. 

News of the retrenchments came as DP World flagged its own application to the FWC. The company has submitted its eighth and "final" pay offer to the union and is vowing to seek the intervention of the commission unless it is accepted by today.

The groups have been at loggerheads over a national enterprise agreement for nearly a year.

DP World said yesterday it had exhausted its options and saw "little hope of any further progress" in the negotiations. The company cited a round of stoppages planned by the MUA this week in support of its claims. It said the action, which will affect three of DP World's terminals to varying degrees, included a proposed four-hour stoppage at North Quay on Friday.

The MUA countered that DP World had not negotiated in good faith and suggested the redundancies were an attempt to bully the workforce into submission. "Sacking workers at Christmas, while at the height of EBA negotiations, is a highly intimidatory move," it said.

The company said the job losses were unavoidable given the tougher trading environment.

 

Source: The West Australian | Sean Smith

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