Hutchison clears decks with 100 redundant

The struggling third stevedore in Sydney and Brisbane ditches almost half of its workforce

Hutchison clears decks with 100 redundant
Hutchison Ports has let go 100 of its 224 staff


Hutchison Ports Australia has made close to half of its workforce redundant, sparking a new industrial relations war on the waterfronts of Sydney and Brisbane.

One hundred staff from a workforce of 224 were given notice via email and text message at close to midnight last night. They have been locked out of their workplaces.

The Maritime Union of Australia says it is today conducting a "community assembly" outside the Hutchison terminal at Port of Botany in response.

Deputy secretary of the union’s Sydney branch Paul Keating says Hutchison announced significant changes were required in a memorandum three weeks ago. But the union was still surprised by the scale of today’s redundancies, with Keating noting that the company made no effort to consult with the union during that window.

"At no time has Hutchison been prepared to comply with the enterprise agreement," he says. "They chose not to sit down and seek a solution that mitigated job losses."

Earlier this week, the union made an application with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for it to step into the dispute. A date has not yet been set.

Keating says Hutchison Ports made a separate Section 418 order with the FWC today, hoping to have the "community assembly" declared as unprotected industrial action. He is adamant that the protest is in no way a "picket" of Hutchison’s Sydney terminal.

Regardless of the FWC’s decisions, the dispute is likely to rage on.

Keating describes the company’s actions as an "act of bastardry".

"This is the most disgraceful attack on waterfront workers since the lockout of the Patrick workforce in 1998."

A spokesperson for Hutchison Ports Australia did not return calls from ATN today.

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