DP World calls for end to industrial action in Sydney

Scurrah says the ongoing stoppages are causing scheduling mayhem at Port Botany

DP World calls for end to industrial action in Sydney
Scurrah is calling for an end to industrial action.


DP World Australia is urging union members to call off the scheduled 24-hour stoppage on November 8 at Sydney's Port Botany.

The stevedore is calling for an end to a cycle of industrial action that has led to four 24-hour stoppages in Sydney since September, including one yesterday.

The proposed strike is related to ongoing negotiations over a replacement enterprise agreement for the Sydney workforce and involves the Port Authority of New South Wales, the Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

The parties are yet to come to terms on a revised enterprise agreement since beginning negotiations in February.

DP World Australia CEO Paul Scurrah says the ongoing stoppages are causing "mayhem" to operations in Sydney, with "serious flow-on impacts around the coast of Australia".

"Port Botany is working overtime during the critical pre-Christmas peak season," Scurrah says.

"These efforts are being seriously hampered by the ongoing industrial unrest.

"We urge all parties to get back to the negotiating table to work out a solution, to stop the ongoing disruption to port services across Australia."

NSW Port Authority, which has been negotiating with AMOU and MUA, says the talks continue to remain difficult as the unions are holding on to their demands.

The unions are seeking employment guarantee for the Sydney workforce, something the Port Authority says it is "unable to provide".

The proposed strike will suspend the use of the pilot vessels used to embark and disembark Pilots in Port Botany and Port Jackson.

The MUA states the following functions will remain exempt from any industrial action:

  • watch keeping at sea                                        
  • fire rounds
  • port security watches
  • safety drills
  • product tanker and crude oil tanker vessels
  • passenger cruise vessels
  • all dealings with emergency equipment in any manner
  • any and all safety and emergency related issues.

"Please be advised that this industrial action does not exempt perishables and therefore the movement of container vessels scheduled during this period will be affected," NSW Port Authority COO and Sydney harbour master Philip Holliday noted in a statement yesterday.

"Emergency response, Vessel Traffic Services and other Port Officer functions (other than pilot cutter movements) will be required to continue as normal during this period of industrial action."

Holliday says the Port Authority will continue its efforts to come to an agreement with the employees.

ATN has sought a comment from the unions in the matter.

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