Strike period warning for ports-focused businesses


PFM head highlights troubled time of year for government bodies

Strike period warning for ports-focused businesses
Peter McRae has strike disruption fears

 

This year’s pre-Christmas ‘striking period’ affecting port-exposed businesses has begun, with five cases already reported as recently as Thursday in Port Botany, according to Platinum Freight Management (PFM).

The customs clearance and freight forwarding specialist identifies high pressure scenarios for Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWAR) that could incite strikes from workers in these departments also.

"There is a significant risk to the free flow of goods through the ports from three fronts at this – the busiest time – of year," PFM CEO Peter McRae warns.

Historical data proves that December is consistently a strike period for port workers because, as McRae explains, "it is an effective time for strikes to occur when business has the most to lose."

He adds that it is "therefore acritical time for ports, ABF and DAWAR to renegotiate their terms for the increase of cargo activity entering and exiting ports."

Cargo passing through ports is on the rise, adding fuel to the fire.

In December 2016, 213,103 TEU of containers passed through Port Botany, up 23,640 on 2015.

It is anticipated that this year will be higher again.

In addition, the federal government’s July 2017 move to change to the tax-free threshold, albeit without implementation, has led to unprecedented scrutiny of the ABF and DAWR processes and systems.

"Departments are under extreme strain due to these pressures. It provides the perfect pressure situation that could give rise to additional strikes this year," McRae says.

"We are seeing the perfect conditions for strikes relating to future operational issues for the ABF and DAWAR.

 "If the ABF and DAWAR were to join port workers in Christmas strikes, the passage of cargo would be stopped dead and the fallout for Australian business would be enormous."

 

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