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Ports Australia calls for government intervention as DP World refuses partial work bans

Ports Australia is asking the government to get involved in the ongoing industrial dispute after DP World cracked down on employees around Australia

The leading ports body in Australia has called on the federal government to intervene the ongoing industrial dispute between DP World Australia and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) as DP World refuses to adopt partial work bans.

Yesterday, DP World Australia notified employees that, from January 12, it won’t be accepting the adoption of partial work bans at its Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney terminals that result from protected industrial action led by the MUA.

DP World says the decision comes after a “continued breakdown of efforts to negotiate with the MUA, including through the Fair Work Commission”, and says its latest attempt to reach an agreement was abandoned by the MUA in December.

Since the industrial action began last October, DP World says the MUA has encouraged members to participate in stoppages and work bans, including through refusals to work on ships for eight hours after berthing and daily work stoppages of various durations.

DP World says the dispute is causing significant disruptions to Australia’s supply chain network, saying earlier this week that the action is costing Australian industries $84 million per week.

“DP World has made the decision to adopt this stance as a last resort, and as a result from 12 January onwards, employees who choose to engage in partial work bans at DP World’s Australian terminals will not receive payment until they return to normal duties,” DP World says.

“DP World remains committed to seeking a resolution with the MUA and wants to mitigate further economic damage in addition to stabilising operations at Australia’s major ports. DP World is urging the MUA to return to the negotiating table in good faith for the benefit of all parties involved.”

DP World also reassured consumers that it’s prioritising critical supplies, including vessels with perishable foods, medical supplies and humanitarian aid.

Responding to this ongoing saga, Ports Australia has called on the federal government to intervene following months of dispute between DP World and the MUA.

“This dispute is escalating at a time when there is ongoing fragility in the economy; businesses and farmers are doing their best to keep the doors open in the face of import and export delays,” Ports Australia CEO Mike Gallacher says.

“The Australian federal government needs to intervene and bring everyone to the table to resolve this ongoing dispute in a timely and efficient manner for the continued prosperity of Australian businesses and communities.”

Gallacher says it’s clear the matter won’t be resolved in a timely manner, with the potential still there for further escalation.

Ports Australia wants the best outcome for both parties and a resumption of regular operations at DP World terminals, as all ports around Australia are open and continue to operate.

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