Talks are continuing in the Fair Work Commission between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Hutchison Ports over the sacking of 97 waterside workers on August 6. Meanwhile, community assemblies are being maintained outside the gates of Hutchison terminals at Port Botany and the Port of Brisbane.
The company has said it is seeking a new enterprise agreement with the union, and has agreed to pay wages to the sacked workers until at least mid-November.
Kerry, a seafarer and staunch MUA activist, told Green Left Weekly: "The community assemblies are holding strong. We're continuing the good fight, and are hopeful of a positive outcome in the end."
Paul, a sacked Hutchison worker at the Port Botany assembly, told Green Left Weekly on October 9 that the move for a new agreement was a "positive development in that it may provide some certainty for the Hutchison workers”.
He said: "A new agreement may involve voluntary redundancies, but the union is calling for no forced redundancies.
"A problem for the company is that the Hutchison EBA includes a 30-hour work-week, a better condition than at both other terminals, Patricks and DP World."
Reports in the mainstream media suggest Hutchison is negotiating with other companies for a possible merger or buy-out, to rationalise its business operations in Australia.
Meanwhile, the community assemblies in Sydney and Brisbane are continuing, and acting as gatherings of solidarity for the Hutchison workers and their supporters.
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