Hutchison workers push for settlement

Port Botany. Photo: Mich-Elle Myers

Workers at the Hutchison Ports community assembly at Port Botany, Sydney, are holding strong and are keen to settle the long-running dispute with management.

The dispute began on August 6 following the sacking of 97 waterside workers by Hutchison at their Port Botany and Brisbane terminals.

Since them, the community assembly has held strong for nine weeks as talks continue between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and management.

Hutchison and the MUA are currently in talks in Fair Work Australia over a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). The company has agreed to continue paying the sacked workers, at least until November 16.

Ryan, one of the laid-off workers, told Green Left Weekly on October 16: "We want an outcome as soon as possible, so we know where we stand. Personally, I want to go back to work soon.

"The general feeling of the workers here is still strong. The workers who are still inside are supportive of us, and want us to come back.

"The company's actions in this dispute are ridiculous. For example, there are shortages of labour in the maintenance area now, while skilled workers are sitting outside.

"Generally, morale is positive in the community assembly. We are still getting strong support from our union and others, as well as the public.

"The MUA National Council came down here in solidarity this week. Workers from neighbouring DP World and Patricks terminals are still coming over in support", Ryan said.

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