Wharfies take their fight to DP World

MUA members and supporters outside DP World's offices in Sydney. Photo: Natalie Wasley/Facebook

About 100 waterside workers and supporters rallied outside the offices of global container terminal operator DP World (DPW), in Martin Place on July 30. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is currently in a dispute with DPW, which has threatened to sack 200 workers and replace them with casuals.

MUA Sydney branch deputy secretary Paul Keating told the crowd that despite being one of the five biggest stevedoring companies in the world, “DPW currently pays no tax to the Australian government.

“DPW workers are merely asking for DPW to come back to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith. DPW workers around the country are on strike to defend their right to work and basic conditions.”

Keating said: “Our members are being victimised for standing up for their rights.

“Be assured, we are going to be here, week in, week out, until DPW workers get their jobs and conditions back. We will build solidarity across the country, and around the world, with these workers.”

The MUA outlined some of the key issues in a statement it handed out on the day.

It said: “There is no basis for DP World to move to 200 compulsory redundancies ... It is an attempt to deregulate the workplace further, so that rostered permanents are minimised and irregular workers are maximised, an attack on our right to work, our basic rights, our conditions and our quality of life.”

It also noted that “the company wants to outsource Cargo Care operations nationally ... We reject our traditional work being outsourced.

“The outsourced work regularly goes to non-union companies, with reduced rates of pay, and reductions in safety, evidenced recently by the outsourcing of a wire rope change. It is a union busting exercise and we are determined to fight it…”

“The CEO of DP World Australia threatened wharfies with automation in the [Australian Financial Review]. We are opposed to automation and will fight against it when it is not in the interests of our members, families and communities.

The statement criticised DPW for “using dishonest back door methods to achieve claims they cannot bargain or negotiate into the agreement.

“Using the commission [Fair Work Commission], courts and back door change methods is not a process of good faith bargaining.

“DP World should drop all their dishonest notifications of change and bargain around the issues with workers and their union."

The statement also pointed out DPW’s hypocrisy: “This global giant has operated over the last 20 years with an enormous profit margin of close to 50%.

“The average profit margin for Australian stevedores over the last 10 years sits at an amazingly profitable 17.98%, which would put them in the top 20 global corporations for profit raking.

“The incredible profits over such a long period of time demonstrate productivity improvements by workers that have gone unrewarded.”

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.