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Intermittent dock strikes over automation plague Oz waterfronts

INTERMITTENT dock strikes against DP World Australia's container terminal at Port Botany, Sydney, have been organised by the Maritime Union of Australia

Intermittent dock strikes over automation plague Oz waterfronts

INTERMITTENT dock strikes against DP World Australia's container terminal at Port Botany, Sydney, have been organised by the Maritime Union of Australia

19 July 2019 - 19:00

INTERMITTENT dock strikes against DP World Australia's container terminal at Port Botany, Sydney, have been organised by the Maritime Union of Australia.

New strikes follow from a series of strikes around Australia last week including a four day strike in Melbourne, reports New York's FreightWaves.



The new strike started at 6am on Thursday July 18 and will last for 48 hours. That means that the last time zone at the DP World Australia Terminal, Port Botany, will be 5am on the same day and the gates will close at 6pm and resume at 6am two days later.



Thursday's 48 hour strike at Port Botany is not the only strike. They are accompanied by other similar strikes.



The cause of the conflict is rooted in Australian employment law. Australian workers have the right to negotiate with their employer to create a company-wide type of collective employment contract called an 'Enterprise Bargaining Agreement'.



Each EBA lasts for three years. Work can continue even when an EBA is expired and the workers continue to work under the existing, though expired, conditions. Workers are then given back pay when the new EBA is agreed.



The last DP World Australia EBA ran out in February 2019 but the company and the workers' representative, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), have been negotiating for a new EBA from September 2018.



Workers are allowed to go slow or be disruptive to pressure employers. Today's dispute centres on automation and the removal of income protection insurance.



Said MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith: 'We want job saving protections and commitments from the company in the advent they decide to automate. If they aren't automating then we want DP World to commit to that for the life of the agreement. We reject our traditional work being outsourced. It is a union-busting exercise and we are prepared to fight it. Our jobs are not for sale to the lowest bidder.'


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