DP World port strike: MUA members stop working over pay, safety dispute,

A port operator is calling on the federal government to intervene in a union dispute over claims they are encouraging employees not to work, with major implications for the national supply chain.

DP World Australia is currently in dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia over new claims their employees have been encouraged by the union to not work across the nation’s port terminals.

They claim the work stoppage is costing the nation $34 million a day in lost productivity and will cause further delays on essential items, which have already been delayed by up to eight weeks.

They say there are 48,000 containers backlogged across the nation’s ports.

The industrial action has escalated to the point where employees have stopped work at the operators Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle terminals and there is “limited work” at its Melbourne terminals.

DP World said it has “highly disrupted” their operations and as of Friday, the company has refused to pay the workers for their shifts until they return to normal duties.

NSW senator Tony Sheldon has come to the defence of the union workers saying they have been “trying to negotiate in good faith” for ten months.

“Dubai Ports already pays less than other port operators, and now wants to reduce Aussie wharfies pay by 32 per cent and erode safety measures,” Mr Sheldon said in a post to Facebook on Thursday.

DP World’s Oceania executive vice president Nicolaj Noes said the company has “negotiated constructively and made concessions but it’s clear the union is willing to inflict maximum damage to get what it wants.”

“Come Monday, delays on key items, such as meat, clothing and appliances, will be compounded. For business owners who are already having a tough time, it’s a monumental blow.”

However, the port operator has reassured consumers that where possible, it will prioritise critical supplies critical supplies including perishable foods, medical supplies and humanitarian aid.

Maritime Union Australia has been contacted for comment.

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