Darwin Port workers decide to strike against rogue employer

Workers employed by Darwin’s private ports have voted overwhelmingly in favor of industrial action at Australia’s northernmost port, after company management again refused to table a reasonable wage offer or to participate in the negotiations of a new company agreement.

“The Protected Industrial Action vote returned with 99.9% support for this course of action from the workforce and it is a clear demonstration of the unity and resolve that exist in Darwin Ports among the workers,” MUA Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith said.

The Union repeatedly requested cooperation and negotiation from Darwin Ports management, but this fell on deaf ears. The company has so far failed to meet commitments it made to staff to table a wage offer to form the basis of a new employment contract.

In the latest email to management, the union referred to the company’s responsibilities under the Fair Work Act and said “Darwin Ports’ refusal to table the improved wage offer amounts to a failure to respect [their] negotiation in good faith obligation to disclose relevant information in a timely manner…”

“The company has developed a pattern of behavior here in which delay, distraction and dishonesty have become the norm. The workers are fed up with this and they have democratically decided to take industrial action in the face of this,” said Mr. Smith: “We refuse to work harder, longer and for less in the face of the skyrocketing cost of living. The management and privateers, with huge salaries, throw a privatization party and expect until their workers pay for it – they won’t.

“The Darwin Ports employees who have gotten the community through the pandemic deserve pay raises from their employer, not the childish nonsense the management team has engaged in thus far,” Mr. Smith. “If they have a salary offer, let’s see it, then we can move on to finalizing the other aspects of the employment contract, but promising it and then withholding it is just a rank stubbornness that undermines their relationship with the hand. -work,” says Mr. Smith.

The Protected Industrial Action Notice sets out the following work stoppages and prohibitions:

  • 1 hour off at 1 p.m. on each of the 7 days from August 19
  • An indefinite ban on unlisted overtime from August 19
  • An indefinite ban on the use of workers’ dominant hand when using tools, including computers when safe, from August 19
  • An indefinite ban on transfers from a worker’s main job from August 19
  • An unlimited ban on work during breaks from August 19
  • An indefinite ban on making or receiving work-related phone calls outside of business hours from August 19
  • An indefinite ban limiting pilot vessel operations to 10 knots where safe to do so from August 19

The shutdowns will apply to operations, administration and security workers and will include members of the MUA, Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).

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