STEVEDORE DP World Australia has announced it will proceed with redundancies for 200 wharfies nationwide, with 100 to go in Sydney and 100 in Melbourne.
These are in addition to about 50 stevedores already leaving DPWA in Melbourne via voluntary redundancies.
The decision, already criticised by the union as “extreme”, comes in an environment of nationwide waterfront strikes and work bans.
Chief operating officer Andrew Adam said in the absence of significant negotiation progress during the past nine months, the company had to address the impact of volume losses.
“We have been very patient, but further restructures of our workforce have become necessary,” he said. “We have not taken the decision to downsize lightly.”
Mr Adam said DPWA had reduced their claims from 29 down to five since April.
“The CFMMEU commenced the three-month negotiation period in April with 59 claims and ended in June still having 53 claims, which have the potential to increase our costs by over $15m per annum,” he said.
“The union have repeatedly demonstrated a dogged unwillingness to make any concessions on their claims.”
Mr Adam said the proposal CFMMEU put on the table by the union three weeks ago would not only take them backwards but impact the wider industry.
MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said the timing of the announcement “a clear attempt” to get workers to accept cuts to their rights and conditions.
“This is corporate bullying and intimidation using the livelihoods of wharfies in an attempt to intimidate the workforce into accepting anything the company wants,” Mr Smith said.
“This situation, where a massive multinational company is showing total contempt for Australian workers and their families, shows once again how broken our country’s workplace laws are,” he said.
“Threatening people’s jobs, their livelihoods, and their families well-being should never be considered an acceptable way to achieve an industrial outcome.”
Mr Adam, meanwhile, said the strikes were affecting the supply chain.
“Four vessels have been redirected to other stevedores in July to mitigate delays, and we estimate 40 vessels and up to 110,000 containers will be delayed,” he said.
He talked of “unprecedented consolidation” of, and changes to global shipping line services calling Australia, combined with surplus stevedoring capacity contributing to DPWA’s “challenging outlook”.