THE formation of a COVID-19 committee with workplace representatives was key to resolving a dispute at Port Botany between Hutchison Port Holdings and the Maritime Union.

As was reported in Daily Cargo News, workers had returned to the waterfront having earlier walked off the job for 10 days fearing they were at risk of exposure to the virus.

Maritime Union assistant national secretary Warren Smith said the committee would and review all protocols and procedures.

“The main lesson in all of this is that companies need to fully cooperate and include the union and workers in the process of COVID-19 contact tracing where incidents occur,” Mr Smith said.

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“This is even more so with respect to implementing workplace measures to combat workplace transmission of COVID-19.”

A positive virus case was identified in the workforce on April 3 and a second case was notified soon after, albeit these were not workplace transmissions.

Mr Smith said the return to work had been a rank and file driven process with workers and their union meeting late at night and over weekends to get things fixed and have the best possible health and safety implemented in the terminal.

He said Hutchison had “comparatively small container volumes” in Sydney so at no time was the supply chain impacted.

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