THE Western Australia branch of the Maritime Union of Australia has said Wallenius Wilhelmsen would cancel its contract with Qube and shift its business to Linx. Qube said the MUA branch has begun targeting international shipping lines in an attempt to organise black bans of vessels visiting the Qube Fremantle terminal.

Qube and the MUA reached a national agreement in August 2020 on a roll-over of the existing enterprise agreement, providing Qube employees with a 2.5% year-on-year increase for four years.

DCN understands all sites across the country have honoured the deal except for the Fremantle workers, who commenced industrial action on 30 July. DCN also understands Qube has called on the MUA national office to intervene and honour the deal that was made.

In a statement, Qube said the union had said it had contacted major international shipping lines via their union network in Europe and Japan “threatening customers that their ships will be black banned and face international backlash if they continue to work with Qube”.

“They are urging shipping lines to move their contracts for stevedoring in Fremantle, and possibly Brisbane, to Linx, a competitor of Qube,” the company said.

Qube Ports director Michael Sousa said the union’s behaviour is “disgraceful and un-Australian”.

“The MUA is using bullying tactics against Qube customers that put businesses, jobs and the Western Australian economy at risk. We have had an agreement with the MUA since August 2020 in 25 out of 26 ports,” Mr Sousa said.

“This latest stunt by the Fremantle branch of the MUA in their failing campaign against Qube and its customers demonstrates just how low they will go. We call on them again to return to work, take the agreed pay rise and honour the agreement reached with their national office.”

MUA WA branch secretary Will Tracey said Wallenius Wilhelmsen was Qube’s largest customer and the loss of this business would have a detrimental effect on Qube Ports’ profits and share price.

“Rather than negotiating a fair outcome to the dispute at Fremantle, which is now in its seventh week, Qube Ports appears to have decided that winning an industrial dispute and losing its major client is a good outcome for the company, its workers and its shareholders,” Mr Tracey said.

Mr Tracey said Qube Ports had outlined to the MUA the numbers of jobs to be made redundant across the Brisbane, Melbourne and Port Kembla Terminals.

“The MUA bargaining dispute with Qube incredibly is not about wages and is focussed firmly on providing our members with a safer work environment,” Mr Tracey said.

“Our bargaining claims are primarily about improving fatigue management practices and occupational health and safety on the job while ensuring that our members have a proper work-life balance.”

Mr Tracey said a key claim is workers having an ability to plan their life outside of work.

“Workers, including permanents, are told by text message whether they have work the following day and which shift they will be working,” he said.

Qube is continuing to service vessels at the Port of Fremantle.