WATERFRONT workers and their supporters have braved miserable weather to stage a rally outside DPWA’s West Swanson Dock facility.

The rally occurred about half-way through a four day strike in Melbourne, with other, shorter strikes occurring at terminals around the country.

A large and diverse rally. Credit: MUA

Maritime Union Victoria branch secretary Shane Stevens told the gathering the strikes had occurred because enterprise bargaining talks had stalled.

“We have been in negotiation with the company, Dubai Ports World, since August last year,” Mr Stevens said.


“Now we’ve had about 30 meetings at Part A level (the part of the EBA that covers all Australian ports). We have over that time culled a lot of our claims.

The wharfies had support from other union comrades. Credit: MUA

“Now they were all very important to us but in good faith bargaining we culled it down to what we consider “die in the ditch” claims.”

Mr Stevens said stoppages and overtime bans back in March were designed to bringing the company back to the table.

“But in that time nothing changed from the company’s stance,” he said.

“This has forced this action now, a four-day strike.

Mr Stevens said the strike was “something we genuinely don’t want to do”.

“So what we are doing is the last thing we should be doing but we have to do it because they are forcing our hand,” he said.

He reiterated union concerns, notably about plans to outsource cargo care and reefer container monitoring and the future of income protection insurance. Comment has been sought from DPWA.