STEVEDORE DP World Australia and the CFMMEU have made progress in resolving their differences and heading off disruptive industrial action.

A spokesman for DPWA said action set for Brisbane and Fremantle this week had been put on hold, albeit stoppages still occurred at Port Botany on Monday 1 April.

“We are hopeful that we’ll reach an agreement to have the action stopped in Sydney as well,” the spokesman said.

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Negotiations occurred until late on Sunday night and again on Monday morning.

The spokesman indicated talks towards an actual EA could also resume.

“We’ve said that there’s no negotiation while there’s threat of, or actual, industrial action,” the spokesman said.

“Once we clear the air on that front we’ll be able to start negotiations.”

In a statement to customers, DPWA said since the union began protected industrial action at DPWA terminals on 19 March, they had “struggled to secure sufficient labour and skills required to meet the needs of our customers”.

“We are cognisant that the ongoing bans and stoppages continue to impact our shipping line customers and supply chain partners,” DPWA stated late last week.

“We can confirm that we are in regular contact with all stevedore operators to secure any and all available capacity at their terminals across the four ports

We also continue to explore options to change vessel rotations and the elimination of port calls.”

The dispute between the union and the company centres on the terms of a new enterprise agreement, particularly income protection insurance.

In a public statement, Australian Logistics Council chief executive Kirk Coningham noted the impact of the industrial action on the supply chain.

“As Port Botany moves the greatest amount of containerised freight by rail nationally, it is not possible to replace all cancelled rail services with road services – and accordingly, we are witnessing major delays to the movement of freight,” Mr Coningham said.

“This is already imposing significant costs on rail freight logistics operators that will have to be passed on to customers and consumers.”

Industry groups have noted the protected industrial action includes bans on employees working in tasks above their normal grade, overtime, shift extensions, accepting late call ins and no advanced or delayed start times.

“This obviously has an impact on the ability of freight logistics operators to conduct their day-to-day business activities,” Mr Coningham said.

“Delays in rail freight movement at Port Botany will ultimately have a negative consequence on overall national supply chain efficiency.”

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