ELECTRICIANS at DP World Brisbane put down the tools last Thursday and the current industrial action looks far from over.

DP World Brisbane plans to meet with the Electrical Trades Union on Friday to continue negotiations for the new enterprise agreement.

Deputy secretary of the Queensland and Northern Territory branch of the Electrical Trades Union Scott Reichman has told DCN the Friday meeting is in jeopardy.

“It’s a maybe,” Mr Reichman said.

“It’s still dependant on us lifting our industrial action and at the moment there’s not much appetite from our members to do that.”

DP World and the Electrical Trades Union have been in negotiations since October.

Earlier this month DP World reached an agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) over a long-running dispute over wages.

“The deal they offered (in principle) with the MUA would probably get our agreement addressed as well,” Mr Reichman said.

“But because we’ve got a separate agreement, they want to take out a bunch of things like closed port days and public holiday payments which we can’t agree to.

“The MUA haven’t had to give up any of those things to get their outcomes.”

Under the MUA deal, workers received an 8% increase to their pay packets in the first year and in the second year it was 7% followed by 4% in the third year and 4.5% in the fourth year.

“That would’ve probably got the deal done with us as well,” Mr Reichman said.

“They came back to us with 6%, 4%, 4% and 4.5%.

“Part of their argument is that the MUA gave them productivity gains, particularly covering weekend shifts.

“My members have been working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for the past three years so we can’t give them that productivity gain because they’ve already got it.”

A spokesperson at DP World said it was important to note that the industrial action is not causing any interruptions. 

“There’s no impact on the supply chain or the day-to-day operations,” the spokesperson said. 

“We’ve got coverage for any electrical work at the Brisbane terminal.”

Paul Zalai, director of the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) said he was stunned when told that negotiations with the Electrical Trades Union have been simmering away in the background.

“When the wharfies were on strike, many suggested we need robots to replace them,” Mr Zalai said.

“This shows up the fact that automation is still reliant on humans to service them, and the importance of this workforce and its union now comes to the fore. 

“Meanwhile exporters, importers and freight forwarders continue to wear the operational costs of failed negotiations between DP World and its workforce with Australia’s trade reputation further plummeting.”