Melbourne Port Industrial Action:
The Maritime Union of Australia has notified VICT Terminal (Australia’s only fully automated facility) of impending industrial action , with a series of full shift work-bans and stoppages beginning today Tuesday, 16th February, 2020.
The bans go beyond full shift stop-work directives and include threats to impose old-fashioned over-manning and restrictive work practices on VICT, directly undermining the competitiveness the terminal derives from its automated technology and modern way of working.
With no update from the MUA today, Tim Vancampen, CEO of VICT, said he was amazed the MUA would even consider this sort of attack while the Victorian economy was already at a standstill owing to its third lock-down.
“VICT accounts for a third of Victoria’s container freight. The union is directly attacking VICT’s unique way of working as a modern, automated terminal. They want to take us back to the past, no matter the cost or the ill-considered timing in the context of the lockdown.
“This campaign won’t produce the extra jobs, massive pay rises and fewer hours the Union has promised our employees. All it will do is undermine VICT’s competitiveness and threaten the benefits of port automation for Victoria and for the Port of Melbourne,” he said.
“If the MUA was serious about representing VICT employees’ interests it would seek to protect their modern jobs, not jeopardize them,” he said.
The stoppages and bans include:
- A Four (4) hour stoppage already planned on Tuesday 16th February, 2020.
- A stop work for a full 12-hour shift on Friday, 19 February, commencing 6:00pm.Further 12-hour shift bans are threatened for Sunday, 21 February at 6.00 am, following immediately by a 24-hour ban commencing at 18.00, 21 February – therefore incurring a 36-hour concurrent stoppage of all VICT’s operations and equipment maintenance.
- From Monday February 22, VICT’s control room will be banned from operating cranes unless the operations of each crane is manned by a dedicated quayside supervisor.
- An indefinite ban on overtime, various restrictions on communications phone use and bans on interaction with anyone outside Australia.
The industrial action will seriously impact container movements in and out of the port and no doubt lead to additional congestion and vessel delays at a time when Australia’s ports are still recovering from unprecedented congestion and vessel delays.