Wharfies Industrial Action delaying the unloading of tens of thousands of Containers


To our Valued Customers,


The Australian has published the following article regarding delayed unloading of containers, due to industrial action by wharfies.



“Industrial action by wharfies has delayed the unloading of tens of thousands of containers by up to five days, with employers warning the union stoppages are ­exacerbating supply chain pressures during the COVID-19 crisis.


DP World Australia said the legal industrial action by Maritime Union of Australia members had affected 25 vessels nationally delivering medical and food supplies, and delayed critical goods from reaching Australian shelves and households.


Andrew Adam, the company’s chief operating officer, terminals, said 80,000 containers had been delayed, including 25,000 in Melbourne, which is experiencing stage-four pandemic restrictions.


When one ship is disrupted, it has a domino effect that reverberates throughout the supply chain, leading to inventory shortfalls, spoiling of perishable goods and cashflow pressure for exporters,” Mr Adam said.


We are gravely concerned these delays will increase over the next few weeks, with more vessels likely to be affected every week. All Victorians are feeling the strain of a stage-four lockdown and the decision to take this ­extremely disruptive type of industrial action may end up making it harder to get food and goods into the community.”


Australian Logistics Council chief executive Kirk Coningham said a number of vessels had been delayed by three to five days and the industry was concerned about a broader impact on the supply chain if the legal industrial action continued for weeks.


“The middle of a pandemic is hardly the right time for the MUA to be adding complications to freight movement by pursuing ­industrial action. This is a time when we all need to work collaboratively to get through the challenge of COVID-19,” he said.


But MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the industrial action was “completely legal” and included exemptions for medical or COVID-19 related cargo, ensuring there were no delays to these important items reaching the community.


“The MUA has been negotiating in good faith with stevedoring companies — in some cases for two years — in an attempt to ­resolve outstanding ­issues and deliver agreements that deliver fair outcomes,” he said. “DPWA has refused the union’s repeated requests to meet to negotiate a resolution to this dispute.


“The real looming crisis at Australia ports has nothing to do with industrial action, but the fact that 300,000 seafarers remained stranded at sea. With each day that passes, the number of seafarers who have spent more than the maximum allowable time at sea under the Maritime Labour Convention increases, causing them serious hardship and increasing the dangers posed by fatigue.”


Meanwhile, the Fair Work Ombudsman has failed in its bid to force the maritime union to pay $500,000 compensation for ­alleged unlawful action by crew members on the cargo ship MV Portland


The Federal Court found in favour of the union, in a blow to the workplace regulator which embarked on the taxpayer-funded legal action in 2017. The dispute fuelled debate about the replacement of Australian jobs with overseas workers, after Alcoa said the ship would be ­replaced with a foreign-crewed vessel to ­transport alumina ­between Western Australia and Portland in Victoria.”


Please feel free to contact your Customer Solutions Representative, should you have any queries or concerns regarding this article.


Keeping you updated,

BRi Customer Solutions Team




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