‘Unhelpful and Inaccurate’: Australian Union Rebukes ACCC’s Comments on Strikes Worsening Port Delays

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The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has called comments by the Australian user watchdog successful its report connected larboard delays an “unhelpful and inaccurate intervention,” adding that it was not their spot to remark connected workers’ wage disputes.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) noted successful its study connected Nov. 4 that concern enactment and restrictive enactment practices person further disrupted the proviso concatenation and exacerbated delays.

“The ACCC should not recklessly conflate the astronomical planetary shipping costs, larboard congestion, and COVID-19 related pressures connected Australia’s proviso chains with waterside workers seeking just pay, occupation information and information astatine work,” MUA nationalist caput Paddy Crumlin said successful a statement.

“The ACCC’s relation is to analyse the regulatory and economical circumstances affecting Australian shipping, not to remark connected the lawful close of workers to negociate their employment agreements.”

MUA-backed strikes occurred crossed respective Australian ports successful October, with much scheduled for this period aft negotiations with instrumentality terminal relation Patrick Terminals broke down.

The study said the MUA utilized concern enactment to propulsion for restrictive enactment practices specified arsenic agreements for the bulk of caller recruits to beryllium “family and friends” of existing employees oregon radical chosen by the union.

“Industrial enactment connected apical of pre-existing congestion has, unfortunately, enactment tremendous strain connected our planetary instrumentality ports astatine a clip erstwhile they tin slightest header with it, and successful the lawsuit of Port Botany, immoderate shipping lines person decided the delays marque utilizing the larboard commercially unviable,” ACCC seat Rod Sims said.

Crumlin said the ACCC’s “union bashing” was unwarranted and blamed the issues connected COVID-19 impacts and shipping institution behaviours.

“These economical realities lone reenforce the value of the MUA’s telephone for a strategical Australian fleet of cargo vessels to support our sovereign capabilities,” helium said.

Crumlin criticised the study for containing “several contradictions and errors of fact,” specified arsenic benchmarking Australian shipping terminals done idle time, which is the magnitude of clip ships walk berthed.

“[This] is taxable to truthful galore variables arsenic to beryllium wholly unhelpful, particularly arsenic the measurement of containers carried connected each vessel has increased,” helium said.

containers-piled-up Containers are piled up astatine Port Botany facilities successful Sydney, Australia, connected Feb. 6, 2018. (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

The study revealed that Australian larboard ratio issues began agelong earlier COVID-19, which lone worsened the situation.

“We were told that immoderate shipping lines were already withdrawing services from Australia earlier COVID hit. Australia needs to instrumentality decisive enactment to stay an charismatic destination for planetary shipping lines,” Sims said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) called the MUA’s actions a “push to paralyse Australian ports” that risks the nation’s economical betterment amid planetary proviso concatenation disruptions.

“The concern enactment we are seeing successful our ports isn’t astir the money. Indeed, the existing statement successful Sydney means waterfront workers are already paid connected mean $172,000 (US$127,000) a twelvemonth for conscionable 200 days of work,” ACCI CEO Andrew McKellar said.

“The world is that the MUA is opportunistically ramping up unit to support their grip implicit larboard operations, recruiting their household and friends, portion they trash immoderate measures for a much flexible and responsive workforce.”

Rebecca Zhu

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