Port fight settling
DP World has reached an agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to end months of industrial strife with a significant 23 per cent pay rise over four years for its workforce.
Reports say the proposed deal includes annual pay rises of 8 per cent, 7 per cent, 4 per cent and 4.5 per cent for the company’s 1,800 wharfies, as well as a sign-on bonus of $2,000. Reports say it is yet to be ratified by members.
Businesses say the deal, the result of intense negotiations facilitated by the Fair Work Commission, will see hikes in the prices of imported goods.
Reports say DP World has responded with a substantial increase in container movement charges by up to 52 per cent, as a direct response to the elevated labour costs.
Neil Chambers, Director of Container Transport Alliance Australia, claims the added labour costs will inevitably be shouldered by customers, especially affecting low-value commodities. Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, says the end of the industrial action is a positive development, but warned of long-term repercussions for industry and consumers due to wage increases significantly outpacing current and projected inflation rates.
DP World has to clear a backlog of over 50,000 containers. While the deal promises enhanced safety measures, fair compensation, and improved work-life balance for employees, it has not been without its critics.
The Productivity Commission has previously decried stevedore fee increases as an “abuse of market power”, yet regulatory intervention has been minimal.