DP World must bargain in good faith

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has asked the Fair Work Commission to compel DP World to bargain in good faith, in its negotiations for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) for waterfront workers in Fremantle and around the country.

DP World, which is a subsidiary of Citibank and global terminal operator Dubai Ports, recently announced the retrenchment of 12 workers in Fremantle.

The retrenchments will take effect on 31st December, just after Christmas.

The company has refused to meet since August to progress EBA negotiations and consider an MUA proposal for job-sharing to prevent the redundancies.

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) WA Branch Deputy Secretary Adrian Evans said DP World has a cultural problem in its approach to workplace relations.

“DP World has refused to negotiate in good faith for months,” Mr Evans said.

“Instead of sitting down with workers, sharing information and trying to work together for a positive outcome, DP World management is refusing to meet and is instead communicating with workers through the media.

“DP World is also employing highly intimidatory tactics, in sacking workers at Christmas, presumably in the hope that other workers will feel pressured to comply with whatever DP World puts on the table.

“We have been bargaining for more than ten months, with a view to maximising permanency and job security.  We have also been happy to reduce salaries as a tradeoff for reduced hours, but DP World has refused to negotiate in good faith.”

Mr Evans said the MUA had applied to the Fair Work Commission for good faith bargaining orders that would provide a framework for a resolving the dispute.

“We have asked the Fair Work Commission to compel DP World to commit to a series of meetings with the union,” he said.

“We have also asked Fair Work to compel DP World to share the data they are using as the basis for their claims about labour costs.

“DP World has not yet responded to a number of claims the union has made on behalf of workers during negotiations, and we have asked Fair Work to compel them to do so.

“We were hoping the Fair Work Commission would hear the matter as soon as possible, so that the Commission could consider DP World’s tactics in sacking workers, and the dispute could be solved before Christmas.

“Unfortunately, DP World has sought to defer the hearing into January and as late as this morning has rejected an offer to meet next week.”