DP World retrenchments designed to intimidate workforce

DP World has retrenched 12 workers from its Fremantle cargo operations, in an attempt to intimidate the remaining workforce during negotiations for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).

DP World is a subsidiary of Citibank and Dubai Ports, a global terminal operator that also operates in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. 

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

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) WA Branch Deputy Secretary Adrian Evans said DP World was trying to bully its workforce into submission.

“Sacking workers at Christmas, while at the height of EBA negotiations, is a highly intimidatory move by DP World,” Mr Evans said.

“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.

“Many of the sacked workers have been active within the union in areas like safety, and they feel unfairly targeted by the company.

“The company is clearly trying to tell its remaining workforce that they should accept whatever the company offers in its EBA and not make trouble, because they might be next on the chopping block.”

Mr Evans said the bullying was consistent with some of the positions taken by DP World during EBA negotiations.

“In the current round of negotiations, the MUA has put forward a number of proposals designed to make the waterfront a more inclusive workplace, but DP World has refused to include any of our provisions in the Agreement,” he said.

“DP World refuses to include our proposal that 50 per cent of new recruits should be women, and they insisted on keeping a requirement that workers must be able to lift 40 kilos above their head.

“The MUA also put forward an improved parental leave scheme, which we proposed to pay for by reducing our wages, but DP World refuses to include this in the Agreement.

“Further, the MUA proposed that leave and support be provided for victims of domestic violence, but DP World has refused to put this in the Agreement.”

Mr Evans said DP World needed to walk the walk, rather than just talk the talk.

“DP World is going to a lot of effort to try to create the perception that they are a constructive and inclusive employer, but the reality is very different,” he said.