The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) says an ongoing dispute at Webb Dock at the Port of Melbourne is indicative of labour rights abuses regularly adopted by notorious global stevedoring giant International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI).
A community protest has been underway outside the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) for some days after a casual employee was denied shifts after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment.
"Community members are angry that a worker is being unfairly targeted by VICT and that worker happens to be a member of the MUA,” MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said.
"22 workers on site have been identified as not having a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) to work in the restricted landside zone and are currently awaiting processing.
"21 workers have been treated fairly by VICT but one has been punished, most likely because he has taken court action against a manager on site who has been bullying and victimising workers.
“The company’s assertion in the AFR today that this worker “had lost an appeal against the regulator's refusal” to grant an MSIC is categorically false.
“So it’s no surprise that the tight-knit Port Melbourne community has decided to stand up and defend this worker, as have other members of the broader community and other unions.”
VICT is continuing a disturbing recent trend by employers who want to engage in a race to the bottom by accepting a workplace agreement voted on by five staff chosen by the company that slashes penalty rates and casual loading.
The MUA has been seeking to establish minimum standards for wages and conditions, but the company has refused to negotiate with the union.
“Workers everywhere are fed up with their wages flat lining while corporate profits continue to spiral upwards,” Tracey said.
“The Port Melbourne community has decided to take a stand against a company with an atrocious labour record around the globe that should not be allowed to operate in this country.”
“We even have ICTSI global chief executive Enrique K Razon on the record saying: ‘The countries with the best infrastructure in the world are dictatorships’ – a statement that speaks volumes about this company’s leadership and its regard for unions and workers.”
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) last month launched a global report into ICTSI which showed a pattern of severe safety deficiencies across the Philippine-based company’s network of terminals.
“The ITF, and our union affiliates, have observed an emerging pattern of labour violations in the ICTSI network: a failure to respect the right to freedom of association; poor safety standards; and illegal outsourcing of labour,” the report says.
“Many of these violations are in breach of domestic law in the countries where ITCSI operates and contravene international labour conventions.
“They also contravene ICTSI’s own policies and statements, and call into question the company’s ability to effectively manage their global business and ensure the same standards and performance across all of their terminals.”
Media Contact: Darrin Barnett 0428 119 703