President of the International Transport Workers' Federation and National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Paddy Crumlin, today assured members that the sale of a majority stake in DP World Australia should not have a detrimental effect for workers on key Australian container ports.
"I've had assurances from DP World that the existing management, workers and their EBA will all be retained," said Mr. Crumlin. "And from all accounts, Citi Infrastructure Investors (CII), who has bought a 75 per cent share of DP World, is keen to invest in the business as a specialized infrastructure vehicle over the long term."
The sale affects container terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle with capacity to handle in excess of 3.5 million TEU per annum. This constitutes approximately 50% of the total Australian container market.
"While Australian workers have a healthy skepticism for infrastructure banks and funds like Babcock and Brown and Macquarie Bank in adding value to businesses, DP World as a sovereign equity fund in practical terms, is struggling under burgeoning debt levels, and have not been in a position to invest fully in much needed upgrades in its Australian facilities. This is despite predictions that demand at Australia's ports are set to triple in the next two decades," Mr. Crumlin said.
"Capital productivity is more essential to building port efficiency than force feeding in new stevedoring operators, and this new development underlines that.
"The purchase by CII should be helpful from that perspective. Investment in technology and infrastructure in these crucial ports is likely to yield productivity gains that need to be directed to things like job security. We will be watchful that Citi aren't into it for price gouging at workers expense.
"Our members on Australia's docks pride themselves on being among the worlds most efficient. New investment will help us maintain this standing into the future.
The purchase by CII was done in partnership with one of CII's "major investors".
It's unfortunate DP World hasn't given us full disclosure on all the new corporate arrangements, but I have received an undertaking that the situation will be rectified.in the near future."
READ DP WORLD MEDIA RELEASE