QUBE To Workers: Drop Dead

The MUA today asserted that Qube Ports Pty Ltd’s sacking of four workers at its Melbourne TT Line operation was done because workers raised a legitimate safety concern.

Qube Ports Pty Ltd has been known as P&O Automotive & General Stevedoring Pty Ltd and POAGS.

“QUBE is a company with a worrisome safety record,” MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said. “QUBE has sacked four MUA members after they raised safety concerns. The company has consistently hindered and undermined the proposed national code of safety for stevedores.”

The code, entitled “Code of Practice: Managing Risks in Stevedoring”, was just released by Safe Work Australia for a public comment period of six weeks.

In July 2010, Stephen Piper, a QUBE employee working at Appleton Dock, was killed at work. This followed the deaths of maritime workers at Appleton Dock in 2003 and 2007.

In April 2010, QUBE employee Kane Barnett was crushed on a deck of TT Line vessel, losing his spleen and part of his liver, lung and bowel. He has not worked since the accident and QUBE is now looking at terminating him. Another worker died in Brisbane in 2010.

"We work in an industry where workers are 14 times more likely to die on the job than the average Australian worker, which is why our members are quite insistent that QUBE respect safety concerns,” MUA Victoria Branch secretary Kevin Bracken said.