Australian Union condemns ACCC’s comments on strikes that exacerbate port delays

The Australian Maritime Union (MUA) called the Australian Consumer Watchdog comment “useless and inaccurate intervention” in its report on port delays and added that it was not the place to comment on worker wage disputes. ..

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) noted in a November 4 report that industrial activity and restrictive labor practices further disrupted the supply chain and exacerbated delays.

“ACCC recklessly confuses astronomical international transportation costs, port congestion and COVID-19-related pressures on Australia’s supply chain with waterside workers seeking fair wages, job security and workplace safety. “Don’t do that,” said MUA’s national secretary, Paddy Clamlin. statement..

“ACCC’s role is to investigate the regulatory and economic conditions that affect Australian shipping, not to comment on the legitimate rights of workers to negotiate employment contracts.”

MUA-backed strikes occurred in several Australian ports in October, with more strikes scheduled for this month after negotiations with container terminal operator Patrick Terminal broke down.

According to the report, MUA uses industrial activities to promote restrictive labor practices, such as the agreement that the majority of new employees are “family and friends” of existing employees or people selected by unions. bottom.

“Unfortunately, industrial activity in addition to existing congestion puts a heavy burden at times when international container ports are most unmanageable. In the case of Port Botany, some shipping companies have decided to delay their use. The port is commercially infeasible, “said Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman.

Mr. Crumlin said the ACCC’s “union bashing” was unjustified and blamed the impact of COVID-19 and problems with the behavior of shipping companies.

“These economic realities only reinforce the importance of MUA’s demands on a fleet of strategic Australian cargo ships to protect our sovereignty,” he said.

Crumlin criticized the report for containing “some contradictions and factual errors,” such as benchmarking Australia’s transportation terminals through idle time, which is the length of time the ship is moored.

“”[This] Especially as the amount of containers carried by each ship increases, it is affected by so many variables that it is completely useless, “he said.

Container stacking
On February 6, 2018, containers were piled up at the Port Botany facility in Sydney, Australia. (DanielMunoz / Reuters)

The report revealed that the Australian port efficiency problem began long before COVID-19, but it only made the situation worse.

“It was said that some shipping companies had already withdrawn their services from Australia before the COVID occurred. Australia has taken decisive action to remain an attractive destination for shipping companies around the world. You have to take it, “Sims said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACCI) calls MUA’s actions “a driving force to paralyze Australian ports,” endangering the country’s economic recovery in the midst of international supply chain turmoil. ..

“The industrial activity seen in our harbor is not about money. Indeed, the existing agreement in Sydney averages $ 172,000 (US $ 127,000) per year for waterfront workers in just 200 days of work. It means that you have already paid, “said ACCI CEO. Andrew McKellar said..

“In reality, MUA is optimistically increasing pressure to maintain a grasp of port operations, recruit family and friends, while wasting tools for a more flexible and responsive workforce. increase.”

Rebecca Chu