Wharfies End Sydney Port Industrial Action

Wharfies End Sydney Port Industrial Action
Botany port in Sydney, Australia, April 16, 2020. (SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Maritime workers at Sydney's Port Botany have agreed to end an industrial action after their employer undertook to continue bargaining discussions.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter on Saturday announced the Maritime branch of the CFMMEU and shipping company DP World had agreed to continue good faith negotiations on a new enterprise agreement.

As a result of the action, some shipping companies have been reporting near two-week delays in delivering vital goods amid overtime bans and other action, and have imposed a new strike payment to shift the cost to importers and exporters.

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said reports of major delays were "absurd", but DP World decided to take their case to the Fair Work Commission.

Hours before the dispute was to be addressed, the parties reached an agreement.

Porter said the slowdown had been impacting Australia's economic recovery and the import of critical medical supplies.

Port Botany handles 99 percent of all container movements into and out of NSW, contributing $3.7 billion annually to Gross State Profit and supporting about 25,000 jobs, he said.

"With so many businesses still struggling to get back on their feet, now is certainly not the time for damaging industrial action that threatens to put our wider recovery efforts in jeopardy, along with the health and safety of everyday Australians," Porter said in a statement.

"I am pleased that both sides have now been able to chart a way forward that allows operations at DP World Port Botany facilities to return to normal while talks continue."

The union action came in response to a move by the Patrick stevedore company to cut a variety of conditions from an industrial agreement covering waterfront workers.

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