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Ship owners back DP World in wharfies dispute

Shipping Australia, the ship ownersand agentsassociation, has backed DP World in its dispute over pay and conditions with dockersunions which the company says is costing A$10 million (US$6.5 million) a day in lost revenue.


DP World, which operates four key Australian ports at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, has wanted to introduce a digitalised rostering system that it says would allow for strategic planning and improve terminal efficiency, optimise resources, increase productivity and reduce overtime costs.


Unions argue that the employer is looking to cut staff pay by up to 32% and have refused to negotiate meaningfully over the dispute.


Meanwhile, Shipping Australia firmly nailed its support to DP Worlds mast declaring, Shipping Australia firmly supports DP World in this dispute.


According to the association, DP Worlds staff are already very well paid with generous leave entitlements.


At a time when the rest of Australias employees are buckling under the effects of inflation, soaring mortgage costs or soaring rent, this industrial action is simply unfair and unwarranted.


It is time for the union to return to the negotiating table and for wharfies to go back to work,claimed Shipping Australia.


Evidence of the high pay levels of dockers at DP World terminals was provided by the company itself which published the pay staff at its terminals could expect.


According to DP World, a new member of staff, with no formal training or qualifications could expect to earn A$86,336 (around US$56,000) per annum within six months of starting work, before allowances. However, the company argues that with 24-hour operations the allowances push real earnings to around A$130,000 (around US$85,000) a year.


The terminal operator further listed the pay for entry-level permanent staff on rosters of A$105,465 for Sydney; A$106,761 for Fremantle; A$96,765 for Brisbane and A$111,965 for Melbourne. Skilled crane operatorsbase salaries range up to A$146,924, within a 35-hour work week, complemented by relevant allowances.


Average earnings across the group in Australia covered by the current national agreements are said to be A$144,000 (around US$94,000) annually.


According to DP World, employees at its terminals are better paid than most. This compensation package, supplemented by bonuses and overtime, firmly establishes DP Worlds employees among the highest income earners in Australia,said the global port and terminal operator.


The company further points out that the maritime sector is a key employer for the export of Australian goods, accounting for 80% of the Australian goods trade.


DP World said that Australia is the fifth largest user of shipping services in the world and that ports play an essential role in maintaining trade, both imports and export trade, keeping the economy moving.


In order to meet the needs of businesses and consumers, DP World said it is imperative that it adopts modern rostering strategies which are aligned with global industry practices. As such, DP World must re-evaluate and update its rostering structure in line with this strategy to offer employees greater flexibility and to attain a more even distribution of work.


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