Workers at Hutchinson Ports Australia picketed its two terminals on Sunday in a 24-hour protest against the abrupt redundancies of 97 of its workforce. The action was led by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in response to the job cuts, which were made by text and email late last week.
Maritime Union of Australia national secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin commented, “The MUA utterly rejects the suggestion that the company is reducing its Australian operations due to a lack of competitiveness. The union and myself personally have worked closely with senior Hutchison management to ensure productive, flexible, safe and reliable working arrangements to allow the company to enter into a highly competitive market. This is the same workforce that underpins the successful operations of Australia’s other stevedoring companies. Hutchison should know better than to treat their workforce like this. They are a major global player in container terminals and they know that mutual respect with your workforce delivers the best results.”
Crumlin said he thought the redundancies were a strategy to further introduce automation without any discussion or consultation.