Australia’s Port Dispute Shows A Labor System Full Of Holes
With a settlement not really any closer, the Svitzer dispute demonstrates the failure of the Fair Work Act to provide a safety valve to resolve intractable labor disputes in Australia....
By Eamon Akil Farhat (Bloomberg) —
Dock workers at the Port of Liverpool are planning two more weeks of strikes after a pay dispute escalated into a confrontation with employer Peel Ports Ltd. over job losses.
Almost 600 dockers plan to walk out from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7, the Unite union said in a statement Friday, following an ongoing strike that ends Monday and an initial two-week action from Sept. 19.
With Peel resisting Unite’s demands for a wage hike in line with inflation, the standoff took a new turn on Monday as the firm issued redundancy notices to 132 staff. It cited a slump in container traffic amid weakening UK demand for imported goods, alongside rising interest rates and higher energy costs.
“Instead of negotiations to resolve this dispute, the company has chosen to threaten jobs and repeatedly mislead about the deal it has tabled,” Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said in the release.
Unite said it’s seeking a 12.3% pay increase for members, though Peel says the union is pressing for 15.7%. An offer worth less than the lower number was declined by the labor group last week, both parties said, while disputing the precise figure. Unite has also declined to meet with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Britain’s state-backed mediator, according to Peel.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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