The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has slammed the proposed Maritime Union of Australia industrial action at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), which would see the automated terminal close for four hours from 4-8pm on Tuesday 16 February.
“At such a precarious time in our national economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is totally disingenuous for a union that claims to be in the business of protecting jobs, downing tools at one of our most important stevedores, and making claims for wages and other entitlements that are entirely unworkable,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“The transport industry has been very fortunate to be able to work through the pandemic and it is extremely disappointing that after a period when employer and employee groups have worked so well together to minimise the impacts of the economic slump, the union would resort to claims as unworkable as these.
“Thousands of Australians would sacrifice a great deal to be in the kind of well-paid and secure waterfront employment VICT provides for hundreds of staff – threatening the viability of the long-term operation of the stevedore with such outlandish claims is both short-sighted and irresponsible,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the proposed industrial action would also harm Melbourne’s hard-fought reputation as the freight capital of Australia.
“The last thing we need is to tarnish the enviable position Victoria has established for being the nation’s biggest destination for freight. Industrial action like what has been proposed threatens this position and gives importers and exporters cause for sending their goods via other major cities,” Anderson said.
VICT has also slammed this proposed industrial action, with CEO of VICT Tim Vancampen commenting, “The maritime unions are attempting to steer the waterfront firmly back to the past, effectively by ignoring the efficiencies of automation and hobbling VICT with outdated ways of working and inapplicable wages and benefits.”