Five accidents in quick succession this week at the VICT terminal with a hospitalisation overnight has raised fears of an imminent fatality at the dock.
MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey warned that a dramatic escalation in hours of work at the site and woefully inadequate manning has led to an unsafe workplace and is calling on Worksafe Victoria to intervene immediately before a worker is killed or seriously injured.
“Workers are being required to work excessive 12 hour shifts back to back with workers being required to regularly work 6 to 8 in a row with minimum breaks before being called in again.
“We have many examples of people working over 50 to 60 hours of overtime in the fortnight outside of their rostered normal hours of work.
“That is in effect an 8-day work week. It’s dangerous and must stop immediately.
“A lack of manning and training has resulted in workers reporting exhaustion as management stands over workers to stay on the job to meet operational targets.
‘The increased hours come after fatigue related training a week ago, but workers report many are scared to raise issues around fatigue for fear of reprisals after heated exchanges with management on the job in the last few days.
“The worker taken to hospital and the various other incidents needs to be investigated by Worksafe Victoria but it is clear that fatigue has played the major role in these incidents,” Will Tracey said.
VICT is the Australian company owned by notorious international transport business ICTSI. It operates the third terminal at Webb dock.
ICTSI is in business with some of the most dangerous regimes in the world including the Government of Sudan who are listed by the US State Department as a State sponsor of terrorism.
ICTSI were awarded the rights to operate the dock by the previous Liberal Government in 2014.