QUBE Ports has notified the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) today that the company will commence making employees around Australia redundant as a result of the breakdown of enterprise agreement negotiations in the Port of Fremantle.
Update: statement from Qube available here.
QUBE Ports Director Michael Sousa informed the MUA that large global shipping line Wallenius Wilhelmsen had indicated over the weekend it would cancel its contract with QUBE and shift its business to Linx.
MUA WA Branch Secretary Will Tracey said Wallenius Wilhelmsen was QUBE’s largest customer and the loss of this business would have a detrimental effect on QUBE Ports’ profits and share price.
“This will be a devastating blow to QUBE Ports which is one of Australia’s largest import/export logistics firms,” Mr Tracey said.
“Rather than negotiating a fair outcome to the dispute at Fremantle, which is now in its seventh week, QUBE Ports appears to have decided that winning an industrial dispute and losing its major client is a good outcome for the company, its workers and its shareholders.”
“As the loss of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen contract will have a major impact on QUBE Ports, we look forward to Mr Sousa’s explanation to the markets when he reports this price-sensitive news to the ASX.”
Mr Tracey said QUBE Ports had outlined to the MUA the numbers of jobs to be made redundant across the Brisbane, Melbourne and Port Kembla Terminals.
“The MUA bargaining dispute with QUBE incredibly is not about wages and is focussed firmly on providing our members with a safer work environment,” Mr Tracey said.
“Our bargaining claims are primarily about improving fatigue management practices and occupational health and safety on the job while ensuring that our members have a proper work-life balance.”
Mr Tracey said a key claim is workers having an ability to plan their life outside of work. Not one worker employed by QUBE in Fremantle Ports has a roster.
“Workers including permanents, are told by text message whether they have work the following day and which shift they will be working.”
“This is no way for a company to treat its workforce.”