Fight Plan for Mass Sacking and Secret Automation
In 2013 Hutchison Ports Australia (HPA) started operations in Brisbane and Sydney after a new competition policy introduced a third stevedoring operator in major Australian ports.
Both ports were set up with automated stacking cranes (ASCs) and manned shuttles. A collective agreement was certified.
Now everything has changed. HPA has announced itwill be ‘withdrawing from current bids for work in Australia and reviewing the level of services that we will be offering effective immediately.’
Workers are being made to pay the price of HPA’s attempt to break into the Australian stevedoring market.
Sackings have been announced: 97 out of 224 jobs will go. The Maritime Union of Australia reports that the company ejected its officials from terminals. There are suspicions that the forced redundancy process has been set up to remove union activists and delegates.
The union subsequently received documentation indicating that HPA is secretly planning to introduce automated straddles and automated remote quay cranes.
The MUA is starting a campaign to ensure HPA doesn’t get away with using automation as a union-busting tool. The workers defending their jobs will be doing so through various actions. They are asking for support, including messages of solidarity backing their stance of defending real jobs against this automation with a hidden agenda.