The dispute between DP World and the Maritime Union of Australia over new claims by their employees is expected to continue as Hon Tony Burke Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has refused to intervene directly to resolve the negotiations.

“I’ve made clear to both groups today, that I have no intention of intervening. I’ve made clear that I have an expectation that they will reach agreement,” the minister said last week.

Burke urged both parties to arrive at a resolution through negotiations, with the possibility of the Fair Work Commission aiding in the resolution of the strike.

The minister also criticized DP World, stating that if they had invested as much into negotiating as they have into their media campaign, they would have reached an agreement with the union already.

“I have made clear to the company as well, if they had invested as much into negotiating as they have into their media campaign, they may already have an agreement. That it is in the interests of everybody, including the company, that they negotiate and they use the Fair Work Commission to help them with that conciliation,” Burke said in a press conference in Sydney.

The Maritime Union of Australia and DP World were locked in negotiations seeking to resolve the dispute that centres on pay, among other issues.

The Danish giant Maersk has been informed that DP World Australia has received additional protected industrial action notices from the Maritime Union of Australia division for each of their Australian terminals at the ports of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Fremantle until the 30th of January 2024.

Australian Wharfies have been on strike since October, when the former enterprise agreement expired, but the union has said it had been seeking a new deal in good faith since March, and that DP World paid its workers 17 per cent less than Patrick’s stevedores while jacking up prices for their customers by 52 per cent at the beginning of this month.

International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in its press release on January 16, 2024 criticized the Dubai-based port operator DP World, mentioning that “it is attempting to break Australian workers with demands for wage cuts and roster changes that will have a detrimental impact on both productivity and safety.”

“DP World Australia’s management is scapegoating workers for its own failures in negotiation, leading to an appalling attack on wages and employment conditions, highlighted by an unprecedented 14% cut in wages,” said Niek Stam, vice-chair of the ITF dockers’ section.