After three months of ongoing strikes at Fremantle Port, AMMA says it is highly concerned that major international shipping companies are forced to bypass Fremantle Port and freight critical mining, resources and agricultural supplies by road and rail into Western Australia.
AMMA Chief Executive Steve Knott AM said it is highly irresponsible to block the unloading of large international cargo carriers at Fremantle Port at a time when interstate movement of freight is difficult, costly and a proven risk of introducing COVID-19 into virus-free regions.
“During the pandemic, Western Australia’s border and quarantine resources should be freed-up as much as possible to process essential freight and people returning or travelling to the state, often for compassionate reasons.
He said it beggars belief the state is putting all responsibility on the Commonwealth.
“This is a serious state issue. By stopping all work at Fremantle Port, the CFMMEU is not only damaging WA’s revenue-generating industries, but also creating new potential COVID-19 entry points at a time the government is taking all measures to keep the virus out.
The Fremantle strikes are in protest of Qube’s proposed new enterprise agreement that offers a 10 per cent pay increase on top of $140,000 average salaries and 18 weeks of leave each year.
“Qube employees elsewhere in Australia have accepted that this is a good deal whilst in the middle of a global pandemic. However, the CFMMEU’s WA Maritime Division instead slapped 66 additional claims on the company and is now involving businesses and employees not directly involved in this dispute.
“It is time for the Western Australian Government to stand up for its resources, energy and farming employers, as well as the broader interests of its citizens, and seek to put an end to this damaging strike.”
In 2018, AMMA highlighted the merger of the Maritime Union of Australia with the CFMEU’s construction division would embolden more militancy by two strike-prone and recidivist law-breaking unions.