FTA / APSA advocacy and industrial action update

Thursday, November 5, 2020

As highlighted in last weeks' member notice (FTA/APSA MEMBER LOGIN REQUIRED), Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) have serious ongoing concern that further Protected Industrial Action may again take place in coming months at a time when shipping lines desperately need to evacuate a glut of empty containers severely congesting port precincts, service surging import demands and help farmers get a bumper crop of agriculture commodities and other produce to export markets.
While the Federal Government justifiably boasts about its diplomatic achievements in gaining access to Free Trade Agreements and other opportunities for Australian commerce, they are missing a fundamental requirement by failing to guarantee that we have a reliable supply chain to facilitate import and export operations.

To that end, FTA / APSA have written to the Hon Christian Porter, Attorney-General for Australia and Minister for Industrial Relations - correspondence available HERE.

We are also privileged to have received and been given permission to share with members the following correspondence titled 'Port loading delays now causing damage globally' from member Fletcher International Exports (Roger Fletcher, Managing Director FIE) to the Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government - correspondence available HERE (FTA/APSA MEMBER LOGIN REQUIRED) ..


FTA / APSA engaged today with Svitzer executives and agreed to maintain contact for the duration of the industrial dispute - the latest public update is available HERE.
Further to our webinar on 12 October 2020 (RECORDING AVAILABLE - FTA/APSA MEMBER LOGIN REQUIRED)we have again reached out to stevedore executives John Willy (CEO Hutchison Ports), Andrew Adam (COO DP World Australia) and Michael Jovicic (CEO Patrick Terminals).

There have been no significant developments to the below that we reported last week :
  • DP World Australia – we understand that the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne Enterprise Agreements (EAs) are within sight of the finish line with an expectation to be signed off by about 9 / 10 November 2020. Complexities remain in Fremantle and is likely to be delayed.
  • Hutchison – we understand that the MUA has lifted PIA in Brisbane and Sydney for the next three months allowing more time for continued negotiations.
  • Patrick – as outlined in our member notice disseminated on 26 October 2020 (FTA/APSA MEMBER LOGIN REQUIRED) the MUA provided undertakings to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) committing to not organise or notify any industrial action against Patrick Terminals before 1 December 2020. Patrick and the MUA will continue intensive negotiations in aim to resolve outstanding claims.

During the above referenced webinar, extensive commentary was made about growing delays due to weather events suggesting that this is becoming as big a problem as the much publicised industrial action.

FTA / APSA have commenced engagement with stevedores, NSW Ports and Shipping Australia Ltd to gain an understanding whether these extensive delays are increasing as a direct impact of climate change, an emerging union response and / or other regulatory requirements affecting operations.
Predictions are that La Niña will continue to deliver high rainfall and adverse weather conditions until at least into February 2021 (we note an extreme wind warning for NSW coast again today).
FTA / APSA will continue to keep members up to date on developments.
Paul Zalai -  Director and Co-Founder, FTA / Secretariat, APSA