As if having to endure a fifth lockdown wasn’t bad enough, now Victorian consumers will be asked to foot the bill for increased costs of goods all thanks to unnecessary union work stoppages and a lack of intervention from the Andrews Labor Government.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is planning a 24-hour work stoppage at Patrick Terminals’ Port of Melbourne operation and a 16-hour work stoppage at tugboat operator Svitzer Australia’s Melbourne and Westernport operations on Friday 23rd July, as part of an ongoing enterprise bargaining agreement negotiation. As Victoria endures its fifth lockdown and the supply chain is under increasing pressure to ensure goods can get to where they need to be, the union’s latest reckless action risks Victorians not being able to access critical goods. Victorian consumers will also be left to foot the bill at the end of the day, when many are out of work and unable to get support from the Andrews Labor Government.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the global supply chain under intense pressure and has resulted in a massive cost increase to get goods into Melbourne. The cost to import a 40 foot container from China has doubled since the start of 2020, without even taking into account if there are containers or space available on a vessel.
Industrial action, at a time when Victorians and the economy are on their knees, flies in the face of the way all Victorians are pulling together to get through the pandemic. The Andrews Labor Government needs to stand up to its union mates and be on the side of Victorians.
It’s clear Labor’s Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas and Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne have no plan and it’s putting the economic recovery at risk that Victorians worked so hard to earn.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:
“Victorians shouldn’t be held to ransom by the unions and the Andrews Labor Government needs to stand up and call this out.
“Import costs have doubled, and the community doesn’t need more challenges to the finely-tuned logistics system that a strike will result in. We know what happens when we are in lockdown to things like toilet paper and other necessities when the system is threatened, and the union’s action during lockdown is simply un-Australian.
“As Victoria endures yet another lockdown, we should be doing everything we can to try and return to some level of normality and assist recovery, but the MUA is intent on causing even more havoc and the Andrews Labor Government is completely silent.”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Tim Smith:
“The Andrews Labor Government is smashing Victorian businesses with $5 billion in new or increased taxes, and now its union mates are putting even more pressure on Victorian jobs and businesses at exactly the worst time, with this ludicrous industrial action announced by the MUA.
“Victorians are fighting to survive and are currently enduring Labor’s fifth lockdown. Victorian families and businesses have been locked down for over six months during this pandemic. A self-indulgent strike by Labor’s mates at the MUA couldn’t be happening at a worse time.”