Industrial Actions in Australia Update

Port/sAll Ports
Issue TypeIndustrial Actions
ImpactPartial Closure

Please see below the latest information regarding Industrial Actions in Australia

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has confirmed it will commence the hearing on whether or not to suspend or terminate the industrial action from 1pm AEDT tomorrow (Thursday 17 November 2022).

The FWC indicated that the intention is for a decision to be made for the matter to be concluded before the commencement of the lockout at 12pm AEDT, Friday 18 November.

In the meantime, it is important to note that all protected industrial action (including the lockout) remains in place.

This includes extensive and ongoing industrial action already notified by the unions.

This includes work stoppages at the below ports (in addition to ongoing bans on training, using certain Svitzer systems, training and performing recalls).

Ongoing Union Protected Industrial Action

The protected industrial action notified by the unions includes:

  • A 24-hour stoppage in Newcastle (from midnight tonight until 00:01 18 November)
  • A 12-hour stoppage in Albany (from 7am 17 November)
  • A 12-hour stoppage in Fremantle (from 7am 17 November) (as well as a 3.25 day ban on overtime)
  • A 4-hour stoppage in Geraldton (from midnight to 4am 17 November)
  • A 24-hour stoppage in Kwinana (from 8am 17 November) (as well as a 3.25 day ban on overtime)
  • A 4-hour stoppage in Adelaide (from midnight to 4am 17 November)
  • A 4-hour stoppage in Port Pirie (from midnight to 4am 17 November)
  • A 24 hour ban in Sydney on the service of certain shipping line customers (these customers have already been advised) and on performing overtime and relief work.

Port of Brisbane

Maritime Safety Queensland and Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd have been reviewing port operations in light of the Svitzer initiated lockout, commencing at 11:00 on Friday 18 November 2022. MSQ is working on the assumption there will be no tug services (including towage and emergency response activities) from this time.

It is acknowledged that there are a number of safety considerations, that will invariably have commercial repercussions, however MSQ must make port operational decisions based upon the risk parameters that Svitzer’s withdrawal of services will have.

As part of this ongoing risk analysis, as detailed above, the contingent capability usually provided by tugs in the event of unforeseen emergencies will not be available during the indefinite lockout period.

Based on the above assessment, current port scheduling will require the following to occur prior to 11:00 on Friday 18 November:

  • Departure of all trading vessels berthed above Pelican Banks.
  • Departure of all high windage trading vessels, including all RORO vessels and container vessels with LOA 250m and over, from the Fisherman Island precinct.
  • The number of arriving trading vessels may need to be limited in the intervening period, to ensure adequate resources are available to meet the berth clearance criteria mentioned above.
  • Inner anchorage will be closed during the lockout period.
  • MSQ will liaise with AMSA regarding the use of the outer anchorage and instructions to Masters about drifting offshore.

Vessels that meet the criteria to remain alongside Fisherman Island precinct berths will be assessed by the RHM Brisbane on a case-by-case basis. Agents and terminals should note that any subsequent departure is unlikely to be approved until towage support returns to the port.

VTS will work with agents, terminals and service providers to develop a shipping schedule to reflect the above criteria.

Port of Fremantle

Due to Protected Industrial Action called by Svitzer A-Class towage service provider crews, towage services will not be available for shipping movements during this period.

Additionally, commencing 18 November 2022 / 0900 hours SVITZER has announce that they will be locking out all crews from their A-Class towage assets.

In order to prevent vessels from being held alongside for an unforeseen period of time and as a safety and emergency management consideration, Fremantle Ports is planning to evacuate the Inner and Outer Harbours in the below manner. The evacuation will be planned in a manner so as to minimise operational disruption to vessels, terminals and port customers.

  • All Outer Harbour berths will be cleared latest by Thursday 17 November / 0800 hours.
  • All Inner Harbour berths will be cleared between Thursday 17 November / 1900 hours and Friday 18 November / 0900 hours (commencement of lockout).

Vessels affected will be returned to berth once towage services are restored.