Unions combine to boost battle at Port
The New South Wales secretary for the Transport Workers Union says a conglomerate of Unions in the state have come together to force the Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) in the port of Newcastle to address safety concerns.
TWU Secretary Wayne Forno says long-running disputes have brought the Unions together in the name of safety, with industrial action considered following a number of serious accidents.
Mr Forno says the Transport Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Electrical Trades Union and Australian Workers Union have formed a united front known as the Single Bargaining Unit to take the plight of the workers to the coal port operators.
Forno says in one instance; “PWCS management replaced union members with inexperienced workers... the company's use of inexperienced workers caused a coal spillage, with tonnes of coal spewing from a coal loader onto the wharf and the deck of the ship... the coal loader was badly damaged after it collided with the ship, which caused delays up to 12 hours.”
He believes the port bosses will have to pay attention now so many workers’ representative bodies have come together, saying “PWCS management ought to know better about the real dangers and risks that can arise in relation to workers' health and safety... On its website, PWCS prides itself on taking precautionary measures to ensure workers' safety in a potentially dangerous work environment... then it should put its money where its mouth is and get real about its commitment to safe work practices and the health and safety of workers.”