DP World settlement comes at long-term cost

“Australian industry from coast to coast will welcome the in-principle resolution of the prolonged dispute between DP World and the Maritime Union of Australia (A division of the CFMEU). The dispute has caused significant damage across the economy, impacting both importers and exporters who have seen long delays, increased costs, shortages of vital materials and loss of contracts due to being unable to fulfill orders,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said.

“The container backlog will take weeks to clear meaning those delays and increased costs are likely to continue for some time.

“While the settlement of the dispute is welcome it will also come at a long-term cost for industry and consumers. The agreement involves a series of wage increases well above the current inflation rate (which is on the downturn) as well as projected inflation which will inevitably lead to increased costs and charges for industry and end consumers in the years ahead.

“The impact of the dispute has shown how vulnerable key parts of our economy are to disruption on our ports. One in four Australian jobs relies on trade and the great bulk of that trade goes through Australian ports which really should be designated as pieces of critical infrastructure for the national economy.

“It is deeply unfortunate that the dispute rolled on for months. Protracted enterprise bargaining that causes pain across our economy is not how enterprise bargaining is meant to work.

“It would have been better if the federal government had used its influence to resolve the dispute earlier rather than simply verbally beating up the company involved. That it didn’t intervene gives industry concern that it will stand by in similar disputes in the future and not play a role to resolve differences in disputes that have widespread economic consequences,” Mr Willox said.

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