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"Jill coast" loading dispute defines waterfront absurdity



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MEDIA RELEASE JOHN SHARP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GILMORE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SHIPPING AND WATERFRONT REFORM

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Tel 0 6 2 7 7 4213, Fax 0 6 2 7 7 2 1 2 4

"JILL COAST" LOADING DISPUTE DEFINES W ATERFRONT ABSURDITY

A dispute over the loading of the "Jill Coast" in Fremantle with non-WWF labour is a classic example of the absurdity of the cost of the Australian waterfront - and of the way in which Australian producers are being burdened with the crippling costs of the WWF's stranglehold over the supply of labour on the waterfront.

The Fremantle stand-off is a shameful example of the cost of the WWF monopoly on the waterfront, and of the gains that there are to be made from opening the industry to full competition.

The vessel is under picket from the WWF because the owner, with a contract that includes loading the vessel, has chosen to contract his own labour rather than the WWF labour of the two main stevedoring companies. Faced with prohibitive quotes for loading its cargo of potatoes of $36 per tonne and $30 per tonne, the shipowner contracted non- WWF labour for $7-50 per tonne!

He has assured the Opposition that he has no prejudice against employing union labour, at competitive rates.

The Western Australian Government's Potato Marketing Board, the owners of the cargo, are now urging him to re-negotiate the contract so that WWF labour could load the ship, despite the extraordinary difference in price, and in spite of the need of the producers to get the greatest competitive edge in their market.

The case shows how the costs of the waterfront are blown out by the enormous surplus labour problem which has resulted from the Government's refusal to allow waterfront managers the ability to manage their workforce flexibly, as happens in other sectors.

Despite the Interstate Commission's observation that it "considers that a corollary to the new regime of enterprise employment is the disappearance of levies", this has not happened. In fact, proposals are being put at this moment to the Government to allow an extension and increase of levies in order to accommodate the surplus labour problem.

The "Jill Coast" provides an excellent example of the savings to users that are possible from the Coalition's policies, including ending the job for life on the waterfront, establishing voluntary unionism, and abolishing the levies .

Ends............WR32/92

7-5-92 C O M M O N W E A L T H

PA R LIA M EN TA R Y LIBRARY M IC A H

Contact: John Wallis A/H 06 277 4213