Unifor Local 4624 workers met with Sydney Mayor Cecil Clarke after being told they no longer had jobs due to a Sydney Ports Corp. decision to hire non-unionized workers ahead of the upcoming cruise ship season.
"It is nothing more than pure arrogance from Sydney Ports Corp. Inc. to dismiss the workers and their union rights without any discussion," said Linda MacNeil, National Representative for Unifor. "This could also impact the strong economic stimulus the cruise ship season brings to the City of Sydney and surrounding communities."
The municipality leases the dock to Sydney Ports Corp. MacNeil pointed to the arrival of a new company, Logistec, last year as a good example of how to avoid any interruptions in service at the dock. Logistec signed a memorandum of agreement recognizing the union and no labour disruptions occurred.
MacNeil said he is confident that city council will act quickly to address this issue ahead of the May 7 start to the cruise ship season.
The sudden change in staffing has also raised questions about how the Sydney Ports Corp. plans to operate in the future.
“This is the kind of act we'd expect from a multinational corporation with no roots in our community, not from one of our own," said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director.