Melbourne Port - Industrial Action

Melbourne Port - Industrial Action


Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) is facing imminent disruption from industrial action.

This is in the face of a union agenda to force Australia’s first fully automated container terminal to comply with “industry standards” by adopting the incompatible hours, manning and overtime conditions that govern the manually operated terminals around Australia.

Adoption of such conditions would see the terminal saddled with inappropriate working arrangements, its efficiencies seriously compromised, and its potential to achieve profitability put at risk, VICT warns. 

Stoppage & Bans

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has given notice of stoppage in the terminal

  • 4 hours stoppage Tuesday 16th February from 16:00 to 20:00.
  • 12-hour shift on Friday, 19 February, commencing 6:00pm. 
  • Further 12-hour shift bans are threatened for Sunday, 21 February at 6.00 am, following immediately by a 24-hour ban commencing at 18.00, 21 February - therefore incurring a 36-hour concurrent stoppage of all VICT’s operations and equipment maintenance.
  • From Monday February 22, VICT’s control room will be banned from operating cranes unless the operations of each crane is unnecessarily manned by a dedicated quayside supervisor.
    • These restrictive work practices would impose on VICT’s automated technology workplace organisation favoured by the MUA that is still in place at manned terminals around Australia. VICT’s technology and Safe Working Method Statements allows the safe operation of cranes without dedicated supervisors.
  • In addition the MUA has imposed an indefinite ban on overtime, various restrictions on communications phone use and bans on interaction with anyone outside Australia.      


Considering VICT’s market share is 34% of containers destined for the Port of Melbourne, shipping lines will face delays in bringing supplies to Melbourne.

This will affect particularly the A3C service which operates the largest vessels that must call VICT.


The MUA is demanding wage increases equivalent to between 5.8% to 11% each year over 3 years for certain roles, with overtime and penalty rates to rise by 50% to 100% from current rates. The MUA is also seeking a paid week off every 10 weeks, plus reduced shifts in the 9th week, effectively reducing time worked by 11.4%.

The MUA roster would require an additional panel of employees to make the operation viable, requiring a 25% increase in labor numbers, 11.4% fewer hours for everyone, plus a wage increase of up to 20%.



The Whale Team will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.


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