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NATION-WIDE WHARF TIE-UP THREATENED Overtime Ban.Leads To Dismissal Of Workers MELBOURNE, Feb. 5: There is an imminent threat of a nation-wide waterfront tie-up with the decision of shipowners tonight to dismiss Melbourne waterside workers who refused to work overtime.
The overtime ban im posed by the Waterside Workers' Federation be gan today and men who were asked to work over time on many ships in Melbourne all refused to do so. The secretary of the Victor ian branch of the federation, Mr. H. Clarke, said tonight that despite the decision of the shipowners, the waterside men had been instructed by the union to return to their jobs tomorrow morning. An 'Instruction' "Some gangs have been dis missed tonight, but we have told them to return to their original jobs, believing that saner counsel will prevail and the employers will not precipitate a major crisis in the stevedoring industry by being responsible for the wholesale sus pension of waterside workers," Mr. Clarke said. The deputy chairman of the Australasian Steamship Owners' Federation (Mr. R. A. Coutts) said tonight: "As waterside work ers in Australian ports refused to
work the overtime as provided for under the orders of the Stevedor ing Industry Board, shipowners followed the usual practice in such circumstances and dismissed the men on the jobs. Shipown ers reported to the local repre sentatives of the Stevedoring In dustry Board the men's refusal to carry out an employers' in struction." 'If You Want Us' The local representative of the Stevedoring Industry Board, Mr. H. Neil, would not say tonight whether the board would suspend waterside workers who had been dismissed.- However, in the past it has been the practice for dis missed gangs brought before the board for breach of the award to be either suspended or warned and sent back to their job. Mr. Clarke said that imposition of suspensions on men who re fused to work overtime in accord ance with their union's instruc tions would only "give unwar ranted support to the Communist Party's plans for industrial dis ruption. He added: "The em ployers should refer their griev ance to the property authority, the Arbitration Court, before asking the Stevedoring Industry
Board to take any drastic action. In retprning to the job tomor row we are saying to the ship owners, 'We're here to work if you want us. If you don't want us, you are 'the people who are stopping us'." Typical of what happened to day was the case of the British freighter Coalpara. Approxi mately 100 men who had been ordered to work back until 7 p.m., put on the hatch covers and stopped the derricks at 5 p.m. and walked off. The ship is loading flour, tinned milk, wool and tallow for Singapore, Ran goon and Calcutta. Sydney Move SYDNEY, Feb. 5: Two thous and waterside workers were dis missed in Sydney late today after they had refused to work over time. The request to the men to remain back after the completion of their normal shifts was made on behalf of shipowners. The men, adhering to the de cision of the federation to ban overtime from today rejected the request and were immediately dis missed. It was stated later on be half of the Stevedoring industry Board that suspensions would not be imposed on the men and that they would be re-employed under normal conditions tomorrow. At Fremantle The first impact of the ban on overtime was felt at Fremantle yesterday when a gang of about 15 men refused to continue dis charging cargo from the Italian migrant vessel Assimina after 5 p.m. Any punitive action that might be taken will be considered today. Only 32 cases of cargo remained to' be discharged when the men refused to work over time so that the ship might sail for Melbourne last night. The vessel still sailed last night but the cargo which was to have been transhipped from Fremantle to Adelaide was left aboard the vessel and will be sent back later from Melbourne to Adelaide. After the gang had refused to work overtime, the Fremantle manager of the Melbourne Steam ship Co. Ltd. (Mr. C. C. Porter) said that the men would be re ported to the local representative of the Australian Stevedoring In dustry Board (Mr. R. W. Thomas). It is not known what action will be taken, but if the waterside workers receive dismis sal notices they can be suspended under theeort order. Full Impact The full impact of the refusal to work only the statutory eight hours in each shift will not be felt at Freinantle until tonight, when about nine ships will be re quiring labour for overtime after 5 p.m. This will be in addition to two ships-the Manoora and Nellore-which will continue to work the normal evening shift. The pay envelopes of water side workers at Fremantle will be lighter as a result of the ban. It will mean no Saturday or Sun day work and no overtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays when, under the port order, day gangs can be made to work through from 6.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. if insufficient lab our is available for the evening shift. Waterside workers-as shown in the Assimina's case will also ignore the instruction that if a ship is nearly finished loading or discharging they can be called on to work two hours' overtime to allow the vessel to sail. Yesterday Mr. Thomas took ac tion against three gangs totalling 29 men for having taken an un authorised rest period of 15 minutes while working the motor vessel Charon on Friday. He suspended each of the men for 24 hours from 8 a.m. yesterday until 8 a.m. today