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Maritime strike may damage economy: ACCI

Strike action by a group of maritime workers off the West Australian coast is putting Australia’s economy at risk, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has warned.

About 200 employees of Farstad Shipping in Western Australia’s north west, the Bass Strait and the Timor Sea, walked off the job on the weekend over pay disputes. The employees are also planning another strike today (Tuesday) after being granted approval by industrial umpire Fair Work Australia.

ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said the pay dispute is causing damage to Australia’s off shore oil and gas sector.

“We are now at that threshold where a significant part of the Australian economy… is being affected in a substantial way,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“I don’t think you can underestimate the damage that is done if Australia is not seen as a reliable supplier in this industry.”

Anderson has urged the Federal Government to step in and resolve the conflict before more damage is done to the economy.

The maritime union is demanding a 30 percent pay rise over three years, or up to $300 a day extra for the workers.