Wharfies back in old form now Gillard's in charge

They were famous for their outrageous demands until they were crushed during the Howard government

INDUSTRIAL action that would have shut down half of the Port of Melbourne for 48 hours from Sunday night has been called off, the wharfies' union says.

About 500 DP World stevedores were to stop work in Melbourne for 24 hours from 10pm (AEDT) today following an eight-month dispute between the company and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) over pay and conditions.

The company was set to retaliate with a 24-hour lock-out of its staff to begin immediately after the stoppage.

The action would have shut down half of the container terminal facilities in the Port of Melbourne for 48 hours.

After a 48-hour stoppage by the union last week in Adelaide, DP World retaliated with a 24-hour lock-out, disrupting operations for 72 hours.

The stoppage by Melbourne workers was called off on Saturday after they accepted an in-principle agreement for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

The agreement was reached following a seven-hour meeting between the union and the company in Sydney on Friday night, MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith said in a statement.

"The in-principle agreement will still need to be put to members but in the meantime it will be business as usual at the Port of Melbourne," he said.

The union was asking for a pay rise of 15 per cent over three years, improved conditions and an increase in superannuation.


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