MUA strike would cost shipping industry 'millions': ASA


Shipping representative body says a union strike action may cost business "millions" of dollars in lost revenue

November 17, 2009

An shipping company hit with a union strike action in Western Australia over wages may suffer a significant loss in revenue which will also affect the others in the industry, according to the Australian Shipowners Association (ASA).

Employees at Farstad Shipping in Western Australia are calling for an annual allowance of over $90,000 per person as well as a wage offer of 30 percent over 3 years.

The company lodged an application with Fair Work Australia (FWA) for it to deal with a bargaining dispute, which is being run by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

The ASA claims the strike has the potential to cost the sector "millions" of dollars in lost revenue.

"The effect of the excessive wage increase to a group of seafarers will be felt right through the shipping industry," ASA Executive Director Teresa Hatch says.

"The pool of people trained in this kind of work is not inexhaustible and the force of the labour market will see the most highly paid jobs filled and the other employers having to lift salaries in an attempt to keep their staff".

Hatch says shipowners are already struggling to keep their operating costs down t to compete directly with foreign ships which have much less expensive workforces.

"Australian shipowners want to see a regime where it makes good business sense to own and operate a ship in Australia and we will continue to work with the government to achieve that aim," Hatch says.

"We hope that the MUA is able to reach reasonable agreement with Farstad and the other offshore companies so that we can get on with looking after the bigger picture of securing a competitive Australian shipping industry for the future."


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