Waterfront war averted-for now


A last minute appeal to Australia's Fair Work Tribunal succeeds in preventing nationwide strikes on the wharves

Waterfront war averted-for now
Waterfront war averted-for now

By Anna Game-Lopata | April 11, 2011

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has agreed to call off industrial action it had threatened
to start over the
weekend.

The
union cancelled the bans following a conciliatory Fair Work Australia hearing on Friday
in return for
a
revised offer on the table from Patrick Stevedores to the union's existing log of claims.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman says it seems at the eleventh hour
the two sides
have made some real progress.

"We have now secured a commitment from Patrick to provide a revised offer on our existing claims by next Tuesday," Doleman says.

"This is the commitment - this, at last, is the certainty - our members have waited for since the stalemate began in January," he says.

"With the company's offer on the table by Tuesday, negotiations can finally progress in good faith."

However Doleman says the possibility of further action is still a possibility.

"We have secured a 30-day extension to our legal rights to industrial action as achieved by a ballot which was declared on March 16," he says.

A spokesperson from Patrick says the company
is pleased that the planned strike action has been called off, but more importantly that the union has agreed to return to the negotiating table.

"We look forward to working towards a fair and reasonable outcome for our employees that delivers productivity improvements at our ports that will ultimately benefit all Australians," the spokesperson says.

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