MUA gears up for action at Dampier


Fair Work Australia gives Maritime Union the go-ahead to ballot Patrick members at Port Dampier in Western Australia

MUA gears up for action at Dampier
MUA gears up for action at Dampier

By Anna Game-Lopata | April 26, 2013

Fair Work Australia has given the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) the go-ahead to ballot Patrick Stevedores members at Port Dampier in Western Australia.

At a hearing last week Commissioner Daniel Cloghan endorsed a protected action ballot the MUA proposed to prompt Dampier Port members to strike over their enterprise agreeement which expired June 30, 2011.

The union has been negotiating the terms of the Patrick Bulk and General Ports Enterprise Agreement 2010 Dampier with Patrick Stevedores Holdings since last year.

An initial
log of claims was presented to Patrick Stevedores Holdings in July 2012.

Commissioner Cloghan notes the first meeting between the parties took place August 1, 2012 with two further discussions since, the latest being held by teleconference on 17 April this year.

Neither the MUA or Patrick’s parent company Asciano would comment on the matter at this current time, however in his documentation, Commissioner Cloghan says "the major difference between the parties relates to wages and what the MUA representative described as a ‘sign-on’ bonus."

"At the conclusion of the hearing, I was satisfied that the MUA has been, and is, genuinely trying to reach agreement with the employer whose employees are to be balloted," the Commissioner says.

According to the Fair Work Australia documentation Patrick Stevedores has advised both the commission and the MUA that it did not oppose the ballot, which closes May 16.

Should the Dampier Port employees vote in favour, the resulting protected industrial action could comprise "an unlimited number of stoppages of 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours duration, possibly arranged consecutively.

The ballot will also ask members if they support an unlimited number of stoppages of 7 days duration and an unlimited number of bans on the performance of shift extensions beyond 7 hours for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile international maritime union representatives will meet in Sydney on Monday to discuss global automation.

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin, who is also president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) will address the two-day strategy conference which is closed to the media.

While the MUA declined to elaborate on the agenda of the conference or its possible findings, topics are expected to cover the implications for dockers of past, present and future automation of world ports.

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