MUA takes legal action on Patrick’s Webb Dock automation

Federal Court move follows stevedore’s FWC win over Port Botany technology upgrade

MUA takes legal action on Patrick’s Webb Dock automation
Webb Dock as it is expected to by when fully developed


Within days of stevedoring firm Patrick successfully defending a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Fair Work Commission (FWC) action against terminal automation, the union is loading its legal guns in Victoria on the same issue.

Amidst claims of a "secret" $18.5 million Victorian Government payment that it admits is "is notionally to compensate the company while Webb Dock is redeveloped" and the threat of "redundancy and casualisation" to 260 Webb Dock employees, the MUA says it will start Federal Court proceedings today against redundancies affecting 80 workers.

The union has had some difficulty in gaining Commission agreement with its industrial concerns recently.

Last year, it ordered the MUA to cease unprotected industrial action in Sydney and this month the union lost its bid for arbitration over consultation on the introduction at Port Botany of 44 automated straddle carriers of the sort used at the port of Brisbane since 2005.

"Given my involvement in the negotiations between the parties, I do not believe it could be seriously argued that Patrick has not fulfilled its obligations to properly consult with the Union and the employees and take their views into account in accordance with cl 14.2 of the Agreement," Fair Work Commission Deputy President Peter Sams finds.

"The fact is that Patrick modified the model, in part, as a result of the views of the Union."

The Sydney AutoStrad deployment as part of automation of the terminal has been delayed until next year after 30 of the 44 AutoStrads were damaged during shipping.

Damage includes bent side-frames, torn side frame welds, bent walkways and landings and spreader damage.

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