Farstad faces workplace strike over offshore rosters

By: Paul Howell

Maritime Union will take protected industrial action against marine contractor Farstad this weekend.

Farstad faces workplace strike over offshore rosters
On strike


A broad strike is expected to impact on marine contractor Farstad in Western Australia from this weekend.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has given the company notice of four consecutive 24-hour work stoppages, beginning at 4am on Saturday November 15.

Almost 300 workers are expected to be involved, including cooks, stewards and seafarers.

MUA WA branch assistant secretary Will Tracey says the union is demanding far more family-friendly rosters for its members.

He wants to see Farstad and the relevant employer association the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) change the five weeks on, five weeks off policy to one of four weeks on and four weeks off.

"Maritime workers at Farstad are currently away from their families for five weeks at a time, putting severe pressure on their own mental health," he says.

"While we have been happy to negotiate over wages, the mental health of our members is not something we are willing to negotiate over."

Farstad is one of 22 companies servicing the offshore oil and gas industry in north Western Australia.

AMMA executive director Scott Barklamb says the strike action is "reckless" and makes little sense for employees.

"While AMMA acknowledges and is an active participant in the wider national debate about fly-in fly-out rosters and mental health, unfortunately the MUA appears to be using this issue as a smokescreen to deliberately inflict economic harm against an important maritime employer," he says.

Barklamb says the existing five week ‘swings’ are critically important to Australia’s offshore gas projects.

Under the MUA proposal, each of Farstad’s vessels will suffer from more "dead days" (when not involved in revenue-generating contract work) and cost the company up to $120,000 a year.

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