Hutchinson and MUA agree to six-week process

Federal case deferred as new negotiation timetable enacted

Hutchinson and MUA agree to six-week process
Hutchinson Ports will have six weeks of talks with the MUA


Hutchinson Ports Australia and the Maritime Union (MUA) have agreed to six weeks of formal negotiations, presided over by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The two parties have been meeting regularly since 97 redundancies in Brisbane and Sydney were temporarily overturned by the Federal Court on August 13.

The full case was due to be heard next week, but will now be delayed until after the negotiations conclude, if still relevant.

FWC deputy commissioner Anna Booth says she is confident both parties are committed to resolving the issue of the staff redundancies and the long-term future of the Hutchinson terminals.

"They have reached an agreement to adjourn the Federal Court proceedings that relate to this dispute and to put their efforts into resolving this dispute through further conciliation before me," she says.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin welcomed the renewed commitment to dispute resolution.

"We look forward to the fact that if this new attitude is maintained by the company – because it certainly will be by the MUA – then a solution can be found that both deals with the difficult commercial reality the company is facing, and repairs the damage that has been done to the company’s relationship with its workers over the past few weeks," he says.

It is understood the 97 workers have not been permitted back on the Hutchinson worksites in Sydney and Brisbane, despite the Federal Court injunction against their redundancies. 

A spokesperson for the MUA confirmed the staff are being paid their regular incomes.  "Community assemblies" are continuing outside both worksites.

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