Hutchison and MUA agree on way forward


New enterprise agreement will foreshadow a workforce-wide opportunity for voluntary redundancies

Hutchison and MUA agree on way forward
Conciliation between Hutchison Ports and the MUA has made progress

 

Hutchison Ports and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) have agreed to negotiate a new enterprise agreement that will allow for a significant number of "enhanced" voluntary redundancies.

The deal comes two months after Hutchison attempted to retrench more than one third of its workforce in Brisbane and Sydney.

The MUA appealed to the Fair Work Commission, which agreed to sit in on conciliation efforts between the two parties.

FWC deputy president Anna Booth says conciliation began after a short delay on September 23. Site meetings involving all affected staff were also put off ahead of further talks on October 8 and yesterday.

On October 8, the parties reached the in-principle agreement to rebuild the enterprise agreement.

A Federal Court action has also been discontinued with Hutchison and the MUA each bearing their own costs.

Booth says the enhanced redundancies will be offered to the entire workforce, with a "reasonableness" test in place to arbitrate where a skilled employee considered essential to the business requests a package.

Workers who take up the redundancy offer will also have the opportunity to return as casual labour, and potentially permanent employment in the future.

The new enterprise agreement is to be agreed on by November 16, though that date can be extended if required.

As part of the conciliation, both sides have agreed to not make any individual comment on the agreement.

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