FWC explains suspension of MUA strikes at Patrick

The commission says the suspension will be 'beneficial' as it will help resolve the dispute

FWC explains suspension of MUA strikes at Patrick
FWC says the suspension is consistent with the objects of the Act


The Fair Work Commission (FWC) of Australia has published its reasons for suspending the protected industrial action by Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members at Patrick Stevedores for a period of 35 days.

The suspension, announced on January 22, has been in effect from the date of decision.

The FWC, acting on an application by Patrick to have the strikes cancelled pending further negotiations with the union, says the suspension is "appropriate".

"The suspension would be beneficial to the bargaining representatives because it would assist in resolving matters in dispute," the commission notes.

After considering all other relevant circumstances raised by the parties in the evidence and submissions, the commission also says that the suspension is consistent with the objects of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the public interest.

The 35-day suspension "is sufficient to enable proper discussion and consideration of revised positions and for the parties to access the assistance of [FWC] deputy president [Anna] Booth over the ensuing weeks and not deprive the parties of their options for the future," the FWC says.

All Patrick terminals across Australia were shut down for 24 hours last month as a result of an ongoing dispute between the union and Patrick over issues related to job security and pay.

The union had been planning further stoppages at Port Botany, followed by coordinated four-hour stoppages in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Patrick’s four terminals – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle – handle almost 45 per cent of all container cargo in Australia as a result the shutdowns are a huge blow to the gross domestic product.

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