Patrick makes final pay offer, sets 5pm deadline


The company is contemplating locking out workers if the MUA does not accept the offer today

Patrick makes final pay offer, sets 5pm deadline
With further MUA strikes planned for next week, the company is hoping to resolve the issue soon.

 

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has until 5pm today to accept the "final" pay offer by Patrick Stevedores or it would consider taking penalty actions, one of which includes locking out workers across all its terminals.

Announcing its final offer yesterday, the company said the extended industrial action across all its terminals was affecting the company’s business and its clients.

The final offer in the four-year proposed contract includes a one per cent increase in salary during the first year, 2.5 per cent during the second, and 2.75 per cent each during the next two years.

Patrick senior executive Alexandra Badenoch says the proposed pay hike exceeds inflation rates over the time period.

The proposal is "very appropriate and better than CPI over the agreement’s four years", she says.

"Due to the protracted nature of the negotiations and the MUA’s approach, we need to offset the high cost to the business and our customers from 14 days’ strikes and counting.

"Furthermore, the Union has offered zero productivity improvements.

"When we started these talks 12 months ago we put on the table increases of three per cent annually, provided we could roll over the previous agreement and that the Union refrain from industrial action.

"Unfortunately for our employees, the Union’s self-interest took priority over that of its members.

"The business climate has changed for the worse since then and so like any offer from any business we need to reflect external realities and pressures."

Speaking about the potential lockout at all terminals in case the Union does not come through on the company’s final offer, Badenoch says the move is not "ideal" but may be needed since the periodic strikes were affecting Patrick’s business and efficiency of the supply chain industry.

"We have studiously avoided the lockout option because we see it as not an ideal place to get to but it needs to be a real consideration for us as we move forward.

"We are now being subjected to numerous bouts of industrial action, not only in Fremantle but across the country, so we are going to have to weigh up those options seriously early next week, depending on what response we get."

The two sides have been embroiled in a bitter dispute over contract negotiations since last year, with the union threatening to take industrial action at Fremantle, Brisbane and Melbourne terminals next week.

The Union has condemned the company for setting up an "arbitrary deadline" and expecting a response to a heavily cross-referenced 18-page document.

"The actions across the various terminals are because of both national and local claims and the company seeks to shift the goal posts each time we reach the position they state they seek," Deputy national secretary Will Tracey says. 
  
The Union says the planned strike at Fremantle is not related to the national pay dispute issue or the 48-hour stoppage at Sydney this week, but an ongoing dispute over the rostering schedule.

"Both Fremantle and Port Botany have outstanding local issues around the roster that applies to permanents and we are seeking some certainty for workers over hours of work within a framework of the flexibility required to service a modern stevedoring company.
  
"Both roster claims meet the stated outcomes the company sought/demanded at the start of negotiations and present a cost neutral outcome against the current situation in each port.
  
"All four terminals have issues with Patrick reneging on its initial salary offer in the space of a week — something we haven’t encountered in negotiations with this company since we first began the process of enterprise agreement negotiations in the early 1990s."

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