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MUA gives Patrick Terminals some breathing space

Industrial action curtailed for month in midst of peak season


Some rare good news has emerged from the waterfront with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) easing its industrial action against the stevedore, Patrick Terminals, for a month.

Patrick applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last week seeking to terminate industrial action being undertaken by the MUA, citing the significant economic harm that the action was causing.

It also sought to end its enterprise agreement with the union.

“As part of this process, Patrick Terminals and the MUA attended a long conciliation session this morning at the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to resolve these matters before the hearing date,” the company said.

“The outcome of this conciliation session is that the MUA have today agreed to provide an undertaking to the Fair Work Commission that all notified and ongoing industrial action will be withdrawn effective from this afternoon, with no further action to be notified before 10 December 2021.

“Our focus is now on ensuring our terminals return to normal on-schedule operations as quickly as possible and we are focused on supporting Australia’s economic recovery

“We continue to engage with the MUA on a daily basis in an effort to finalise an enterprise agreement.”

Read how the CTAA described Melbourne peak season woes, here

The welcome move comes hours after industry body Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) warned the wheels were falling off container-haulage productivity in Melbourne, due to a combination of issues exacerbated by industrial action.

It had also complained about stevedore intransigence in dealings with haulage interests during a time of huge disruption.

“Before the FWC conciliation outcome, Patrick had indicated its intention not to extend storage dates for import containers stuck in its Melbourne terminal despite the lack of available vehicle booking slots,” CTAA noted on the latest development.

“As part of its recovery plans, CTAA hopes that Patrick will now adjust import availability and storage dates for impacted containers in all of its terminals so as to not unduly penalise importers.

“We hope too that the fairly heavy export slot demand in all terminals will be able to be worked through appropriately to ensure that export consignments don’t miss their intended vessels.”


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