The Maritime Union of Australia today said it hoped the 24-hour protected industrial action affecting Farstad Shipping (commencing from 12am November 29) would focus ongoing negotiations on the key matter of a construction allowance, enabling seafarers' parity with riggers and other construction workers performing similar tasks.
"In conciliation we agreed to further dates for negotiations, November 30, and December 7 and 14 and we intend to approach those negotiations in good faith. Farstad has to understand though that we still have a way to go in negotiating here", said Mick Doleman, deputy national secretary of the MUA.
"When our members voted to take protected action under the Fair Work Australia they won the legal right to take these actions. The fact that Fair Work Australia granted us the right of industrial action is in itself recognition that a claim for higher rates prevailing in similar workplaces is considered a valid one.
"During our last conciliation meeting the MUA agreed to make concessions in its claim but Farstad didn't give an inch.
"Settlement of the parity issue at the commencement of a range of offshore oil and gas projects - that will be a feature of the Australian resources industry for several decades - will ensure projects operate without such issues arising at more critical times in the construction schedule. It will provide a basis for stable industrial relations for years to come", said Doleman.
"So for the AMMA today to describe this dispute as a "short-term benefit for a select few" is short sighted. What is being argued here is crucial for the future".