The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is again calling for calm from Asciano subsidiary, Patrick, after it released a statement today outlining its intention to ballot terminal wharfies on an incomplete and unseen Enterprise Agreement (EA).
The company’s so-called ‘final offer’ was sent to the union last Wednesday and demanded decision within 48 hours, the union responded by asking for an extension until Friday, April 22.
MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said the document tabled by the company was very complex and required more than two days to investigate and initial investigations had shown that the offer was riddled with irregularities and contained a lack of clarity on previously agreed outcomes.
“Despite this offer being final, some of the terminals had been subsequently approached by local Patrick management with different offers containing opposing and contradictory claims to the ‘final offer’.
“Confusion is rife and I’m unable to ascertain any clarity on final offers 1,2 & 3 because Patrick management refuses to take my phone calls.
“When the MUA started this process a year ago, we didn’t want, or expect protracted negotiations, we’re frustrated too, but we’re not going to haphazardly agree to an 18-page document without proper consultation with the branches and membership.”
Mr Tracey said balloting the workforce was a sign of desperation that was likely to prove fruitless for Patrick.
“As an organisation that is based on democracy, we welcome the vote, which will only endorse what we the union has been telling Patrick throughout the year,” he said.
“Every single Protected Action Ballot, to date, has shown the membership are willing to fight for a fair EA even with the looming threats of lock-outs.”
“I mean how meritorious can their offer be if Patrick have to stand over the workforce to get them to agree?
“I am more than confident that the workers will overwhelmingly reject the offer and if Patrick had have taken my phone calls, I could have told them this and saved them time and money.
“Mr Badenoch says the length and nature of the negotiations has been at great cost to the business, yet they are willing to draw out the negotiations and unnecessarily spend money on this vote.”