AMMA must put up or shut up after Senate inquiry submission

The Maritime Union of Australia has called on the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) to provide firm evidence that cooks and cleaners in the offshore oil and gas industry are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment Bill, AMMA claimed that a cleaner aboard a vessel servicing the offshore oil and gas industry had earned “several hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

The Union has long argued that AMMA has presented inflated wages claims about MUA members as part of its industrial relations agenda, and has called on the industry group to put up or shut up.

“The MUA calls on AMMA to name the vessel on which cleaners in the offshore oil and gas industry had earned hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and provide the payment summaries of those workers to prove it,” MUAWA Secretary Christy Cain said.

“If AMMA cannot provide these basic details, then it is clearly misleading the Senate inquiry with its submission, as well as misleading the Australian community.

Mr Cain said the MUA has written to the Senate’s Education and Employment Legislation Committee to provide a copy of research undertaken by BIS Shrapnel and other evidence to refute the AMMA claims.

“Research undertaken by BIS Shrapnel found that maritime wages make up less than 1 per cent of the cost of building projects like Gorgon,” he said.

“BIS Shrapnel also found that AMMA was inflating its claims about maritime wages by more than 40 per cent. At that time, AMMA was claiming cooks in the offshore industry earned $230,000. In its media statements, it is now claiming cooks earn $355,000 per year.

“The MUA can provide tax payment summaries of workers to prove earnings of less than half this amount and we challenge AMMA to provide payment summaries that support their argument.

“It is one thing to mislead the Australian people, but it is another thing to mislead a Senate inquiry. We call upon AMMA to fully disclose the information they are basing their inflated claims on.

“If they cannot substantiate their inflated claims, they should apologise to the Australian people and to the Senate and they should take no further part in national debate.”