Members from Sydney ferries turned out at Sydney Town Hall to overwhelmingly endorse their new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement with private contractor Harbour City Ferries with 97% of the 245 that turned out voting in favour.
The agreement comes after nearly a year of negotiations with the company which were often hostile and saw industrial action in May and June. Amongst other outcomes, the Union has secured a further two years of no forced redundancies and seen a modest increases to wages whilst ensuring that every worker continues to have both a job, as well as a career path despite the changing transport environment.
One of the most significant achievements is the introduction of new consultative clauses which commits the management to meaningfully engaging with the union and its delegates regarding not only changes to the business, but the general running of the business. The EBA also introduced oral saliva swab testing for random drug testing.
Another significant win was the introduction of new domestic violence leave which gives access to paid special leave for those who have suffered from domestic violence and need time away from the workplace.
Assistant Sydney Branch Secretary Paul Garrett said the members should be congratulated for remaining staunch throughout the negotiating process.
“It’s not easy for delegates who have to face the very people who hold the key to their employment while they demand better wages and conditions,” Garrett said.
“Fortunately the MUA delegates on the ferries are a strong bunch and they managed to retain their composure throughout the process. This is the first operational EBA since privatisation and despite the aggressive slash-and-burn approach that management originally had towards ferry workers wages and conditions, there has been no diminishment to those entitlements.”