Darwin Wharfies Victory Over Patrick

Today MUA members at Patrick bulk and general, Darwin will be gathering at their local pub to have a few beers and toast the union victory over Patrick. Last week Fairwork Australia upheld the stand by MUA wharfies, that the company could not unilaterally do away with shift work and introduce day work.

Congratulations to the MUA members at Patrick Stevedores. Patrick MUA Rank and File with support from their committee, officials and comrades from around Australia fought and triumphed over an insatiable corporate giant. After almost 12 months of unsuccessful attempts to convince the company that their plan was unreasonable Fair Work Australia handed down a decision in our favour.

Patrick attempted to introduce a new class of employee with reduced rates of pay and no roster. The Patrick money grab was disguised as permanency but the members could see the wolf in sheeps clothing.

After successfully introducing composite rates in late 2008 it was only several months before the company tried to corrupt the agreement. Their strategy involved allocating the permanent employees to a large majority of day shifts to give the appearance of an unbalanced salary. Using the fudged data and under the guise of creating more permanency they attempted to use a loophole in the award in combination with the parts that suited them in the agreement, to introduce day work only permanents who would do all stevedoring duties for a lower hourly rate than the composite rate. PGEs recognised that if the new arrangements were introduced a majority of their work would be forced into evenings, nights and weekends when their composite rates were worth the least compared to wages and overtime.

If Patrick had been successful the new arrangement would have spread like cancer throughout the industry possibly spelling the end of the level of conditions full time permanent employees have enjoyed.


Darwin Branch Committee