Esperance Port industrial action averted as Commissioner intervenes

Industrial action scheduled for Esperance Port today has been averted, following the intervention of Fair Work Commissioner Danny Cloghan.

Rolling stoppages of 24 hours each were schedule to commence today by 80 stevedores and maintenance workers at the Port, following the Board’s rejection of a compromise deal for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiated between Port and employee negotiators.  

Negotiations for the new EBA have been ongoing for more than 10 months.

Maritime Union of Australia WA Branch (MUAWA) organiser Jeff Cassar said the Commissioner’s intervention provided another opportunity to reach agreement, without strike action.

“Industrial action is always a last resort for the MUAWA, but we felt we had no choice after the Port’s Board rejected a compromise deal brokered by its own negotiators and agreed to by the MUA,” Mr Cassar said.

“Feedback from the Port led us to believe Transport Minister Dean Nalder had directed the Board to reject the compromise agreement, but Commissioner Cloghan has since clarified with the Port that the Board is the decision maker in these negotiations.

“This was supported by the Minister’s comments in the media last week, where he said the Esperance Port has the right to negotiate independently of the wages policy of government.

“It was good to get clarification on these issues, because we had been advised by the Port for ten months that they were constrained by the State Government’s wages policy.”

Commissioner Cloghan will visit Esperance Port on 11th August to meet with both the Port and employee representatives.  Mr Cassar said the MUAWA looked forward to the opportunity to argue its case.

“The MUAWA sees this as a really constructive development, that will allow us to explain the productivity boosts we have offered as a part of our effort to win a pay rise for our members.”