The WA Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has slammed offshore marine services company Farstad for dismissing the demand of its workforce for more family-friendly rosters.
Almost 300 cooks, stewards and seafarers aboard 25 Farstad vessels are currently undertaking 24-hours of protected industrial action as a part of a campaign for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).
The MUA has been in EBA negotiations with Farstad for almost two years.
The previous EBA expired in June 2013, and MUA members received their last pay increase in July 2012.
Farstad today issued a media release attacking the MUA for being concerned about the mental health of its members by prioritising family-friendly rosters in its negotiations.
Responding to the media release, MUA WA Branch Assistant Secretary Will Tracey said it was disappointing that Farstad was being so dismissive of the wishes of its own workforce.
“As Farstad well knows, the MUA undertakes separate and independent negotiations with every employer in the offshore industry,” Mr Tracey said.
“The 300 workers we represent at Farstad tell us that family-friendly rosters are their number one priority. Our job as a union is to represent the interests of our members, and this is reflected in us prioritising family-friendly rosters in our negotiations with this employer.
“Farstad’s media release today reveals an employer who, while losing the argument, is now resorting to attacks on the messenger.”
Mr Tracey said it was not surprising that workers would prioritise different issues at different stages of negotiations.
“We have been negotiating for almost two years, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that family-friendly rosters are becoming more important, the longer these projects go for and the more time workers spend away from their families,” he said.
“From the outset, we have said we are seeking local jobs, fair wages and family friendly rosters in our negotiations. It is a shame that it takes us having to resort to protected industrial action for Farstad to listen to what we are saying on behalf of their workforce.”