Geelong Community Pickets Wharves

Around 60 waterside workers, family and friends assembled outside the gates of the Geelong wharves today as MUA members took 24 hour stoppage protesting poor safety and conditions

It is the third strike at Patrick ports across the country in the past two weeks, and comes as  the Maritime Union of Australia and management resume negotiations in Sydney today.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin told The Australian the strike action was the last resort, because Patrick was not negotiating in good faith.

"The company have been notified, we've met all the legal requirements and we are going through with it," he said.

"The main issue is the issue of casualisation and they continue to run with 60 per cent casuals. We're hopeful they will move on this."

Safety is also under the spotlight.

Worksafe took Patrick to the Melbourne Magistrates Court last year over alleged breaches to section 76 of the act - discrimination agaisnt OHS representative.

The decision is due to be handed down next Monday, January 17.

"We had about 70-80 people here," said Kevin Bracken, Victoria branch secretary. "A. few blokes brought their fathers, grandfathers, their kids.  We had families and retired waterside workers.The guys are very resolved.  They want an outcome that guarantees job security and safety.  A big issue is the 12 hour midnight shifts. When you do 12 hour shift at a job that involves shifting big loads of steel and bulk cargoes it's a big risk. It's a job that needs a lot concentration."

"Geelong is getting busier and busier as some business shifts from Melbourne, he said.  "The stevedoring companies are loaded up with massive debts but that's no fault of the workers," he said.  "It's no good coming back on us to make up for it."