The union won a recent dispute in Fremantle around the provision of the hatchman in Fair Work Australia.
The MUA is waging a campaign to ensure that the hatchman position, which is vital for safe stevedoring operations remains in place. There have been consistent efforts to remove that position and the MUA has resisted that demand of employers vigorously.
Taking into account the current dire state of waterfront safety you would think common sense on this matter would prevail but clearly the temptation of removing one person to cut costs is more attractive than the safety of workers on the job.
The final outcome of the FWA hearing was as follows and is a victory for common sense and safety. The following points outline a resolution of that recent dispute but also provide for a procedure in dealing with the hatchman and any future disputation around attempts to remove this important safety related job.
1. POAGS and the MUA agree that Marine Order 32 (MO32) applies to the loading and unloading of ships at Fremantle and Kwinana.
2. In the event of a safety dispute regarding a request for the provision of a hatchman, then the matter is progressed in accordance with MO32 in the first instance with clear and specific identification of the nature of the dispute to the Person in Charge. It is agreed that the clear and specific identification of the dispute pertains to a particular piece of cargo or situation.
3. If the dispute is not resolved then a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) will be conducted in relation to the specific nature of the dispute.
4. If the dispute is still not resolved then it will be dealt with in accordance with the Dispute Resolution procedure in the P&O Automotive & General Stevedoring Pty Ltd & Maritime Union of Australia Union Collective Agreement (Fremantle) 2008 at a local level being points 24.4.1 and 24.4.2.
5. If the dispute is still not resolved then there will be a joint written request (ie. Email) to AMSA for urgent attendance to resolve the dispute.
6. The employees will perform alternative duties as directed by POAGS, if any exist while this process is being followed.
7. The parties will progress these steps as soon as possible.
8. This application will be discontinued by POAGS.
9. POAGS will deduct wages for the period of the stoppage in accordance with section 474.
10. It will be open to an employee to claim lost wages in relation to the stoppage in the appropriate forum and POAGS
has the right to defend any such claim. This is without prejudice as to whether the forum in which a claim is brought has jurisdiction.
11. The memo from Leigh Cook dated 21 September 2010 which was provided to all employees headed Dispute Resolution Procedure Compliance will remain on all employees files including employees involved in the stoppage.
12. For the employees involved in the stoppage, they will not receive a further disciplinary letter or termination in relation to the stoppage.
13. The parties agree that the whole of this agreement is without prejudice to whether industrial action has or has not occurred.
14. This is without prejudice to any rights that exist under the Fair Work Act or any other Act.
Talk to your union delegate and elected safety representatives every time the hatchman position is not filled. Make sure the job is safe.
A union workplace and an organised workplace is a safer workplace!