Patrick’s Payday As Webb Dock Workforce Is Culled

The Maritime Union of Australia is calling on the Victorian Government to explain why it is providing Patrick Stevedores with $18.5 million as the company sacks 80 workers and casualises nearly three quarters of its Webb Dock stevedoring workforce.

Patrick is being relocated due to the Victorian Government’s redevelopment of Webb Dock. The company is using the relocation as an excuse to begin offering redundancies to its 260-strong stevedoring workforce.

Yet, despite the round of redundancies and casualisation, the Victorian Government is paying the company $18.5 million in compensation.

Patrick and the Victorian Government had consistently refused reveal the size of the taxpayer funded payment until it was revealed in parent company, Asciano’s half yearly profit report last week.

“It’s a disgrace that taxpayers’ money is being used in this way,” MUA Assistant National Secretary, Ian Bray said.

“You would expect that any Government assistance would result in more jobs, not fewer.

“Not one cent is being used to retain or create a job at a time when permanent jobs are at a premium in Victoria.”

The MUA is also deeply concerned that Patrick is breaching part A, clause 10.2 of its enterprise bargaining agreement with the MUA, which is intended to prevent casualisation:

"It is the intent to minimise Supplementary employees in areas covered by this document."

 The EBA also states at Part B, clause 17.3

 "In the event that the Victorian State Government or any of its agencies, agree to pay Patrick Stevedores financial compensation for the compulsory cessation of operations at Webb Dock. The Company commits to hold discussions with the union on the availability of additional redundancy arrangements that may be funded as part of any such compensation payment."

“If Patrick gets its way, three out of four workers at the site will have to sit by the phone to be told two hours before a shift that they will be required and there will be 19 different start times for shifts each day.

“Casualised employment makes it difficult for workers to get home or car loans, let alone join a sports team or plan to watch their kids play sport on a Saturday.

“They are seeking to abolish the roster that gives workers an indication of when they work and when they can spend time with family.”