The Maritime Union of Australia has agreed to accept the 16.5% wage offer over four years from marine contractor Tidewater, as part of its EBA negotiations.
The current EBA expired on the 31st July 2013, but the MUA has been in negotiations with Tidewater for almost 18 months.
“The MUA has shown its willingness to negotiate by reducing its wage claim from 22%, and has now accepted the 16.5% on the table,” said MUA Assistant Secretary Will Tracey.
Mr Tracey said industry group the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA), which bargains on behalf of Tidewater, had been trying to make out that these negotiations were all about money.
“They’ve been attempting to paint our members as greedy for simply wanting fair wages for doing very tough jobs in challenging conditions,” he said.
“Now that we have accepted the wage offer, we want to continue negotiations over our most important claims regarding job security for qualified Australian seafarers and more family friendly rosters.”
Mr Tracey said the union would continue to push for Tidewater to agree to employ properly trained and qualified local workers before foreign crews were considered.
“It’s in the national interest for local workers to be trained, qualified and given the opportunity to work on these projects, and for them to be paid well, so they can spread the benefits across our economy.”
The MUA also wanted workers to move from a five weeks on, five weeks off roster to a more family-friendly four on, four off, to bring them into line with other workers in the industry.
Mr Tracey said he hoped the union’s acceptance of the wage offer would allow negotiations to proceed.
“The MUA has already secured the right to take protected industrial action if AMMA and Tidewater continue to bargain in bad faith,” he said.
“However, we have been granted an extension of time in which to take that action in the hope that AMMA and Tidewater will start being reasonable.”
The extension for industrial action expires around the 3rd March 2014.
For more information, see www.nationalinterest.com.au