The Maritime Union of Australia in WA has threatened to take Mermaid Marine to the Equal Opportunity Commission if it continues to refuse to investigate an allegation of sexism in the workplace.
The MUA has approached the company on several occasions on behalf of a female union member over an incident which occurred in Dampier in December.
The member made a complaint to the Union after repeatedly raising the matter with her supervisors without it being resolved satisfactorily.
The complaint arose from an incident in which the woman’s female co worker was subjected to sexist and derogatory language over a two way radio, whichwas heard by up to 50 other workers.
“When the woman complained to her supervisor about being subjected to these belittling comments, she was told that since she was working on a wharf, she should expect this type of language,” said MUA State Secretary Christy Cain.
“A number of the woman’s female colleagues who heard this exchange over the two-way were offended by the language used and they are even more offended that the company is refusing to take the complaint seriously.”
Both the woman’s co worker and the MUA’s OH&S representative have made several complaints to the company, however the matter has not been properlyinvestigated.
“In this day and age, it’s simply not on for women to cop this type of language in the workplace,” said Mr Cain.
“These women deserve to have their complaint taken seriously and for the company and the employee involved to apologise.
“It’s unacceptable for women to be told that just because they work on a wharf, they should get used to being subject to sexist and belittling attitudes from their co workers.”
Mr Cain said if the company continued to refuse to conduct a proper investigation into the incident, the MUA would consider taking it up with the Equal Opportunity Commission.
“This is the type of behaviour towards women in the workplace that the MUA is against in all forms,” MUA's National Womens Liason Officer Mich-Elle Myers said.
“The results of the Bullying and Harassment survey last year highlighted much of this behaviour and the MUA National Council took it seriously and is taking steps to make all workplaces free from harassment and bullying.”