MUA Successful in Retaining Wharfie Penalty Rates

The Maritime Union of Australia has had a huge win in the Fair Work Commission in retaining current penalty rates despite opposition by well-resourced stevedoring employers.

Employers, particularly Qube and DP World, were also unsuccessful in their attempts to have the working week increased from 35 hours to 38. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the ability to maintain current conditions in the current political and industrial climate was no small feat.

“The employers launched a full assault on penalty rates, not only in Fair Work, but in submissions to the Productivity Commission and through comments in the media but they were unable to establish a coherent enough argument to convince the full bench,” Crumlin said.

“The reason wharfies get decent penalty rates is because they’re expected a level of flexibility, even as a permanent employee, not comparable to any other industry and that was recognised by two out of the three Commissioners.”

The union spent a prolonged time building a case for the four-yearly Stevedoring Industry Award review in the FWC that began in January.

“We know the employers are keen to exploit the time Abbott is in Government in not just opposing our efforts to improve working conditions but to also get rid of hard earned gains such as the 35 hour working week, which was cemented in 1972,” Crumlin said.