MUA Urges Farstad To Make Formal Offer

Brand shipping industry group protestors as “Chicken Little”

The Maritime Union of Australia has urged the management of Farstad Shipping to get serious about negotiations and produce a genuine formal offer rather than a scribbled note over lunch.

“After negotiations with the MUA on Monday, management went to lunch and produced a scribbled note with a proposition no more advanced than three months ago”, said Mick Doleman assistant secretary of the MUA.

“Rather than put a formal offer on the table Farstad is looking at ways of avoiding any payment of an equitable construction allowance to maritime workers. Workers are entirely justified in seeking an allowance for a construction role that makes additional specific demands on them, consistent with what other workers of the same skill level are paid working along side them.

From 12.01am next Saturday December 12 the MUA will conduct a protected industrial action for 48 hours at Farstad.

Mr Doleman also branded dire criticisms of union activity in the offshore oil and gas industry by industry groups as highly exaggerated “Chicken Little” protests.

“Let’s be clear. The sky is not falling over these negotiations. At the centre of the talks is an allowance for construction which represents a small percentage of the operations of a company like Farstad and likewise of the maritime workforce. The situation isn’t far different for other companies like Total Marine Services and Go Offshore, both also subject to protected industrial action”, said Mick Doleman, assistant secretary of the MUA.

“For the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) to say the MUA is determined to “scuttle” the entire industry and “threaten the livelihood of thousands” is typical of the hyperbole and spin the shipping camp has produced from the start. They’ll have the MUA plotting a mini-sub invasion next.

“The fact is that when our members voted to take protected action under the Fair Work Act they won the legal right to take these actions. By allowing the protected industrial action to proceed Fair Work Australia adjudged the claims to be fair.

“While the MUA has consistently agreed to drop items from its claim with Farstad the company has not yielded an inch on the central issues.

“The Australian Shipowners Association claim ratings are allegedly pursuing claims in other sectors of the industry that will trickle through the entire seagoing sector”.

“But despite the Chicken Little cry, as we have maintained from the start, there will be no flow back to agreements for bluewater or traditional shipping seafarers. These are blatant scare tactics.

Media Contact: Mick Doleman 0418391528 Michael Meagher: 0410 482367