The Maritime Union of Australia has had a win for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in having their agreement voided by the Fair Work Commission.
Earlier this week the full bench of Fair Work Australia upheld the MUA appeal and quashed the registered agreement. Given the full bench decision, Aboriginal Marine Manning Pty Ltd (AMML) withdrew their Fair Work Commission application for the agreement.
|Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray at the launch of another MUA ATSI initiative: The Wandilla project|
Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said it was a good result for the union and for Aboriginal people who deserve to be paid the same rates as their non-Aboriginal counterparts.
The agreement AML tried to push through would have seen its employees paid less than a typical seafarer in dredging, towage and offshore work. The agreement also contained far inferior general working conditions than a comparative union agreement.
“Paying Aboriginal people less than the going rate only widens the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians,” Bray said.
The MUA has a long history of supporting Aboriginal people through social and industrial campaigns. The union has a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee that helps form MUA policy and has won the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander award two years in a row.
“We have a proud history of helping Australia’s first peoples and to see them cop a wage below what is expected in the industry is insulting to us and them,” he said.
Following the full bench decision the MUA has corresponded with the company to request further discussions on the agreement and it is hopeful that a meeting will be convened later this week.
“Hopefully the MUA can sit down with AMML and work together on getting and equitable agreement for Aboriginal maritime workers,” Bray said.