Following on from the historic industrial action by NRMA ferry masters (skippers) in the My Fast Ferry and Manly Fast Ferry business units on 6 March 2019, workers have again called further industrial action on the iconic Sydney Harbour in their pursuit of stable employment with a dignified rate of pay.
MUA Sydney Branch Assistant Secretary Paul Garrett, said the workers have chosen to take a two-hour stoppage across all ferry operations between 8am and 10am on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 as a consequence of the ongoing negotiations which have failed to gain any traction on the key issues.
“Some six meetings have taken place since the last stoppage and ferry Masters are no further forward in their claims for permanent jobs and a proper rate of pay.” Garrett said.
“NRMA are twiddling their thumbs, instead of recognising that their staff have had enough of the years of nonsense, casual jobs and rates of pay which are below Award and frankly, the lowest in the ferry industry.”
“It is disappointing that such a reputable company like NRMA has failed to take these negotiations seriously.”
In considering the claim for permanent jobs, all NRMA management representatives have meaningfully offered is for half of the ferry Masters to get permanent full-time jobs, however they will be phased in over a four year period. Instead, NRMA have expressed a stronger desire for a number of workers to convert to permanent part-time, but require them to work virtually full-time hours without the security of permanency.
Today, April Fools Day, marks the fourth anniversary of the NRMA subsidiary company commencing the contract with the NSW Government to deliver the high-speed ferry service to Manly.
The MUA has written to the NRMA CEO Rohan Lund as well as Transport Minister Andrew Constance seeking their involvement to get some forward momentum in this dispute with the NRMA ferries and address the systematic wage theft by NRMA on Sydney Harbour.
“The continual exploitation of ferry workers by NRMA and the NSW Government is the sickest April Fools Day prank of the lot. Workers who work are entitled to secure employment and dignified rates of pay. The NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance needs to involve himself in this dispute today.” Said Garrett.
“Again, the MUA notes that NRMA has had well over a year to rectify this situation. Sadly, NRMA CEO Rohan Lund continues to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees instead of joining the EBA negotiations himself and rectifying these issues, stopping workers being underpaid and casually employed.”
Ferry workers understand that this action may inconvenience some commuters on their way to work and ask passengers to make alternate arrangements on the day.
Since the action on 3 March 2019, NRMA ferry workers have been overwhelmed with continual messages of support from passengers who have shown their ongoing support for a fair go.
“NRMA has the capacity to fix this dispute today, however the solution for workers does not include accepting the lowest wages possible nor scratching for the next shift. Workers are entitled to dignity.” Said Garrett.
All ferry skippers who are taking the industrial action still remain casually employed.
“All workers are asking for is to be paid decently and be treated with dignity and respect. In return, the NRMA has harassed and intimidated staff, even going as far as dismissing a staff member for simply standing up for what is right. How can anyone trust a company that behaves like this?”
“Ferry workers do not want to have to do this. Their commitment, professionalism and dedication is truly astounding given what the NRMA has thrown at them.”
“To the 2.4 million members of the NRMA, please get online and call on the NRMA Directors and CEO to get involved, end the exploitation and fix this dispute. It is not acceptable for the NRMA management to sit silent and allow their ferry business to operate on the basis of wage theft and workers worried about whether they will get another shift if they speak up for a fair go.”
Paul Garrett 0418 422 589