Major breakthrough for maritime workers as agreement reached with Total Marine Services
After constant negotiations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday workers at Total Marine Services have agreed to an historic Heads of Agreement with TMS management and suspended industrial action.
"At all times during negotiations we have bargained in good faith and over the last three days the union and management have been able to settle on an arrangement which I believe gives workers security and company stability through to July 2013 as they take on major offshore oil and gas projects", said Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.
"This is a crucial agreement for the industry. It's also measured with a reasonable wage increase and payment of a Project Allowance - Bonus (PAB) for workers on construction projects which moves with wage increases from January 1.
"The allowance will be paid at the completion of construction projects. We fought hard for this payment which now brings maritime workers closer to parity with other workers like riggers doing exactly the same tasks on those projects.
"While other EBA's being negotiated at Farstad and Go Offshore are separate EBAs we are hopeful that this agreement with TMS will assist in bringing those talks to a conclusion as well. They are close already.
"The 30% increase is made up of 8.5% at September 2009, 3.5% 1 January 2010, 6% 1 July 2010, 6% 1 July 2011 and 6% July 2012 effective from the first pay period commencing on or after each of the implementation dates.
The new certified Agreements shall operate until the 31st July 2013.
The parties have agreed to include a commitment to commence negotiations for a new agreement 8 months prior to the agreement's expiry date.
The PAB is only payable to seafarers employed on vessels engaged on construction projects involving the installation of new jackets, topsides, pipelines, flow lines, risers and associated mooring systems for offshore platforms, monopods, Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO's) and FSO's. It does not include remedial work, maintenance, repair or replacement of existing jackets, topsides, pipeline, risers, mooring systems or associated infrastructure.
The PAB payment will be payable subject to:
- The PAB will be paid on termination of a seafarer's employment on the Project on a pro-rata basis for the days worked.
- In the case of a permanent Seafarer, who is not terminated but is either transferred to another operation or goes on workers compensation or continues in the Companies employment when he/she completes work on the Project, payment will be made on a pro rata basis for each day worked on the Project.
- This PAB arrangement will apply for the life of this agreement. If a replacement arrangement is negotiated and agreed at the expiry of this agreement, this will be included in a replacement Certified Agreement and will not be sought or applied otherwise. Any replacement arrangement will only apply to Projects approved and mobilised after the date of any replacement agreement is certified.
Mr Crumlin said it was disappointing that Australian Mines and Metals Association the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Shipowners Association sought to attack the new Fair Work Bill throughout the negotiations.
"Their public distortions and misrepresentations delayed the settlement by a number of months. They have only really proved their irrelevance to genuine negotiations between workers and their employers"