OFFSHORE UPDATE

From Will Tracey, Deputy National Secretary

This offshore update comes after a decent set of outcomes to a number of critical issues for MUA members that were discussed in many of the previous offshore updates and have been at the forefront of AMMA attempts to derail the MUA campaign for job security in the offshore oil and gas industry. The most recent offshore update dealt with the following issues:

  • The new Maersk management team who have taken over Farstad putting out a non-union agreement to our membership who work at Farstad. 
  • Brief updates on the current status of the Mermaid Marine and Go Offshore Enterprise Agreement(EA) negotiations in Fair Work having come out of both companies offering non-union agreements to their workforce and 
  • Beginning the process of looking for dates for meetings with DOF in light of the Judicial Review of the MUA’s successful Fair Work Full Bench decision to quash the DOF non-union agreement.

We can now report that all of the 4 issues identified above have been progressed and some resolved since the last update after significant work by your Union and various Branch and National officials including a huge amount of support work from our legal team.

The non-union Farstad agreement was voted down by MUA members and in return Farstad announced some 80 odd redundancies which is being vigorously opposed by the MUA. The Go Offshore agreement being negotiated through Fair Work has been finalised in recent weeks and voted up by 97% of MUA members. The Mermaid marine agreement going through a similar process in Fair Work has now gone out to vote this week. Negotiations on both agreements were facilitated over many months by Deputy President Binet of Fair Work. Late this week just gone we spent a full day inside Fair Work before Commissioner Julius Roe, as part of the DOF Judicial Review process from the Federal Court, and we have been able to reach agreement in principle with DOF on the new offshore agreement.

All 3 agreements contain all of the “Job Security” provisions that the MUA has been campaigning so had for across the offshore oil and gas industry as a critical part of our campaign to secure our right to work in our industry. A just result from a long complex campaign and credit to the MUA and its Officials and Rank and File who maintained discipline and focus never losing sight of our capacity to fight and win. United we stand!

We have now locked away the overwhelming majority of the offshore industry to the MUA “Job Security” offshore agreement.

 

FARSTAD NOTIFY OF 80 REDUNDANCIES AS THE MUA FIGHT TO HEAD THEM OFF

As mentioned above after MUA members voted down Farstads non-union agreement, in retaliation Farstad shortly after notified of the need for about 80 redundancies for MUA members. We have been opposing those redundancies since they were announced for a whole heap of valid reasons and as a result we threw the matter into Fair Work. After a number of days in Fair Work the matter has now been listed for hearing on Monday May 15th and we will report more on the matter after that date.

Needless to say there is still a fair bit of life left in this blue yet and the behaviour of Farstad stands condemned by all MUA members and their Union. The new Maersk management team who have taken over Farstad are a far different outfit to the company we have had years of dealings with. They now follow blindly AMMA’s non-union ideology despite the fact that most of the offshore industry have now consigned that approach to the industrial toilet where it belongs.

 

MUA MEMBERS AT 'GO OFFSHORE' VOTE UP MUA “JOB SECURITY” AGREEMENT 

Over 2 weeks ago 97% of MUA members at Go Offshore voted up the MUA “Job Security” agreement. Go were a company that put out the AMMA non-union agreement twice for a vote and twice it was rejected by MUA members. We finally re-engaged via Fair Work to knock some common sense into the negotiations and we can report that after we had moved to a ballot for protected action application we were able to finally resolve the agreement on the same basis as the many others we have now landed in the offshore industry.

The agreement contained all of the job security provisions we have been campaigning for as well as the same wage and condition outcomes over the life of the agreement. This has been a great outcome for MUA members at Go Offshore who stood fast in the heat of battle and against all odds as Go continued to try and press AMMA’s non-union agreement.

We have reached a sensible outcome that will hopefully help Go find it’s feet and importantly support the jobs of MUA members in the industry as well as the critical outcomes we have been prosecuting as part of the MUA “Job Security” campaign across this industry.

 

MERMAID OFFSHORE AGREEMENT SUPPORTING MUA “JOB SECURITY” OUTCOMES GOES OUT TO VOTE 

As reported in earlier updates there had been some high-level talks with the most senior levels of management at Mermaid as part of the Fair Work process to resolve the Mermaid offshore agreement. This was another agreement that we filed for protected action on last year. We can now report that we have been able to reach agreement on the MUA Job Security claims in the new Mermaid agreement, as well as deal with the Mermaid non-union labour hire agreement that was in place. As a result the Mermaid MUA agreement has gone out to members ready to be voted on inside the next week.

The MUA is of course supporting the Mermaid agreement now it locks in behind all the rest of the MUA “Job Security” agreements in the offshore industry and this represents another important step toward securing this industry for MUA members for decades to come. Mermaid MUA members have shown huge discipline and patience in this campaign for job security especially understanding the need to resolve the issue of the non-union labour hire agreement Mermaid had put out last year. We could not have delivered this outcome without the resolve of the MUA members at Mermaid to ensure the industry campaign was supported by the outcomes they fought for and achieved.

 

DOF AND MUA REACH AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPAL AS PART OF JUDICIAL REVIEW PROCESS INSIDE FAIR WORK 

As reported in previous updates the MUA and DOF had to arrange 2 days of negotiations as part of the process agreed to through the Stay connected to the DOF Judicial Review. All will be aware that the MUA knocked off the DOF non-union agreement through an appeal to the Full Bench of Fair Work and after doing so DOF sought a Judicial Review of the decision to try and unwind the MUA’s historic court win.

Late this week we had the first full day of meetings chaired by Commissioner Julius Roe in Fair Work. At the end of a full day, and with positive discussions and negotiations on both sides, we have been able to reach agreement in principle. Agreement in principle that contains all of the MUA “Job Security” claims and is a significant improvement on the current non-union agreement that MUA members are currently working under at DOF. Every MUA member understands that this has been the hardest and longest of fights with DOF but we have been to come out the other side with an agreement that supports our campaign for our jobs in this in this industry.

A remarkable outcome at the end of a long complex legal campaign that also included strong support from the vessels in the form of petitions that allowed the MUA to prosecute a complimentary campaign in Norway through the ITF in London and Norwegian ITF affiliates with the Norwegian owners of DOF. This a great result and testament to the persistence of a Union and membership that never gives up and fights to win.