Out of Frustration, MUA To Strike At Webb Dock

Frustrated after seven months of failed negotiations, Maritime Union of Australia members at Patrick bulk and general facility at Webb Dock are set to take further protected action.

Members are set to strike from 7am to 3pm on Friday, from 8pm on Saturday until 8am on Sunday and from 3pm to 11pm on Monday.

Paddy Crumlin, MUA National Secretary and President of International Transport Workers' Federation, said his members were reluctant to strike but saw no other option.

"Patrick are more interested in negotiations by press release, peddling misinformation and distorting the union's attempts at settlement," he said.

"We have been and remain committed to sustainable business outcomes including productivity, but not at the expense of more workers' lives. No press release from them can hide their appalling record in this area.

"Our members at Patrick bulk and general facilities across the nation are at their wits' end."

MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said there had been seven months of negotiations and Patrick has refused to put an offer on the table.

"Now they claim that our protected action - action approved by FairWork Australia - is the reason they won't make an offer," he said.

"What of the six months prior to our industrial action? What was holding them back then? It's a ridiculous position.

"Also, as we have reiterated during every negotiation, our wage claims are the least of our concerns and will be dealt with last during those negotiations.

"Despite this position, a position Patrick has accepted, they have refused to make an offer on the half the claims that have no cost attached.

"Patrick also has failed to acknowledge the benefits associated with improved training programs and safety standards. These are a win for both parties and are likely to yield higher productivity and reduce losses associated with serious injury and death."

Mr Crumlin said 60 percent of the workforce at Patrick bulk and general are casual employees.

"This is not acceptable," he said. "Those casual workers have been stuck in limbo for, on average, five years - some for as long as nine.

"On January 17 the Melbourne Magistrates Court ruled against Patrick, finding them guilty of an indictable offence for discriminating against an OHS representative for raising safety issues on the job. This sort of behaviour is unacceptable and we're seeking to put an end to it."

Media contacts: Paddy Crumlin 0418 379 660; Ian Bray  0403 325 376, Zoe Reynolds 0417 229 873; Justin Coomber 0457 833 896.