The Maritime Union of Australia has rejected the arbitrary deadline put in place by the management of Patrick Stevedores for its so-called final offer on a new Enterprise Agreement.
In correspondence to the company today, MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said it was absurd to expect a response in 36 hours to an 18 page document that cross references several other detailed documents as well as various ongoing discussions at four different terminals.
“Given the significance of your document and the need to discuss this on our side with all of the relevant stakeholders who have been intimately involved in this process at both Part A and Part B levels we will not be in a position to respond until next Friday – April 22nd,” Mr Tracey said.
“The document is detailed and contains information that is specific to various sites where the knowledge on intimate detail is held at a local level rather than by the national negotiating team.
“As well as getting the relevant feedback from our various Part B committees, which would be facilitated by Patrick approving site based meetings next week, we now need to work back through the detailed complex ongoing working document you have now provided.”
Mr Tracey also criticised other aspects of the company’s negotiating tactics.
“The escalation in rhetoric today from Alex Badenoch is highly inaccurate and inflammatory. It is surprising to say the least that we are receiving public commentary on 12 months of industrial negotiations from someone who hasn’t attended a single meeting, not one,” he said.
“The actions across the various terminals are because of both national and local claims and the company seeks to shift the goal posts each time we reach the position they state they seek.
“Both Fremantle and Port Botany have outstanding local issues around the roster that applies to permanents and we are seeking some certainty for workers over hours of work within a framework of the flexibility required to service a modern stevedoring company.
“Both roster claims meet the stated outcomes the company sought/demanded at the start of negotiations and present a cost neutral outcome against the current situation in each port.
“Fremantle, Melbourne and Brisbane have issues around the roster that will apply to the second category of permanents who are obliged to work an irregular roster based entirely on shipping schedules, where members find out what shift they are working by text the afternoon before.
“We agree there needs to be some flexibility but workers need a degree of certainty around time off so they can plan their lives and do the things that normal people do like play in a sports team or plan activities with their kids on weekends.
“All four terminals have issues with Patrick reneging on its initial salary offer in the space of a week – something we haven’t encountered in negotiations with this company since we first began the process of enterprise agreement negotiations in the early 1990s.
“Issues around job security, a transparent and accountable allocation of labour, safety clauses and officers, the certainty of the productivity bonus system, redundancies, process of change in the terminals and management of company policies also remain outstanding within national discussions.”