Port Workers Approve Industrial Action To Safeguard Wages And Family Time

Rosters have negative impact on family arrangements - proposed industrial action at Esperance and Fremantle ports distinct arguments from Northwest Shelf offshore dispute

The Maritime Union of Australia today said that industrial actions at Esperance and Fremantle should be seen as quite separate from oil and gas sector negotiations off northwest Australia.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with riding on the back of those actions. They are quite separate and vital matters for maritime workers", said Mick Doleman, deputy national secretary of the MUA.

"Workers are right behind the actions. The vote for protected industrial action was 100 percent in Esperance and 95 percent in Fremantle. 

"At the Port of Esperance maritime workers have not had a pay increase since 2006 and the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement has been in negotiation for 12 months.

"The Port has made a central issue of the change to the roster giving employees 24 hours notice of shifts. It means that members stand to lose the flexibility they have in the existing roster and the changes represent a major intrusion into planning family arrangements. We believe that a compromise may be achieved through negotiation", said Mick Doleman.  

The issues in Fremantle, where workers last received a pay rise in 2008, relate to parity and recognition of work done over a number of work practices.

The Union meets today (Tuesday 15) on Fremantle while the next meeting for Esperance is planned for Monday 21, December.

The Union has not announced but is considering stoppages of 4, 12, 24 and 48 hours.