Public misled over Port Hedland tugboat deckhand working hours

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has slammed industry and the Federal Government for misleading the public over the working hours of tugboat deckhands in Port Hedland.

MUA WA Assistant Secretary Will Tracey said tugboat workers worked an average of 2,016 hours per year, the equivalent of almost 54 weeks of a standard 37.5 hour working week.

“Over the course of a year, tugboat workers work six swings of 28 days, at an average of 12 hours a day, and sometimes up to 20 hours a day, depending on the volume of iron ore going through the Port,” Mr Tracey said.

“The total number of hours worked by a tugboat deckhand in a year equates to almost 54 weeks of a standard 37.5 hour working week, such as people might earn if they worked in the Perth offices of BHP Billiton.

“Both industry and the Federal Government are trying to create the impression that these deckhands work only a fraction of the year, in an attempt to portray the MUA as unreasonable and justify a political attack on the union and Australia’s industrial relations laws.

“By misleading the public over the nature of the work performed by these workers, both industry and the Federal Government are showing no respect for the hard work and sacrifice of these workers and their families.”