SA Branch Report Monthly Meeting 31st July 2012

The South Australia branch leaders submit the following Branch Report:

Branch Report                                  July 2012



1.       Flinders Ports  Takeover:

Flinders Ports are now running the Adelaide container terminal as a consequence of a long legal battle disputing DP Worlds ownership. The employment of 242 MUA members and their terms and conditions of employment have been secured in the transition. Now to be known as the Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal (FACT), Flinders Ports have put Peter Cheers in as the Terminal Manager.

35% of the total SA Branch membership is now employed by Flinders Ports, and this percentage will likely increase as the operation grows and we improve our organisation, especially in the Regional Ports.

2. MUA History and Culture Project:

National Office has adopted this as a national project, and intends to fund and oversee the production of two 30 minute documentaries on the working class history in the maritime sector. To contribute to this project it is intended to interview and record the union and working life experiences of MUA veterans.

These interviews will provide some material for the documentaries, but will also serve as a permanent record in their own right of the contribution made by older comrades to the improved terms and conditions experienced today, as well as the broader experiences of their working lives.

Branch Organiser Campbell Duignan has met with the SA Veterans Committee to outline the project. The idea was been received enthusiastically by the Committee, and a constructive exchange took place. Jamie McMechan (MUA Port Botany) is being funded b y National Office to travel to the Branch and interview those veterans wanting to take part. The timing of this is still being worked out but we hope it will occur over the next few months


Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn has addressed the trainees on the role of the MUA in the industry, and the importance of their participation in, and support for, the MUA.

This was well received, with a number of participants out of the industry and already union members with a positive experience of the work and role of the MUA.

4.“Save the Hatchman”:

Deputy Branch Secretary Clem Clothier and Campbell have been actively organising member support for this campaign to secure the recognition of this critical safety role in the National Code of Practice on Stevedoring Safety. Employer representatives on the Temporary Action Group (TAG) formulating the draft Code have been vocal in their opposition to this role. At the time of this report being written there have been close to 700 online submissions from MUA members, family and supporters backing the campaign, with at least 80 of these coming from SA.

All members are urged to support this campaign, and take a few minutes in the MUA website to complete the ‘survey monkey’ form.

5.Branch Growth:

The Branch membership at the end of July stands at 914 members.  This is almost a 15% increase in financial membership in 2012, due to a combination of industry growth and the additional organising resource in the Branch. We anticipate that steady growth should continue through to the end of this year.

6.Branch Office News:

With Jamie currently on annual leave Clem is filling in as his Deputy until 20 August (when Jamie gets back).

7.CSL Yarra Memorial:

Port Pirie Council has just approved the erection of a memorial in Port Pirie to commemorate the 2002 sit-in of the CSL Yarra. This valiant attempt to preserve jobs for Australian seafarers was also brilliantly supported by the Port Pirie community. The MUA will fund the memorial and work on this will proceed when Jamie returns from leave in August.

8.New MUA website:

An 18 month project to improve the MUA website is nearing completion and it is anticipated that this will ‘go live’ in the next month or so.

9.Enterprise Bargaining Reports:

a) The Accolade EA has been concluded to the satisfaction of members.

b) The Patrick Part A has been close to resolution for some time now.  Conciliation took place last Wednesday 25 July in Sydney in an attempt to resolve the final outstanding issue, being selection criteria. While some progress was made on this issue we are awaiting draft wording from the Company, in line with the conciliation outcome. In the meantime the Part B negotiations for Port Adelaide and Whyalla have been progressing well.

c) POAGs/Qube Part A also appears close to resolution, although this process has not been helped by the Company adopting arbitrary deadlines for the conclusion of bargaining (Part A and Part B), threatening to withdraw the offer of back pay if the deadline is not met, and then, in some cases, not making themselves available to negotiate! 

Part B for Adelaide has been agreed in principle, and we are hoping to meet the      Company this week to resolve the offer for Port Pirie.

d) The Sealink/KI Ferry EB is scheduled to commence on 7 August. We have convinced the Company that the Seagoing Award must be the underpinning award, and importantly we now have a majority of workers on the job in a union, with more intending to join. 

e) Svitzer bargaining is due to commence in the near future. Jamie has ensured strong SA representation in this process and members have elected SA Branch Committee members Tony Nealen (Port Adelaide) and Ray Dixon (Magnet Whyalla) to represent them in the national negotiations.

f) Viterra Bulk Loading Plant EB has commenced with two days of bargaining already completed and a third day scheduled for 10 August. 

Campbell Duignan | South Australian Branch Organiser | Maritime Union of Australia