The Maritime Union of Australia is concerned about what the future holds for 140 workers at Toll Perkins should the marine logistics company be sold to Queensland-based Seaswift.
MUA Northern Territory Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor said the arrangement surrounding the sale of Toll Perkins services to Seaswift was shrouded in a veil of secrecy.
In November, Toll announced the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that the company had “entered into an agreement with Cairns-based marine logistics provider Sea Swift for the sale of the assets of its Far North Queensland and Northern Territory marine freight operations for $45 million and a minority 20 per cent stake in the new business.”
The agreement, which is still being reviewed by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), includes the sale of three Darwin-based vessels that are used to service the Territory’s remote communities. The ACCC will hand down its decision in February.
However, Mr Mayor claimed that despite the sale being public knowledge, the current employees of the company had been kept in the dark about what the future held for them and that the union had not been invited to make a submission to the ACCC. “Neither Seaswift, nor Toll have given any assurances to the current workforce,” he said.
“I am worried that we’ll go from a company with strong ties to the area and a majority local workforce, to an interstate company that will import workers from Queensland and overseas.
“Toll Perkins has provided good, skilled, long-term jobs to hundreds of Territorians, and have offered training and employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. The NT Government has invested tax payers’ money into Toll Perkins owned infrastructure, that has been returned to the community as jobs and services. What guarantee is there that Seaswift will be doing the same?
“Seaswift could quite easily stop this speculation by putting their cards on the table by being upfront with me, being upfront with the workers and being upfront with the communities that have long relied on the service Toll has provided.”