Remarks by the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers critical of the offshore agreement are hypocritical at best. AIMPE has sought all increases negotiated by the MUA to flow on fully to their members. Their members have fully supported the MUA claim as fair and reflecting the prevailing rates in the hydrocarbon industry. If AIMPE feel so strongly about it they can reject the flow on and take it up with their membership." - MUA
The MUA entered into the offshore EBA negotiations with a clear intent to bargain in good faith and we made it very clear the employers that the issue of parity between construction workers and maritime workers was an issue that needed to be resolved and that all maritime workers in the offshore are clearly aware of this parity gap. We also advised the officer unions of our intentions to do so.
It appears that the AMOU and AIMPE have reached a settlement on their enterprise agreement and regardless of the content the outcomes, it would not have lead to the MUA making public utterances on the content and outcomes. We find what AIMPE has done so very disappointing. It does not assist in developing harmonious relationships between our organisations.
What AIMPE fails to declare is that the Institute had also secured in their agreement a flow-on of any outcomes from the MUA negotiations that were superior to their own negotiated position. This will include both salary and PAB and in our view deservedly so. Engineers and deck officers make the same contribution as our members in the construction phase and should be paid accordingly, and the MUA has no problem with this.
But one would suspect by the pious views of Mr Snee that he would be suggesting to his membership that they do not have a flow-on of the outcomes achieved through the MUA's bargaining via the legal and industrial laws of Australia.
The parity gap in the construction area was a deliberate result of the employers, including the oil companies, negotiations with non-marine unions in the full knowledge that at some stage the question of relativity in the offshore construction area would be questioned. This was an argument of the employers' making, not the MUA's and all maritime workers in the offshore industry are fully aware of this and believe that the claim was legitimate.
One hopes things will get back to normal once the agreements are all done and dusted.
The AIMPE first published in the union journal WatchTower have since been picked up by DCN/Lloyds List and The Australian, which has been leading the industry attack on the unions.