Wharfies Vote with Feet as Patrick Drags Feet

Workers at Patrick’s terminals have overwhelmingly voted down an agreement that Patrick put to a ballot last week.

The Asciano subsidiary, which is in the middle of being sold, decided to override the union and put an agreement straight to its workforce, despite the union warning it would be a fruitless exercise.

Maritime Union of Australia Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said the union now had a mandate to be properly listened to in the negotiating process.

“Political parties claim mandates with only 51 per cent of the vote, therefore a vote in excess of 98 per cent gives the MUA an all clear to continue what we’ve been doing from the very start; that is, representing the membership,” Tracey said.

“The overwhelming majority voting no to the shoddy agreement also shows that the stall in negotiations has come from their side of the fence and is not the fault of ‘two militant unionists’, as was put to the media in a half-hearted attempt to create division by the CEO - John Mullen.

“Now it’s time to stop playing games, and get back to the table so that both parties can come to a resolution.”

Patrick paid for the ballot exercise out of its own money, according to its own media statement.

“I have no idea how much this private ballot cost, but I can only assume a pretty penny, a pointless pretty penny, which produced nada in terms of a result for Patrick,” Tracey said.

“Patrick appear to have run an expensive and time consuming ballot to simply confirm what we had been telling them. Let’s stop this nonsense and engage the workforce through their legitimate representative. It’s time to get the discussions back on track now this distraction is over.”

He said he found it odd that Patrick would state how much each employee had lost in the negotiating process.

“Our members are willing to lose money to secure conditions; the workers understand this agreement is much more than take-home cash, this is about ensuring they have job security, increased permanency and safety on–the-job,” Tracey said.