DPW love to speak in riddles. The MUA team has been presented “concepts” during these negotiations which are not really concepts at all, but thinly veiled attacks on your working conditions and your standard of living. We have asked DPW to roll out what they are seeking in this agreement so we can actually start to negotiate – no more concepts – just tell us the truth and we can have it out and try and reach agreement.
The MUA has been crystal clear with what we are seeking to obtain. That list of desired MUA outcomes will no doubt consolidate into the most important issues for workers.
In the meantime, we will fend off those attacks on our working conditions which have so far been revealed as follows.
Wharfies rally for the Right to Strike and to Change the Rules – not to work longer, harder and for less.
Carers Leave and Sickies
The company claim is to remove carers leave and reduce personal leave to 10 days.
Clearly this is rejected and is not a serious point of negotiation as DPW know we will not accept it.
The big push from DPW is that we take too many unplanned sickies. They want to fix it. The MUA have offered many solutions to this problem. The solutions however are also being targeted by DPW for removal. These include the ability to have pre-book planned days off, payment of sick leave at salary and use of days in lieu. This suite of options will eradicate unplanned absences. If DPW want to fix this problem, we can and will but not on the basis of coming at us with a big stick which will not work and not be accepted.
The “concept” put up by DPW was rejected. This was done on the basis that the company “concept” actually seeks to reinstall a head-picking regime with as much subjectivity in scoring as possible. We have always sought to deliver fairness and objectivity in selection.
Head picking and unfair selection based on whether the boss thinks you’re a good person is not acceptable and rarely aligns with our values of fairness across the collective.
Not happening. Backward steps on selection are not on the MUA program and will clearly not be accepted by members across the country.
Super Flexible Terminal Wharfies
Massive movement in start times for wharfies are on the DPW agenda. Driven by the excesses of the belly-robbing shipowners, DPW are seeking to place all the pressure back on workers through making our lives less certain so we can meet the loose and irregular windows of the shipowners.
This is not an irregular uncertain workplace we are dealing with.
This is not bulk and general stevedoring – these are the busiest most regular working terminals in the country.
You could start at the following times under the DPW offer:
This is stevedoring race to the bottom stuff and will not be popular with members whose lives will be tipped upside down.
The MUA team rejected this change as completely incompatible with terminals.
DPW want the ability to cancel shifts. The company says they want us to pay for shifts where they cannot supply work.
Here is where we have a fundamental difference. We are paid for our availability and capacity to work. We should not be punished for bad weather or the irregular nature of shipping. Nor will we put ourselves in the position where allocations are manipulated and workers are poorly affected.
We will not expose our lives to uncertainty to cover off management incapacity to utilise available labour.
The MUA have stressed that an MUA allocator is a critical claim for the union.
The company has rejected this position indicating they are purchasing another computerised system to misallocate us and cause difficulties and confusion.
We have said we will accept the computer system based on the provision of MUA allocators in each terminal.
The MUA is seeking to have the company absolutely ensure that our current Income Protection coverage will apply up until the new agreement is finalised. We don’t want member’s welfare and benefits being jeopardised as industrial leverage. The company have committed to giving us a firm response to our request for assurances that members will maintain their Income Protection coverage.
We recognise that DPW have adopted a positive policy position on DV. The MUA have offered to table a DV clause for the EBA and have claimed a best practice position for the agreement. Despite the policy position of DPW they have rejected this positive social claim.
Things That Matter to Us
After initial meetings it is normal process that claims get consolidated and the real important issues for workers and the company come to the fore.
The MUA is determined to rectify some historical wrongs that have developed in our workplaces. To this end we see no place in terminals for ongoing outsourcing and contracting out.
Fighting outsourcing and insourcing work previously hived off from terminals is an MUA priority. Our jobs are precious and should be reserved for us to perform. Likewise, the claim for an MUA allocator is a primary issue for the union.
The same applies on matters of redundancy. We need to be able to manage and mitigate against redundancy making sure we have the strongest job security provisions possible. We will be maintaining our position on these issues despite the company drawing a line in the sand in opposition. While some positive discussion took place on issues of mitigating redundancy the company have made it clear the whole suite of options we seek are not acceptable.
Next meetings are planned and will be held in Brisbane 13-15 November.
The Part A committee will keep fighting for your rights and for the best possible agreement. Your ongoing support and ability to hold fast to our most important issues is what will get us through.