Published: 27 Feb 2020

Qube EBA -  Part A report backs  - Whyalla & Port Lincoln
Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn and Organiser Campbell Duignan visited Whyalla and Port Lincoln on 20 and 21 February to conduct Part A report back meetings with Qube members. A good turn out of members in each port allowed important information sharing and feedback on the Qube National Part A process and negotiations. Notably we were also able to follow up on the union density in each port and identify any gaps to organise to 100% to ensure EBA success. Each port presents with different issues one being busy and needing a review of hours and therefore upgrades to different categories. The other is highly casual with essentially seasonal work for half the year. Despite these differences both meetings identified matters to be raised at either Part A or Part B negotiations.
Port Lincoln Tugs  - PPT review
A review of arrangements for permanent part-time employees was held with Port Lincoln Tugs management and the three Maritime Unions in Port Lincoln on 21 February as a consequence of a review clause inserted at the persistence of the MUA. Although no resolution was found at this meeting a commitment for the company to review days worked in excess of the minimum percentage e.g. 75% or 147 days needs to be paid in addition to 75% salary. The Unions believe that a significant back pay is owed to some employees and hopefully will be rectified before escalation to the FWC or South Australian Employment Tribunal.
Svitzer EBA
This update is further to the EBA negotiations that took place on 16-17 December 2019 Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel, drafting of EBA on 14-15 January 2020 at Svitzer Sydney and then further EBA negotiations on 4-5 February at the Grace Hotel Sydney. The MUA participation in the negotiations as well as drafting was conducted jointly with the AMOU and AIMPE.
These negotiations have moved slowly, largely due to the large number of claims that had been received by the ports from the three unions. However, the number of claims can also be apportioned to the number of issues that had not adequately been dealt with at a local level by Svitzer management over the years. We are making progress, but there are still some weeks to go yet. Importantly, due to the delay in resolving the EBA negotiations, the unions have extracted a commitment from Svitzer that wage outcomes will be retrospectively applied to 1 January 2020. This means tugboat workers are not disadvantaged and backpay will be made to this date, the effective date of your next increase.
There are many unaddressed claims that still need attention including outside work and income protection. These will be addressed between the MUA and Svitzer in the next fortnight.
Wage increases
The wage claim from the unions has been moderated to 3.0% + 3.0% + 3.2%.
The company offer is 2.0% + 2.0% + 1.9%. (The third year lifting up from the 1.8% that was offered by Svitzer in December.) The company has also proposed a “CPI floor” meaning that wage increases cannot be less than CPI. The parties remain apart on the issue of wages.
The MUA is also continuing to pursue our claim for income protection through Protect. The provision of it is agreed by Svitzer, however debate remains about the funding of the 2% premium for this income protection.
Whyalla wages
Whyalla took a significant wage cut in the last EBA to retain employment in what was a precarious situation in that port. That wage reduction saw the annual salary for a Rating reduce from $121,208 down to $100,841. It had been expected in 2016 that the Svitzer operation in Whyalla would not last beyond the first quarter of 2017.
That situation has since changed and the port continues to operate, albeit with an unknown future.
The EBA negotiating committee had managed achieved through these negotiations to see a wage indexation on top of the wage increase proposed by Svitzer of 3.5% + 3.2% + 3.2% to restore some of the lost wages during the life of the 2020 EBA.
The parties remain apart on the redundancy package for tugboat workers in Whyalla, should there ever be redundancies. Former Managing Director Steffen Risager wrote to the three maritime unions on 12 May 2017 and confirmed the redundancy arrangements moving forward would be as follows:
“1. Whyalla crew currently employed will be paid a severance payment at a rate of 122% for their continuous service up to 30 June 2017.
2. Any continued employment by a crew member beyond 30 June 2017, will be paid a pro rata severance payment at the applicable rate outlined in the National Towage Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019. If redundancies occur in Whyalla post 30 June 2017, severance payment will be calculated at 122% for service up until 30 June 2017 and at 100% for any service post 30 June 2017 as per the EA rates…”
The company is considering their position on this matter and it will be addressed at a future date.
Casual allowance
The parties remain in discussion regarding a casual allowance to compensate for some benefits not received such as communications allowances. This is subject to further discussion between the parties.
Permanent Part-Time
The “wage smoothing” principles have been refined in the EBA for PPT employees, including
transitioning the count of days back to a financial year. Work performed in other ports will count towards the days worked for each PPT employee. The 2020 EBA will improve of the process to ensure PPT employees have the capacity to increase their percentage of work. Assessment of the days worked over the guarantee will be performed at the end of the financial year. Personal leave days and other leave entitlements shall increase pro-rata when a PPT employee goes past their nominated percentage.
Svitzer are to guarantee and provide the PPT the minimum numbers of days worked.
Training days required for PPT employees are to be applied pro-rata. The parties will further re-draft the PPT clause to tidy up some potential ambiguities.
Minimum eight-hour breaks
Introduction of minimum eight-hour breaks in ports through variation of POPs.
Duty Period
Duty periods are not to exceed a maximum of 14 hours. This is a reduction from the current 16 hours maximum.
Training budget
The salary of PPTs and casuals to also be included when calculating the 1% of salary training budget. Svitzer will provide better transparency of the training budget and how the money spends that training money.
Casual training
Include provision that casuals will be paid 200% for company required training (other than
revalidations). Training days do not apply to casual employees.
Armed forces leave
Armed forces leave will be provided to members who are reservists of the Australian Defence Force.
Notice of taking accrued leave - PPTs
PPT employees can take leave by less than the three months-notice period, by agreement with port management.
Travel days
Travel days will be treated as “dead days”.
With regards to the order of pick, members who are working jobshare arrangements will come in last on the order of pick if required for relief. However, individual departments in the port can vary this arrangement and reflect it in the Port Operating Procedures, following discussion with the relevant union.
Superannuation will be paid through to the fund on a fortnightly basis as opposed to quarterly.
Safety boots
Employees can purchase their own safety boots and be reimbursed up to $150. This will be subject to HMS requirements and boots will need to be in accordance with the Australian Standard.
Workers compensation
When members are on workers compensation, their return to work plan will be in accordance with the members actual roster and not subject to a “Monday to Friday” return to work plan.
MUA EBA Negotiating Committee
The following members continue to participate on behalf of the MUA in the EBA negotiations.
• John Atkins (Queensland)
• Rob Paterson (NSW)
• Shane Maley (NSW)
• Adam Smith (Victoria)
• Tony Nealen (South Australia)
• Jeremy Delmadoros (West Australia)
• Paul Garrett (MUA Sydney)
• Jason Miners (MUA Queensland)
• David Ball (MUA Victoria)
• Glen Williams (MUA Newcastle)
Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray remains briefed on each stage of negotiations and has
oversight of the MUA bargaining strategy at Svitzer. If members have an any queries, need further information or wish to provide feedback, please contact your state MUA Delegate and it will be passed through to the MUA EBA Negotiating Committee.
Next meeting dates
A meeting with management and the three unions has been scheduled for Friday, 14 February 2020 to discuss the next steps of negotiations, as well as the process for resolving outstanding claims.
Flinders Logistics EBA
Flinders Logistics members in Port Adelaide voted overwhelming in early February 2020 to reject the Company’s EBA offer.  That proposal included a 1.5% and 2% offer for years 2 & 3 of a 3-year deal.
The Company insisted on putting this offer out to vote, without the support of -and against the advice of- the MUA bargaining team. And this was announced by Flinders management at a meeting back in October 2019! That’s right - 4.5 months to finalise the drafting of an EA and conduct an (electronic) ballot!!
And even after the result came in it was left up to the union to advise the entire workforce of the outcome.
Bargaining reconvened on Wednesday 26 February with the MUA team presenting a revised position for settlement – 3 years at 3% per year, with changes as agreed.
The management position included ‘we’re right back to the start’ and ‘there’ll be no back-pay’!
The workforce is regularly praised by management for doing a great job. Renewing the EA is an opportunity for the Company to make that praise and recognition meaningful - by making a decent wage offer!!
We’ll be meeting again on Tuesday 10 March to hear the Company response. We’ll find out then whether the verbal recognition of well-performing and productive workforce really counts for something. Members in the meantime are getting more and more frustrated. A Protected Action Ballot and industrial action is a likely outcome if the next meeting doesn’t result in an acceptable offer.


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney