SA Branch Report March 2018

Published: 22 Mar 2018

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CHANGE THE RULES:  ACTU Educator and long-time friend of the MUA Jane Clark will give a workshop to MUA members on Tuesday 27 March 11:00-12:30 on the ACTU’s Change the Rules Campaign.

Workplace Laws in Australia are not working for Australian Workers, the rules are Broken and therefore we need to “Change the Rules”.  At the Australian Press Club this week, ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus articulated some of the reasons why we have to change the rules including but not limited to the following: stolen wages, exploited workers, jobs casualised, FWC stacked and politicised, wages cut, equal pay denied, bargaining failing, poverty wages, workers dying.

Our own industries are threatened with employers like Qube threatening to terminate the Melbourne Enterprise Agreement and force members back onto the award at somewhere close to 40% less than current rates and conditions. The Change the Rules Campaign is designed to get union and community organisations onside to influence the broader community to essentially change the government so we can change the rules.

The workshop next Tuesday is open to all members. Following the workshop a BBQ celebration will be held to commemorate the historic formation of the new merged Union. Come along get involved and lets “Change the Rules

”If there is no Struggle there is no Progress” (Frederick Douglass)


The ALP put up a principled and positive campaign to seek government for another four years. However after 16 years of power the “its time” factor along with electoral boundary redistributions handed power to the Liberals. The boundary redistribution meant Labor had to gain an additional 3% just to retain power. Despite not achieving this and the Liberals being gifted the election, Labor managed to gain 1.5% swing towards it. This by no means reflects a party that was on the nose. Labor delivered for South Australia and the plan for the future was positive. The Nick Xenophon/SA Best factor failed spectacularly and clearly South Australians were awake to the all stunts and no substance approach of Xenophon. Steven Marshall’s Liberals have no experience governing with the exception of upper house member Rob Lucas the new treasurer. Marshall has already said he will cut the public sector affecting the services we rely on, dismantle the renewable energy scheme for solar panels and batteries for housing trust homes and further deregulate trading hours which will exacerbate insecure work in this state. Workers in South Australia need to start campaigning NOW to make sure Steven Marshall’s government are “ONE TERM TORIES”.



FWC APPROVES MUA/CFMEU/TCFUA Merger:  Despite rampant opposition from employer groups and the federal government the Fair Work Commission (FWC) approved the merger of our Union with the CFMEU and the TCFUA.  The merger will come into force on 27 March 2018. MUA members overwhelmingly endorsed this merger by 87%. Our Unions have long held that the determination of members should drive the decision making of the Union not a government or business group. They are scared of workers standing up to injustices that governments and businesses exert on Australian Workers. On one hand they say Unions are irrelevant and on the other they say we have too much power. The Turnbull Government have one last dip at preventing the merger and that is if the likes of Xenophon’s NXT Senators vote with the government to support the Ensuring Integrity Bill. In Summary:

The Turnbull Government’s Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill is a politically motivated attack on workers’ ability to run their own union and determine who leads them. It imposes harsher, higher and overly burdensome regulations on unions than it does on any other organisation in society, including corporations. It also allows big business and the Government to interfere in the operation of unions.

The bill will increase the power of big corporations and reduce the power of working people.

This bill can only be interpreted as an attack on working people.

FLINDERS LOGISTICS MEMBERS WIN IN FWC: After a lengthy dispute about Sunday cancellation payments, the MUA on behalf of members escalated the dispute to FWC for conciliation. The dispute centred on the interpretation of the clause dealing with weekend cancellation payments, specifically Sunday cancellations. MUA members were ultimately vindicated in their determination to challenge the authoritarian rule of Flinders Logistics. Commissioner Hampton in a somewhat lengthy determination referenced various decisions in FWC hearing archives to reach his decision based on the construction of the agreement and the evidence presented by the MUA delegate. This whole lengthy process demonstrates why we as union members have to Change the Rules! Industrial Laws favour the boss and through mechanisms like FWC Companies and Bosses can apply delaying tactics in an attempt to break the will of the members. Further while the concept of an independent umpire is sound, if the rules they operate within don’t help workers then we need to CHANGE THE RULES!  You can do this by getting active in your union onsite and at rallies and events. Only when this demonstration of Union Power comes to the fore will the Public and politicians realise Union Power is important for social democracy and workers’ rights. Change the rules!

MAY DAY RALLY:  Workers of the World Unite:

Never has the need for grass roots solidarity and action been needed, as indicated in earlier reports, workers’ rights and conditions are being threatened daily. Never have workers felt so insecure about their job security. This is why the May Day march and rally is such an important event for MUA members and workers in general to be apart of. We will be focusing on the Change the Rules campaign and you are requested to come along and show your solidarity with workers under attack everywhere!

Saturday 5 May 2018, 10.30 Victoria Square followed by March to Light Square:

Food, Drinks and kids activities available so bring the family, we are fighting for their quality of life as well!


  • Flinders Ports EBA: 4 meetings have been held that can be described as preliminary. It is worth noting that Flinders Ports have an aggressive agenda to remove longstanding conditions of employment across the board and needless to say members need to embrace solidarity and Unity to achieve the outcomes members desire. Members have established a closed Facebook group on the SA Branch Page to confidentially be kept up to date and comment on issues relating to bargaining.
  • Flinders Logistics Port Pirie EBA: On March 2 a meeting with all members and management was held in Port Pirie to discuss the delay and issues in resolving an Enterprise Agreement that is well past expiry. Members vented their frustrations to management in a clear display of solidarity and unity particularly over the delays and rejection of members claims including lack of job security, promotional opportunities and training. The members developed a proposition that they believe is a win -win that increased secure jobs but added no more to the bottom line. Unfortunately we are still waiting for a response from the company 3 months later which is adding to members frustrations.
  • FACT Depot:  The Flinders theme continues with agreement negotiations for the Container terminal depot. Once again members want recognition and value for increased workloads, responsibilities and productivity. Typically we are met with resistance relating to competition from other container yards, which is somewhat frustrating given the Container Terminal has many advantages over other yards. This small workgroup are determined to achieve a decent outcome.


  • Accolade II Inco EA: Another long overdue Enterprise Agreement which is complicated by Inco being a ship manager to Adelaide Brighton Cement (ABC) that consequently has 2 EBA’s for the one vessel covering 8 people in same roles. This is a frustrating position to be in and difficult to create leverage during bargaining. As per usual Inco have been very slack in their response to negotiations often blaming timing issues with ABC to get approval for certain claims. These and the issues above further illustrate that the rules are broken for working people and their unions and we have to Change the Rules


  • ACFS (Formerly Kerry Logistics) This small container yard was recently acquired by ACFS a National Container Yard and Transport Operator from Kerry Logistics. This site. while nowhere near the waterfront has historical MUA coverage going back to a decision in 1991. Over time there have been many transitions at this site and members have enjoyed some good conditions in comparison to other container yards. This of course has been continually under threat at every bargaining period given the low margins and competition in this sector. ACFS want to challenge some of the conditions and bring these members into their national agreement that doesn’t recognise the MUA. We continue to have dialogue with ACFS in an attempt to preserve certain wages and conditions for long standing members.




Svitzer: Port Adelaide Port Operating Procedures (POs) continue with Svitzer despite an arbitration application in FWC submitted by AMOU and AIMPE and supported by the MUA. Fatigue and hours of work are the issues with the arbitration centred around scheduling work past the 12th hour for crews creating fatigue management issues. The Maritime Unions have held over 30 meetings with the company in an attempt to reach agreement including the assistance of Fair Work Commissioner Hampton on 2 occasions. We are hopeful that the latest iteration of a POPs proposal will be met with agreement by all parties.

  • Svitzer IT Breach: Svitzer advised members via email this week that a significant data breach occurred potentially compromising many employee’s records. This breach and its handling has been disgraceful and members are rightly fuming. Delegates and the union have had communication with Svitzer, demanding the company to allocate resources to fix this and provide employee responses to government and banking regulators to ensure any compromise of members details particularly banking will be insured against.
  • Svitzer Whyalla:  The uncertainty around the future contract is having a detrimental mental health impacts on members at Svitzer Whyalla. The rumour mill is in overdrive and we understand that Svitzer have tendered for a further 5 year contract. We are unaware of the details of the contract tender requirements and whether this will have an adverse effect on members. Svitzer’s’ history on contract negotiations have been disastrous and members have every right to be concerned. The MUA and other Maritime Unions will engage Svitzer when more definite information comes to light. Svitzer members will be kept informed.  If you are experiencing any form of anxiety, depression or general uncertainty contact Hunterlink for a confidential counselling session 24 hours / 7 days 1800 554 654.



FACT EA Implementation: The endorsed Enterprise Agreement is yet to be registered in the Fair Work Commission and therefore has an impact on the introduction of new rosters and other conditions including back pay. The agreement was unanimously endorsed by members in November and has been with the FWC since then waiting for approval. The delays are purely administrative and bureaucratic demonstrating again an unnecessary delay that impacts members and demonstrates that Fair Work Commission needs a review as the rules are broken and we have to Change the Rules



QUBE Fair Work hearing re Names on Hours Sheets:As previously reported the branch lodged a dispute at Fair Work Commission over Qube’s failure to provide names to the hours worked so that an Employee Representative can reconcile hours against names to ensure equity of hours and earnings amongst different categories of employment as per the agreement. The Commissioner determined that members would have to sign an authorisation allowing their respective names to be included with this information and the union would collate this. 48 of 53 employees signed an authorisation yet Qube determined that the process was flawed. Subsequently, Your Union reopened the FWC file and filed the authorisations with the Commissioner. A hearing date has been set down for early April in which a determination should be made. However we are hoping sanity prevails and Qube acknowledge the authorisations prior to the hearing.

Port Lincoln Tugs (PLT) EBA: Company representative including an outsourced Lawyer, Mark Diamond, presented an offer to the combined Maritime unions which is based on the queries and claims presented by the MUA. Most of the agreed outcomes are purely administrative or suggested changes for clarity and less ambiguity. Unfortunately the financial and cost offers left a lot to be desired. PLT are using Flinders Ports as an excuse claiming flinders will be seeking non-exclusive licences for regional ports. This in fact is inaccurate and the likelihood is PLT being a long term contractor is likely to maintain the contract.

In Unity

Jamie Newlyn, Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney