QUBE Ports has refused to attend conciliation talks facilitated by Fair Work aimed at resolving the long-running dispute at the Port of Fremantle.
After intervention from the WA Transport, Planning and Ports Minister Rita Saffioti MLA yesterday morning the Fair Work Commission sought to bring QUBE Ports and the Maritime Union of Australia together to resolve the dispute in meetings proposed for Friday, with more time during this coming weekend and extending into the early part of next week.
But QUBE has refused to attend.
Maritime Union of Australia WA Branch Secretary Will Tracey said he was appalled that QUBE did not want to sit down with its employees and their union to find a solution to end the dispute.
“It is frankly absurd that QUBE won’t come to the negotiating table,” Mr Tracey said.
“They have been very vocal along with their mates in the farm lobby and the farm machinery industry to blame the MUA for putting the grain harvest at risk and damaging the state economy.”
“Well now is the time to sit down and talk. The MUA and our members are willing to negotiate but QUBE has turned its back on the WA Government, the Fair Work Commission and the WA public by refusing to talk.”
“This dispute has gone on long enough and our 135 members want to go back to work and get cargo through the port.”
Mr Tracey said QUBE alone was to blame for the continuation of industrial action.
“This refusal to attend talks in Fair Work reveals QUBE’s attitude toward its workers and its willingness to hold the WA economy to ransom in order to get its own way.”
“The MUA’s bargaining claims are primarily about improving fatigue management practices and occupational health and safety on the job while ensuring that workers have a proper work-life balance,” Mr Tracey said.
“A key claim is allowing workers to plan their life outside of work. Not one worker employed by QUBE in Fremantle Ports has a roster.”
“Workers including permanents, are told by text message at 4.00 pm whether they have work the following day, which shift they will be working and for how long.”