Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray and Assistant Sydney Branch Secretary Paul Garrett report that the EBA negotiations with Svitzer have stalled for a number of months now following the COVID-19 health pandemic.
As a result of what has happened globally in the second quarter of 2020, Svitzer essentially have not been prepared to enter into meaningful EBA negotiations, but rather wanted the 2016 EBA to roll over with no wage increase initially for a two-year period. This was rejected by the MUA.
Recent months have seen Svitzer move ahead with aggressive attacks on the Port Operating Procedures in several ports, all whilst continuing to delay any meaningful EBA negotiations.
Last week, the MUA took the first steps towards industrial action and made application to the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Action Ballot order. If granted, the order allows the MUA to ballot the membership through the Australian Electoral Commission to take industrial action.
The MUA attended a directions conference before Deputy President Booth of the Fair Work Commission on Thursday, 20 August 2020. Svitzer has engaged lawyers, objected and are actively fighting our application.
The matter will proceed to hearing and Deputy President Booth gave directions for the hearing on the Protected Action Ballot order as follows.
- Friday, 21 August 2020 – Svitzer to file outline of submissions
- Monday, 24 August 2020 – Svitzer to file witness statements
- Wednesday, 26 August 2020 – MUA to file outline of submissions and witness statements
- Thursday, 27 August 2020 – 4pm hearing before Deputy President Booth.
It is expected that we will have a decision Thursday evening or Friday morning and the MUA will update members when the decision is handed down.
Deputy Vic Branch Secretary David Ball and Deputy Queensland Secretary Jason Miners have also played leading roles in the negotiations with Svitzer and they along with the delegates and other branch officials with industrial responsibility