In early September, UAS members began measures in favour of a new Enterprise Agreement (EA), with overtime work bans and brief sporadic work stoppages that allowed ships to continue loading and unloading. The union initially asked for 6 per cent annual wage increases for the next four years, but then reduced its fees to 2.5 per cent. Andrew Adam, Chief Operating Officer, said the agreement would increase employee wages and improve productivity, adding: “For the duration of the three-year employment contract, there will be no protected collective action that will ensure stability for our customers and the entire NSW supply chain.” According to the terminal operator, the union actions relate to the Patrick terminals in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane and Fremantle. “We have been in talks for seven months for a new enterprise agreement, and the MUA has imposed strikes, slowdowns and work bans on the company for almost a month. The union is threatening to start industrial action this week and announced a 24-hour strike in Port Botany on Friday,” Jovicic added. The parties also agreed to meet three days a week before that date in order to reach agreement on a new enterprise agreement. The agreement set the stage for more than two decades of attacks by businesses on the waterfront, including the MuA deal with Hutchison Ports in 2015, which facilitated the dismissal of 97 workers in Sydney and Brisbane. Today, more than 50% of Australians are laid back at the water`s edge. The terminal operator stated that MUA`s rights for new enterprise agreements and current wage conditions would add an additional AUD 40 million per year to the operating costs of the entire De Patrick business.
The new labour agreement also assures Stevedores, who works for Patrick: when Patrick asked the Fair Labour Commission (FWC) this week to ban all trade union actions, the union responded with a so-called “peace agreement”. This included extending the existing agreement to two years, with a wage increase of 2.5% per year and a commitment that there would be no union action for 12 months. Noting that Patrick Terminals is working closely with shipping companies to implement rotation modification plans and reduce terminal delays, the Company confirmed that its terminals in Brisbane and Fremane were operating normally, that delays in Melbourne had been reduced to five days and that delays in Sydney had been reduced to 15 days , with the support of ships passing through the port. The company today filed an application with the FWC to end the protected control actions taking place at Patrick Terminals in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane and Fremantle. “This is the best stevedoring agreement we`ve seen in many years in Australia, having tried to address key job security concerns for UAG members from the beginning.” “Under the new agreement, not only did all of our workers achieve 100% lifespan in all four terminals, but they also obtained critical safety and security provisions regarding their schedules and work schedules – for the first time since the Patrick conflict in 1998,” tracey said.