The Maritime Union of Australia has condemned a raft of recommended changes to the modern award covering stevedoring - including increased hours and the removal of penalty rates – proposed by the nation’s major container port companies.
Patrick Stevedores, Qube, and DP World recently filed a joint submission regarding the award covering stevedoring, which is under review as part of the four-year review of modern awards by the Fair Work Commission.
The submission included recommendations to:
· Change the 35-hour week to a 38-hour week
· Reduce or remove penalty rates
· Remove day in lieu and/or penalty rates for Closed Port Days
· Remove the cashing out of personal leave
MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman said, taken as a whole, the raft of proposals represented an outrageous attack on the rights of workers. "This set of proposals represents Patrick, Qube, and DP World enthusiastically throwing their weight behind the federal government's assault on workers," Mr Doleman said. "There is absolutely no way the MUA would ever accept this raft of changes as proposed, and we will fight tirelessly to oppose them. In the same week that we have seen yet another tragic death on the wharves, it beggars belief that our major employers would be engaging in a proposal to strip waterfront workers of their ard-earned rights and conditions.
"If these changes were introduced as proposed they would represent a fundamental assault on the rights of our members. This is simply unacceptable to the MUA."
Mr Doleman said that although award conditions were important and the Union condemns this unprincipled attack on the Award safety net conditions, the MUA remained committed to enterprise bargaining on a case-by-case basis.
"The MUA will engage and negotiate robustly in the review process around modern awards," Mr Doleman said. "However the fact remains that the main point of focus for us in attaining decent working conditions for our members is at an individual enterprise bargaining level. The struggle over the stevedoring award will
continue, but the MUA remains cognisant of the fact that the real frontline for our members' working rights and conditions will remain at the enterprise bargaining level."