Tug crews at the Port of Melbourne were scheduled to stopp work for 12 hours on Friday July 9th as part of the workers’ pressure on employer Svitzer Australia to close a new enterprise agreement.
Two years of talks on the new agreement had failed to bring concrete results, the Maritime Union of Australia said. “In that time, the company has used the Covid crisis to introduce 30 claims that would slash the rights, conditions, and job security of their Australian workforce,” MUA said.
MUA Deputy Victorian Branch Secretary David Ball pointed out that MUA members continued to work throughout the Covid crisis, ensuring that as a result essential goods continued to move through Port Melbourne to the state of Victoria.
“Svitzer has demonstrated their contempt for loyal Australian workers through a decision to make their entire Geelong workforce redundant, claiming they were no longer going to operate at the port, then restarting operations just months later with fly-in fly-out contractors,” Ball said, adding that “our members refuse to accept unilateral attacks on their job security, rights and conditions, which is why they are undertaking completely legal forms of industrial action in protest.”
Svitzer Australia has a fleet of more than 100 tugs at 28 ports.