Monday 28th May, 2018

MUA calls of Botany strike after Fair Work order

Photo: Jim Wilson
Photo: Jim Wilson

The Maritime Union of Australia has withdrawn notice of a seven-day strike it was threatening to conduct at Patrick’s Port Botany container terminal, after the Fair Work Commission ordered stevedores to work with replacement employees.

Fair Work last week ordered a ban on stevedores refusing to work with the replacement labour brought in by container crane firm Kalmar, whose 48 contracted maintenance workers are fighting for a 30-hour week and a 15% pay rise.

Patrick’s night-shift stevedores on Sunday reportedly refused to work with the staff Kalmar had brought in to replace workers who had called in sick.

Patrick has accused the MUA of using the stevedoring workforce as “leverage” in the separate Kalmar dispute.

But the union’s Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer told the Commission stevedores did not want to work under “an unacceptable health and safety risk,” claiming the replacement workers were not suitably qualified.

Kalmar has reportedly said the replacement workers were sufficiently qualified.

The MUA had threatened a seven-day strike at Port Botany, but on Tuesday withdrew that notice. Patrick had said the threatened strike would impact 14 container ships, and cost it over $1 million in subcontracting costs alone.