MUA, Hutchison Ports reach deal after 3-year dispute

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has reached a workplace agreement with Hutchison Ports after one of the “hardest ever seen” negotiations in the maritime industry.

According to the agreement, hundreds of workers at container terminals in Sydney and Brisbane will get a 2.5 cent pay rise over four years once the deal is certified by the Fair Work Commission.

The agreement will also see the introduction of 20-days paid domestic violence leave, the creation of permanent rosters, and the addition of a clause that gives the workforce the ability to find alternatives to redundancies in the event of an economic downturn, the statement reads.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith commented: “This agreement will see job security strengthened at the terminals, with protection against job losses due to the implementation of automation, technology and contractors, along with a move to address insecure work with a cap on casual employees and an emphasis on rostered permanents and guarantee workers.”

He also added that the deal will eventually set “new industry standards, not only for Australia, but around the world.”

“Nothing in this agreement was handed to us… These negotiations were among the hardest ever seen in our industry, with new claims from management threatening to derail discussions right until the end, but despite all these obstacles we have managed to achieve a ground-breaking agreement.”

The process still needs to be formally approved by workers before it goes to the Fair Work Commission and is expected to be in place within the next few months.

Last week, MUA announced that unemployed maritime workers from around Australia plan to stage a protest in front of the Parliament House in Canberra urging the government to strengthen the Australian shipping industry.

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