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Workers at Melbourne container terminal lock in pay increase in new enterprise deal

Workers at the Victoria International Container Terminal at Melbourne’s Webb Dock have reached a deal with their employer on a new enterprise agreement locking in new employee benefits.

The Maritime Union of Australia said the agreement would deliver immediate benefits to the workforce, with 75 per cent of casual roles being converted to permanent jobs, along with pay increases of between 14.5 and 46.5 per cent over four years, depending on employment classifications.

The deal with VICT, which is owned by the Philippine-based global stevedoring company ICTSI, would deliver certainty for Australian business and the general community, the union pointed out.

The MUA has now finalised agreements with VICT, DP World Australia, Hutchison, and have reached in-principle agreement with Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal, leaving Patrick as the only container terminal operator in the country where the union has not been unable to successfully conclude negotiations.

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As informed, VICT enterprise agreement contains significant family-friendly provisions, including new rosters that reduce hours of work at the terminal, less reliance on overtime, vastly improved long service leave provisions, and the introduction of income protection insurance.

Job security provisions from the deal are aimed at preventing VICT from outsourcing, offshoring, or contracting out work covered by the agreement, while workers will have input prior to any forced redundancies.

The union added it had settled several long-running legal disputes, with both sides agreeing to terminate the matter to ensure a functional industrial relationship going forward.

MUA Assistant National Secretary Adrian Evans said the agreement was formally signed on July 1, following the unanimous endorsement of VICT workers.

“This is one of the most significant agreements ever struck in the maritime industry, bringing the wages and conditions of VICT workers up to industry standards,” Evans said.

“VICT’s reliance on casual labour and excessive overtime were the most significant issues for workers, which is why they took legally protected industrial action to further their campaign for permanent jobs that would provide economic security for their families.

“Without their united voice and commitment to collective action, this agreement with VICT could never have been achieved.”

Evans added that the union is yet to finalize a deal with Patrick container terminal.

“MUA members at Patrick have never worked harder than during the COVID crisis, putting in place the safety measures that have kept vital supply chains operating, guaranteeing the delivery of medical supplies and ensuring supermarket shelves remain stocked,” he pointed out.

“While Patrick has been reaping increased profits on the back of these efforts, along with pocketing congestion and port access charges, they have refused to follow the lead of other container terminal operators and finalise a fair agreement for their workforce.”