PLANS for industrial action at Ports Jackson and Botany this week have been defended by the Maritime Union of Australia.
As was revealed last week by Daily Cargo News, cutter crews plan on ‘downing tools’ for 24 hours from 6am on October 24.
MUA assistant branch secretary, Joe Deakin, told DCN the Union had gone out of its way to ensure minimal disruption to other parties, ensuring minimal disruption to car fuel supply and people on cruise vessels.
“Those exemptions are our exemptions.
“We didn’t inconvenience people and that was done very deliberately,” Mr Deakin said.
He said suggestions perishables had not been exempted were wide of the mark, with modern reefer containers requiring minimal attention.
“This assertion that we are going to interfere with perishable cargo is just not true.”
Mr Deakin said the log of 16 claims for Port Authority of New South Wales had been whittled down to five, with sticking points including back pay, fatigue management and fire tugs.
There is a fear among Union circles the Port Authority will seek to replace its own fire tugs with those of a private operator.
Mr Deakin said Port Authority of NSW agreed to pay workers at Newcastle more than 12 months of backpay earlier in the year and the same should be applied for those in Sydney.