Tuesday 20th Nov, 2018

Sydney pilot cutter crew strike ends early

Photo: Ian Ackerman
Photo: Ian Ackerman

A PILOT cutter crew in Sydney stopped a strike 12 hours early after the Port Authority of New South Wales and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) reached an agreement on the protected action ballot order at the Fair Work Commission.

On Tuesday (September 26) morning at 0600 the pilot cutter crew who embark and disembark pilots in Port Jackson and Port Botany commenced a 24-hour stoppage, according to a spokesperson for the Port Authority of NSW.

They said there was no shipping scheduled in Port Jackson during the original stoppage period, but there were five movements scheduled for Port Botany.

The MUA agreed to exempt certain important functions from industrial action, including any and all safety and emergency-related issues and functions relating to working with product tankers, passenger cruise vessels, and movement of perishable goods.

“Port Authority’s view is that all ships scheduled for Port Botany within this stoppage period are carrying perishables, and are therefore exempt,” the spokesperson said.

“However, what constitutes a ‘perishable’ is currently under dispute with the MUA.

“To clarify this issue, Port Authority made an application with the Fair Work Commission to determine if refusal to transport Pilots to container vessels containing perishable cargo in reefers constituted non-compliance with the exemption orders, and hence unprotected industrial action.”

The Port Authority and the MUA have reached an agreement on the matter and the MUA agreed to halve the stoppage time on Tuesday to 12 hours.

“This resulted in a cease of industrial action and resumption of normal operations from 6pm, Tuesday 26 September 2017 thereby limiting further disruption,” the spokesperson said.

“The potential for further protected action in the future remains, with a requirement that the MUA provide three working days’ notice.”

Lloyd’s List Australia understands that this strike was related to negotiations for a new enterprise agreement that have been ongoing for several months.

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