Monday 19th Nov, 2018

Sydney pilot cutter crews to down tools again

Photo: Ian Ackerman
Photo: Ian Ackerman

CREWS of pilot cutters in Port Jackson and Port Botany are due to down-tools again in a protracted enterprise agreement dispute with their employer, the Port Authority of New South Wales.

Pilot cutter crews who are members of the Maritime Union of Australia have given notice of a 24-hour work stoppage starting at 0600 on Thursday (November 16).

This was to be followed by a second 24-hour stoppage the following day, but this was cancelled by the Union on Thursday morning, DCN understands.

As with previous stoppages, activities that are exempt from the stoppage include watch keeping at sea; fire rounds; port security watches; safety drills; product tanker and crude oil tanker vessels; passenger cruise vessels; all dealings with emergency equipment in any manner; and any and all safety and emergency related issues.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority of New South Wales told Daily Cargo News that during a meeting on Monday (November 13) with the Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) and MUA some progress was made on some minor issues.

“The key outstanding issues to resolve remain: perceived job security concerns around the replacement of Port Authority’s vessel assets that are at their end of life and are due to be retired and; sign-on bonus equivalent to the back pay from 1 July 2017 until agreement is reached on the EA.”

The spokesperson continued, telling DCN there was no indication of an agreed resolution at the time (Wednesday morning), but efforts were being made to resolve the matter.

“Regrettably the stoppages have impacted the operations of our customers, although we have worked to minimise the disruption as much as possible,” the spokesperson said.

The Port Authority spokesperson also made it clear that only cutter employees in Port Botany and Port Jackson may take lawful industrial action, and for that reason it was unlikely that crews in other ports would join the action.

Previous cutter crew work stoppages have occurred on September 26, October 24, October 27 and November 2 and November 8.

The MUA and AMOU have been approached for comment.

Note: this article has been updated to reflect that the MUA has cancelled its planned work stoppage on Friday November 17.

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