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The Maritime Union of Australia has lifted its industrial action at Patrick’s Port of Melbourne terminal after COVID cases put almost one-third of the workforce into 14-day isolation.

MUA assistant national secretary Jamie Newlyn said, “In an act of good faith, the MUA and its members have lifted industrial action at the Port of Melbourne until further notice because of the reduced numbers of workers available as a result of some workers being placed into quarantine”.

Mr Newlyn said the MUA recognises the need to lift its action to maintain operation of the port because of the impact of COVID.

“[But] the union has twice called on Patrick to come back to the bargaining table to discuss enterprise agreement issues which remain unresolved. Patrick has refused to reopen negotiations,” he said.

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“The MUA and its members want to resolve this dispute and get everyone back to work but that can’t happen until Patrick changes its militant strategy and is prepared to join the union in meaningful discussions.”

Patrick Terminals acknowledged the MUA withdrawal of the Melbourne industrial action and noted that it is the right thing to do.

Patrick Terminals CEO Michael Jovicic said, “I have now called on the MUA to remove industrial action across the country given the overall circumstances and the ongoing damage that it is causing.

“We have reiterated to the MUA that our offer remains on the table and subject to the removal of industrial action across the country, we have invited the MUA to a high level meeting to close out the EA negotiations once and for all and put this behind us.”

The MUA last month had issued 40 notices of industrial action for the Melbourne terminal, including 12 hours of work stoppages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout October (excluding Friday, 1 October).

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