DELAYS at Patrick’s four terminals are spiralling as the Maritime Union of Australia continues its industrial action and, separately, workers call in sick.

At the Sydney Autostrad terminal on Saturday, Patrick said two vessels sat idle on the wharves for 16 hours, from 0600 to 2200, due to a combination of sick leave taken by employees and industrial action preventing workers covering shifts.

There was a ban on the performance of upgrades and/or work in higher levels in place during that time.

DCN understands that three crane teams were absent for the day shift and three crane teams were absent for the evening shift. Also, road operations at the Sydney terminal were impacted during the day shift on Saturday.

Patrick on Friday said vessels visiting its Sydney terminal would be delayed by three to five days over the next two weeks.

Delays at its Brisbane terminal are around one day, delays at the Fremantle terminal are about 8.5 days.

And, Patrick said vessels at its Melbourne terminal over the next two weeks will be delayed by about five days on average, but some vessels are to be delayed by up to 10 days. But, due to scheduled industrial action, Patrick said delays at Melbourne could blow out to 12 to 14 days in the coming weeks.

Further protected industrial action

The union on Friday gave notice of further industrial action at Patrick’s Brisbane terminal. In total, the notices comprise eight hours of work stoppages each day on 9 November and 12 November. There will also be three hours of work stoppages on 10 November.

At Fremantle, the union gave notice of one-hour work stoppages at 0500, 1300, and 2100 every day, except Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 November through 20 November.

Also at Fremantle, the union announced bans on the performance of upgrades and work in higher levels from 6 November through the morning of 8 November.

Hearing at the FWC

Last week Patrick applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its enterprise agreement with the MUA, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday morning (2 November).

MUA assistant national secretary Jamie Newlyn said the union would prefer to be at the negotiating table with Patrick.

“But instead, we’ll be in court defending our members against this petulant and unhelpful legal action by the company,” he said.

“Instead of trying to rip up our members’ employment agreements, Patrick Terminals should grow up, behave like adults and negotiate in good faith with their workforce.”