THE Maritime Union of Australia has announced a raft of new industrial action at Patrick, this time at the Brisbane Autostrad terminal.

The new announcement of industrial action at Brisbane includes two four-hour work stoppages on 8 October, a 24-hour work stoppage starting at 2300 on 13 October and a 24-hour work stoppage at 2300 on 14 October.

Previous to this latest announcement, Patrick said the Brisbane terminal was experiencing “low-level impact” from industrial action.


Meanwhile, in Melbourne, Patrick has said delays at the terminal were expected to blow out to seven days by mid-October due to the planned industrial action. The MUA recently issued 40 notices of industrial action for Patrick’s Melbourne terminal, including 12 hours of work stoppages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October, except tomorrow, Friday 1 October. Other notices concern bans on working overtime and shift extensions.

In a notice to customers, Maersk Line noted the work stoppages at Melbourne and said it was expecting a delay of five to six days on average for its vessels calling Melbourne.

The other container stevedores at Melbourne are under strain. Victoria International Container Terminal handling two instances of COVID-19 in its workforce last week and some employees are still in isolation as per public health orders.

DP World’s Melbourne terminal has had at least one employee test positive for COVID-19 this week and its capacity to take on sub-contracted ships is as yet unknown. A DP World Australia spokesperson told DCN the company was in constant discussion with Patrick to assist in minimising delays to shipping schedules arising from the disruption.


The union will also carry out work stoppages at Port Botany. Union workers will down-tools for a total of 48 hours this weekend on 2 and 3 October. Patrick said these stoppages would extend delays at the terminal to up to 5.8 days by 11 October.

Patrick said fellow stevedore DP World Australia has no capacity to take sub-contracts at Port Botany until possibly mid-month, and Hutchison has no capacity to take sub-contracts.


It has been reported that a sticking point in the negotiations is a so-called “friends and family” clause, whereby the union would have a say over who can be hired. In July the union concluded protracted enterprise agreement negotiations with Hutchison Ports Australia. That agreement includes provisions that up to 70% of new recruits come from employees’ friends and relatives and a union-approved list.

MUA assistant national secretary Jamie Newlyn said the “friends and family” clause was “trumped up fake news”.

“We have proposed a change to the clause that gives the company greater comfort in the recruitment process,” he said.

“The issues are around unfettered recruitment that undermines rosters and security of employment that will ultimately be the death knell of permanent work in terminals.

“This agreement is about protecting permanent jobs on the waterfront so we leave the job in better position than when we found it.”

Mr Newlyn said Patrick had refused to meet since the company withdrew its offer in early September.

“What option do employees have? Patrick hold all the cards for peace on the waterfront, and once again we call them back to the negotiation table,” he said.

“Patrick have been all talk and no action; we won’t negotiate via the media.”