PATRICK Terminals CEO Michael Jovicic has called on the MUA leadership to come down to Port Botany and see for themselves the level of disruption which, he says, is the result of industrial action.

Industrial action is currently occurring at Port Botany, not only at Patricks but also at DPWA and Hutchison.

In an opinion piece published in Daily Cargo News late last week, MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said “none of the limited, legal forms of industrial action undertaken by wharfies are capable of causing the massive delays claimed”.

Mr Jovicic said industrial action by the MUA had crippled Port Botany with production at Patrick’s terminal cut by 40% in the past week.

“I think Mr Crumlin needs to get out of his office and drive down to Port Botany and see for himself what is going on,” he said.

“We have spent months negotiating with the MUA and trying to de-escalate the issues but have been met with outright rejection of the company’s offers.

“I have to say I’m bewildered that the MUA would try this on during a pandemic particularly when the average permanent employee is currently paid approximately $155,000 a year with the top earners receiving more than $200,000 a year.”

Mr Jovicic said work bans and other industrial action had seriously impacted productivity with 60 crane teams being available last week compared with the average of 100 teams a week.

Industrial action has been cited by some shipping lines as a reason for imposing so-called congestion charges.

In relation to Patrick, the MUA is seeking 6% annual pay rises for each year for the next four years.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin says the union is continuing to negotiate “in good faith”. Credit: Jim Wilson and DCN

Patrick says the MUA log of claims will cost the business around $40m per year and has instead offered pay rises of 1.5% and 2.5 % over four years.

Mr Jovicic said they had contacted DPW and Hutchison for support, however due to industrial action at both of their sites in Sydney they were unable to help.

Further comment has been sought from the Maritime Union.

Last week, Mr Crumlin said the union was “continuing to negotiate in good faith with stevedoring companies in an effort to resolve these issues and deliver agreements that provide fair outcomes for workers”.