NUYINA officers and engineers, represented by two maritime unions, are continuing industrial action between the Australian icebreaker’s Antarctic voyages.

The Australian Maritime Officers Union and the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers launched industrial action earlier this year, against Nuyina operator Serco in a dispute over wages.

AMOU told DCN in January there was no intention to disrupt Antarctic operations or scientific research. Nuyina was berthed in Hobart at the time, ahead of an upcoming voyage.

Nuyina recently returned from that voyage, and work stoppages and bans are now back in force, an AIMPE spokesperson has confirmed.

The vessel is scheduled to depart for another Antarctic voyage later this month.

AIMPE’s spokesperson claims there has been little to no movement in negotiations with Serco since January, “except to reduce pay by 75%” which has reportedly led to several resignations.

A Serco spokesperson said all crew who come to work and perform their required duties will be paid accordingly.

“Our latest offer includes a generous pay increase over four years, which is significantly above CPI, WPI, and annualised wage increases reported by the FWC,” they said.

“We value the important work of our crew and have worked tirelessly with the AIMPE and AMOU unions to try and reach an agreement. Since commencing negotiations, Serco has made four offers to the AIMPE and AMOU unions and our employees.

“Our aim is to reach an agreement that will benefit our crew over the long-term; however, our offers continue to be met by the AIMPE and AMOU unions with various work bans designed to disrupt important resupply and maintenance operations.”

Serco said it is committed to negotiating in good faith and reaching an agreement that is fair and sustainable.

“We have again sought the assistance of the Fair Work Commission to resolve this situation quickly so that we can limit any further disruption to Australia’s important Antarctic operations.”

The Australian Antarctic Division, while not a party to negotiations, is continuing to monitor the situation.

“Our priorities are ensuring the welfare of our people, sustaining our stations and preparing for future projects,” an AAD spokesperson said.

But industrial action is not the only disruption Nuyina has experienced recently – the resupply of Mawson research station last month was impacted by bad weather and technical issues with Nuyina’s forward cranes.

AAD said repairs brought one of the cranes back to partial operation, which allowed access to some critical supplies for Mawson station.

“This was transported to station by helicopter,” AAD’s spokesperson said.

“The station has enough food, fuel and other supplies to ensure the safety of our expeditioners through the coming winter months.”

The AAD said it is working with Serco to assess the status of the ship’s cranes and have necessary repairs undertaken while the ship is in port in Hobart.

The AMOU did not respond to DCN’s request for comment.