SVITZER Australia says it has received notification from the Maritime Union of Australia of three cases of intended protected industrial action.

The first action has already begin and runs from 29 October through to 11:59 pm Sunday 29 November 2020 and involves MUA members engaging in bans on:

  • Overtime and recalls from leave;
  • Use of our planned maintenance system Sertica;
  • Svitzer Australia online training courses;
  • Breaks being taken away from the ordinary Svitzer tug berth, for example, on a mooring which is required to provide services in certain ports.

The second action involves MUA members of Svitzer’s workforce engaging in bans this week on the performance of work on Maersk shipping line vessels for 48 hours in the following ports:

  • Adelaide
  • Fremantle
  • Kwinana
  • Melbourne

The third notice of protected industrial action planned to take place involves members of the MUA employed by Svitzer Australia engaging in bans by casual employees in Geelong and Westernport for a rolling of 24-hour period starting at 12.01 am from Friday 6 November, through to Thursday 12 November 2020.

A spokesperson for Svitzer Australia said they were disappointed the union was taking protected industrial action in the midst of a global pandemic.

“While we respect the rights of colleagues, industrial action is not the answer to our shared problems,” a spokesperson said.

“We need a new enterprise agreement, which will allow us to compete in the future while continuing to offer good jobs, and we want to achieve this around the negotiating table Svitzer understands the protected industrial action may have significant impact on shipping operations.

“However, we are doing all we can to minimise that disruption by adjusting schedules and absorbing additional costs and expect to be able to avert major disruption.”

The spokesperson said they had done extensive work to prepare for the protected industrial action.

“Svitzer takes seriously the essential service we provide and the vital role we play in keeping the economy moving,” the spokesperson said.

The MUA was still to respond to requests for comment at the time of publication. However, sources close to the union indicated the action being taken was “minor”.