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THE Maritime Union of Australia notified Svitzer of more protected industrial action in the form of work stoppages at Melbourne and Westernport.

This is the second PIA notice for the two ports this month. There were also work stoppages at Fremantle and Kwinana last week.

This latest notice involves members of the MUA employed by Svitzer engaging in four rolling four-hour stoppages for a total of 16-hours at Melbourne and Westernport commencing at 1600 on Friday 23 July through to 0800 Saturday 24 July.

A Svitzer spokesperson said the continued protected industrial action in Australian ports will only cause further uncertainty and disruption to colleagues, customers and stakeholders at a critical time.

“Svitzer is still in negotiations with the unions because our current enterprise agreement is not fit-for-purpose and we are looking to address clauses in our existing agreement that impede Svitzer’s competitiveness, flexibility and agility,” the spokesperson said.

“Over the last year, through ongoing negotiation sessions with the unions, we have reduced our claims down to less than 10, in a bid to progress negotiations and to reach an agreement. It is only the claims we see as absolutely necessary that remain.”

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The spokesperson said Svitzer was seeking “modest” changes in conditions to address business-critical needs related to flexibility and high-fixed costs.

“[But] the MUA continues to pursue its aggressive agenda with more industrial action,” the spokesperson said.

“Svitzer remains committed to bargaining in good faith to secure a new enterprise agreement, which maintains high salaries and core conditions and ensures a strong, sustainable foundation to continue to provide safe, efficient, and reliable towage services.”

The MUA declined to comment for this article.

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