TASPORTS marine pilots are reinstating industrial action as the dispute with their employer continues.

From 1200 on Wednesday (7 February) the pilots will continue with the work bans and stoppages they had suspended during seemingly positive negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.

Their industrial action includes work stoppages on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; a ban on working outside usual rostered hours; a ban on communication with agents and schedulers and a ban on performing pilotage services at night.

TasPorts said it has also been notified of further industrial action planned for Thursday 8 February:

  • the northwest pilot group will stop work for four hours beginning at 1000,
  • the northern pilot group will stop work for four hours beginning at 1700, and
  • the southern pilot group will stop work for four hours beginning at 0600.

All work stoppages and bans have exemptions for emergencies.

TasPorts pilots, represented by the Australian Maritime Officers Union, had been escalating industrial action since 19 January, with consequences for cruise visits to Tasmania.

“The response to return to protected action is extremely disappointing,” TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said.

He said TasPorts had provided pilots with an updated offer from 12% to 14.25% salary increase over three years, linked to productivity improvements.

Mr Donald said the AMOU had responded that it has applied to the Fair Work Commission for assistance to deal with the bargaining dispute, withdrawing from a scheduled bargaining meeting on 5 February.

The AMOU said the pilots are looking for improvements that would align them with marine pilots in other jurisdictions throughout Australia.

“TasPorts understands that they operate in a national employment market yet have shown that they’re totally unwilling to apply these standards to their marine pilots,” the union said in a statement.

“As part of the ongoing negotiations and as a sign of good faith, the marine pilots suspended protected industrial action in an effort to engage in genuine negotiations with TasPorts. Unfortunately, this has proven to be fruitless with TasPorts not only failing to adequately address pilots’ outstanding claims but bringing additional claims to the table under the guise of ‘productivity improvements’.”

The union said it wishes to resume meaningful negotiations “as soon as possible in an attempt to minimise unnecessary interruption to Tasmanian businesses and economies”.

TasPorts said it will prioritise its work to identify alternative options and strategies to minimise impact wherever possible.

“We acknowledge and look forward to the next round of meetings, which will be facilitated by the FWC and trust that a common-sense outcome is achieved, whereby further economic and reputational impact to our customers, communities, tourism and the state is avoided,” Mr Donald said.