28/10/2021 - 14:45

Union action paused for port meeting

28/10/2021 - 14:45

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Industrial action that threatened to restrict access to goods ahead of Christmas has been subdued ahead of a meeting between Fremantle Port Authority and the national maritime union.

Union action paused for port meeting
The saga is the latest at Fremantle Port, which has been plagued by delays in vessel berthing following months of industrial action.

Industrial action that threatened to restrict the retail sector’s access to goods ahead of Christmas has been subdued ahead of a meeting between Fremantle Port Authority and the national maritime union.

The Maritime Union of Australia had reportedly notified the state government trading enterprise that it intended to impose a ban on mooring and unmooring of vessels owned by Japanese shipping company Ocean Network Express as early as next week.

The meeting comes hours after Patrick Terminals, which has a terminal at Fremantle and services Ocean Network Express’ vessels, contacted the Fair Work Commission to terminate its enterprise agreement with the union.

According to Patrick chief executive Michael Jovicic, the application was lodged because the agreement was no longer fit for purpose and contained operational restrictions which limited its ability to meet customer requirements.

The pair have been in negotiations for almost two years, but have failed to reach an agreement; over which period the union has launched more than 220 industrial actions against the company.

The dispute has intensified in recent days, prompting plans for further action at all four of the company’s terminals in the coming days and weeks.

If successful, the termination of the agreement will allow Patrick to train employees without the agreement of the union.

The saga is the latest at Fremantle Port, which has been plagued by delays in vessel berthing of between three to five business days following a four month-long industrial dispute with stevedoring company Qube which prompted some shipping line owners to bypass the port.

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