Coal terminal workers walk off the job

 

More than 200 workers at Port Waratah Coal Services walked off the job this morning as part of an eight hour strike as a long running dispute over new enterprise agreements continue.

The Maritime Union of Australia said the stop-work action would take place from 6:30am to 2:30pm.

Today’s action follows a four hour stoppage earlier this month.

The union has also announced plans to take part in 24-hour strikes on May 29 if an agreement cannot be reached.

Maritime Union of Australia branch secretary Mick Forbes said PWCS wants to change enterprise bargaining clauses related to dispute settlement and contracting

Forbes described the proposed changes as “union busting”.

The MUA claim anti-union proposals in the new agreements seek to undermine the safety and health of workers and tear up longstanding settlement procedures around contract issues.

“Unfortunately, despite our continued commitment to reach an agreement, we don’t think the company is getting the message,” MUA assistant national secretary Ian Bray said.

 

“So we are stepping up our campaign of legally protected action whilst continuing every effort to reach a deal.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Daniel Wallace is hopeful meetings over the next week with management will resolve the dispute, ABC reported.

"We've been in negotiations for the past eight months," he said.

"We've had about 50 meetings with management .

"We managed to resolve some issues yesterday but the main sticking points are still there.

"Hopeful over the next week we may be able to resolve the dispute."

PWCS told Australian Mining the company had been open in its negotiations.

“PWCS has been negotiating in good faith since July last year,” the spokesperson said.

“There is nothing that PWCS is proposing or seeking to negotiate in the new agreement that does not respect the rights of employees to belong to a union, or to be represented collectively.”

The spokesman said contingency plans are in place should the strikes go ahead to mitigate impacts to the local supply chain.

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