MUA stalls strike action against Teekay to stabilise Port Hedland negotiations

The Maritime Union of Australia have turned the heat down on
the Teekay strike action in Port Hedland, allowing more time for negotiations. 

Industrial action by tugboat deckhands at the major iron ore
shipping port will be suspended for the next 30 days, in order to stabilise
negotiations.

MUA assistant secretary Will Tracey said this will allow
negotiations to proceed at a time when the discussion has been productive.

“Discussions between the two
parties this week have been productive and both parties would like to see if we
can reach a negotiated outcome without the need for industrial action,” he
said.

“This has always been the MUA’s
position, however recent intervention from industry groups and the Federal
Government was making the negotiating environment unstable, so we have moved to
stabilise it.”

Tracey moved to correct inaccurate comments released by BHP about the demands currently being made by the union.

“Regarding the relativity claim,
the award rate is for deckhands to receive 70% of a Master’s rate. Our members
only get 62% and we are seeking to increase this to 67%.

“Finally on the wage claim, we
have agreed to no wage rise for the first year of the agreement and a rise of
4% in years 2, 3 and 4.

Tracey has also pointed out that
although tugboat deckhands work a four on, four off roster, essentially meaning
they work for 6 months per year, in practice they work hours equivalent to 54
weeks full time.

The MUA and Teekay will continue
informal negotiations and will next appear before Fair Work Australia on June 5. 

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