MUA strikes back at AMMA for misleading the public

Tidewater employees were barred from striking earlier this week after accusations that the union had failed to negotiate with the shipping company in good faith.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA), lobbying for Tidewater, applied to the Fair Work Commission to withdraw its approval for the 48-hour strike action, which was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Across Australia 100 Tidewater employees voted unanimously for the strike action.

The AMMA executive director Scott Barklamb accused the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) of not genuinely trying to reach an agreement with Tidewater.

“AMMA took this step as we are concerned that the MUA is not telling its members what this strike action is really about,’’ he said.

“The union seems hell-bent on striking.

“It continues to mislead the public and its members on what is really going on in the negotiating room, in an attempt to justify such action.”

The MUA have returned fire, claiming that the AMMA have been misleading the public about this negotiation and others, including the Teekay pay dispute, for the last 18 months.

MUA WA secretary Christy Cain pointed out that the AMMA have frequently quoted incorrect figures when referring to pay disputes.

“AMMA has been misleading the public for more than 12 months about the wages and conditions of MUA workers and this is the latest deception in their politically motivated campaign against the MUA and Australia’s industrial relations laws,” he said.

“For 18 months, AMMA said cooks in the offshore oil and gas industry earned $230,000 per year, until BIS Shrapnel research found they earned an average of $160,000 per annum,” he said.

“Just last week, AMMA were implying that deckhands on Port Hedland tugboats only worked half the year.

“The reality is these deckhands work hours equivalent to 54 hours of a standard 37.5 hour working week each year.”

Cain suggested that the AMMA has misled the media and the general public about the amounts workers are paid, and the time they work.

“They’re not trustworthy,” he said.

“We’ve had over 130 meetings with the employers, and AMMA have done their bargaining for them, and if I was paying the bills… I’d be sacking the people at AMMA for their incompetence.

“It’s just a nonsense, what they’re doing… we believe it’s now just a political witchhunt for the maritime union.”

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