The ACTU's Greg Combet, said the agreement, to be put to workers at meetings this week, was a "total and decisive defeat for the Government and Patrick's agenda to bust the MUA". It is an important victory for the Australian union movement, which was won by the 100,000 people who marched in Melbourne on May 6, by the dockers and community activists in Los Angeles who forced the Columbus Canada to return with its scab loaded cargo.
Meanhile the farmer backed Stevedoring Company, P&C, is sacking its workers this morning, following a draft agreement which could end the waterfront dispute. P&C director Donald McGauchie says he has been left with no other option but to terminate the non-union workforce, but the company will remain, backed by key National Farmers Federation (NFF) executives.
Meetings are being held around the country this morning, with staff being told a possible resolution to the dispute between Patrick and the Maritime Union means P&C no longer has a role to play on the waterfront.
More than 620 wharfies will be offered voluntary redundancy under a peace deal, between the Patrick stevedoring company and the Maritime Union of Australia, that preserves union monopoly on the waterfront. A further 200 jobs in security, cleaning, maintenance, and line marking will be contracted out to companies employing union labor. MUA members made redundant will be able to apply for the positions.
All legal action will be dropped, with Patrick to pay the union's legal costs, believed to be millions of dollars. Employees will be paid all outstanding wages, including pay lost since the mass lockout of workers on 7 April. The three-year agreement provides for a 12 per cent wage rise.
Patrick also will not seek to change key award conditions and will withdraw an application to the Industrial Relations Commission to reduce overtime and penalty rates. Employees will receive a salary based on a 35-hour week with a five-hour overtime component. They will be paid a productivity bonus upon achieving an hourly rate of 16 crane lifts.
The chairman of Patrick, Mr Chris Corrigan, said yesterday that the Government would provide $80 million to fund the redundancies. In an element likely to be seized on by the Government, the agreement also commits workers to a productivity target of 25 net crane moves an hour.
Under the redundancy deal, an estimated 513 union members will be employed in the terminals area, with 174 employees to work in the general stevedoring operations. The deals provides for 628 MUA members to apply for voluntary redundancy starting in three weeks. Patrick is pushing for an extra 100 supervisory employees also to be made redundant.
In a sad afternote a dock worker has died after falling from a stack of containers in a ship's hold at East Swanson dock this morning. The 50-year-old worker was found by a colleague at 3:30am today, after being reported missing earlier. The Patrick employee had been working on the MSC Pride, which was docked at the wharf. MUA officials say at this stage they are too upset to speak about the accident.