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.”
“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.