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Victorian Opposition pushes to solve MUA Patrick dispute

Patrick MUA

Roma Britnell, Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight in Victoria, tells MHD the Labor government has to act swiftly to avoid union action wreaking havoc on supply chains at Victoria’s docks.

The comments are in response to Patrick Terminals lodging an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to terminate its enterprise agreement with 1081 of its wharfies.

Patrick’s application to the FWC was made on October 26, the day after the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) announced that workers in Melbourne would carry out four- and eight-hour stoppages on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the first two weeks of November.

Roma says the consequences of union action will get passed further down the chain, and the ones paying the price in the end will be Victorian consumers.

“As Victoria emerges from the world’s longest lockdown, Daniel Andrews and Labor should be doing everything they can to get Victoria back to normal and support the state’s economic recovery,” she says. “Instead, the Andrews Labor Government is completely silent while the MUA causes havoc to supply chains at the docks.”

“Once again, Labor are showing they do not govern for regular Victorians, and will not stand up for our state when a union holds it to ransom.”

Melissa Horne, Minister for Ports and Freight says the Andrews Labor Government urges all parties to resolve the dispute at the negotiating table rather than taking disruptive action on either side.

“This is a matter for the terminal operator and its workforce,” Melissa says. “However, we urge parties to make all attempts to resolve their dispute – including using the conciliation powers of the Fair Work Commission.”

Paddy Crumlin, MUA National Secretary claims Patrick’s move is an attack on its workers that shows why an agreement has not been reached.

“The disagreements between the two parties are easily resolved and have been achieved within the industry with other stevedoring companies without them resorting to this type of character assassination,” he adds.

However, the Liberal Shadow Minister that it’s Labor’s duty to intervene to resolve the dispute ahead of the holiday season. “Daniel Andrews will be the grinch who stole Christmas for kids across Victoria if their presents cannot be delivered this year due to the actions of Labor’s buddies in the MUA,” Roma says.

“The Minister needs to sort out her mates in the MUA and ensure that Victoria’s economy is not locked down by a supply chain crisis. After two years of Labor’s lockdowns, businesses cannot afford another one if the MUA gets its way and cripples Victorian freight.”

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