The National Interest

Mermaid Marine seeking to cut wages

Monday 13 Oct 2014

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) will commence protected industrial action at Mermaid Marine's Dampier supply base, as negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) stall.

Last week, the MUA gave Mermaid Marine notice that 65 stevedores would be taking legal protected action at the wharf for five consecutive 24-hour periods, commencing Wednesday 15th October, 2014.

The union had previously called off planned protected action, believing that negotiations would reach a positive outcome. However, the company's insistence that workers accept a cut in wages was unacceptable.

MUA WA Branch Assistant Secretary Doug Heath said it was unfair for a highly profitable company like Mermaid Marine to be asking workers to accept a pay cut.

"Last financial year, Mermaid Marine made a $54 million profit and they have an obligation to ensure their workers share in their success," Mr Heath said.

"The MUA understands the need to be responsible and our wage claim would result in the wages of our members remaining the same, in real terms, over the life of the new agreement.

"Mermaid Marine is asking our members to take a real wage cut of eight per cent over the life of the agreement, and we think this is an unfair position from a highly profitable company.

Mr Heath said Mermaid Marine was also seeking to make rosters less family friendly.

"Mermaid Marine wants to reduce the length of our members' shifts from 10 hours to 8.5 hours, meaning they will have to work an extra day per swing to achieve the same take home pay.  This will mean our members will have less time with their families and communities."

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