The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) says the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is looking to extend its industrial reach beyond the wharf.
It has protested a proposed amendment to the Stevedoring Industry Award that would see it cover haulage to and from wharf sheds and stacking areas as well as the cleaning and maintenance of containers.
“These will clearly impact on ARTIO’s members and their ability to work under the Road Transport and Distribution Award,” secretary and treasurer Peter Garske tells the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
“The RTD Award classification specifically covers packing and unpacking of containers and loading and unloading of trucks for delivery to a destination which may include a wharf.”
Garske also warns of potential disruption in the industry as one union moves into the work functions of another.
“The MUA application will most certainly lead to demarcation disputes with the Transport Workers Union, resulting in interruption to the efficiency and productivity of waterfront operators,” he says.
The application is part of a four-yearly award review process that is taking submissions from a wide range of stevedoring industry stakeholders.
Patrick Ports Limited – which has employees working on both awards – also opposes any change to the definition.
“The proposed variation seems intended, among other things, to bring PPL within the coverage of the Stevedoring Industry Award, at least in respect of some of its operations conducted at various container depots and associated facilities,” its response notes.
“The Patrick Companies submit that the FWC ought to retain the current definition.”
As published by the ATN