Industrial Action 2022

Maritime unions have announced industrial action for Svitzer Australia tug masters, engineers and deckhands.

The towage operator said it is “experiencing a significant escalation in protected industrial action Across Australia’s major ports with widespread stoppages scheduled from 10th November through to 15th November”.

The newly announced protected industrial actions include:

Brisbane Industrial Action:

  • An 8 hour stop work period by tug masters from 2200 Saturday, 12 November until 0600 the following day
  • An 8 hour stop work period by tug engineers from 0601 until 1401 on Sunday 13 November.

Melbourne and Westernport:

  • An 8 hour stop work period by deckhands, engineers and masters from 0001 until 0800 on Monday, 14 November.

Sydney:

  • A 48-hour ban by tug masters on the performance of work on certain shipping line vessels (understood to be Maersk) on Saturday, 12 November and Sunday 13 November
  • A 48-hour stop-work period by casual and fixed term tug masters from 0001, Saturday 12 November until 0001, Monday 14 November
  • A 48-hour ban on performing recall and/or relief work from 0001 Saturday 12 November until 0001, Monday 14 November.

Western Australia:

  • At Albany and Fremantle, Svitzer said in a statement there is effectively 24 hours of work stoppages from 0700 on Thursday 10 November through a mix of tug engineer, master and deckhand stop-work actions.
  • At Kwinana, there is a similar situation with an effective 25 hours of stoppages from 0700 on 10 November through a mix of engineer, master and deckhand stop-work actions.

These are in addition to myriad other stop-work actions and work bans that the Maritime Union of Australia, the Australia Maritime Officers Union and the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers have announced over recent weeks.

According to the latest list issued by Svitzer, there are nearly 200 current notices of protected industrial action by the unions (as of Wednesday 09/11 afternoon).

Tuesday 15th November Update:

Svitzer Lockout of Harbour Towage Crews

We have been notified of Action taken yesterday (14/11) at 11am AEDT that Svitzer Australia informed the three Maritime Unions (MUA, AIMPE and AMOU), of its intent to lockout all crews covered by the Svitzer Australia Pty Ltd National Towage Enterprise Agreement indefinitely from 12pm Friday 18th of November 2022 AEDT. 

The Full Notice from Svitzer is below:

Dear Customers and Stakeholders

I’m writing to advise you that this morning at 11am AEDT, Svitzer Australia informed the three maritime unions (MUA, AIMPE and AMOU) and relevant crew of its intent to lockout all crews covered by the Svitzer Australia Pty Ltd National Towage Enterprise Agreement (2016) indefinitely, from 12pm, Friday 18 November 2022 AEDT.

The step is being taken by Svitzer under the provisions of the Fair Work Act in response to damaging and ongoing industrial action being organised by the unions.

Svitzer has been notified of more than 1100 instances of protected industrial action since October 2020. It has received more than 250 instances of protected industrial action since 20 October 2022 alone, amounting to nearly 2000 hours of work stoppages.

This action is causing serious harm and disruption to the national supply chain and Svitzer has had to respond to the protected industrial action as a matter of necessity – using the legal rights we have available.

Our goal throughout has been to try reach a new enterprise agreement. We have bargained in good faith exhaustively over the last three years.  We are only seeking a fair go for the business which is restricted by many legacy conditions that make it difficult to operate, meet the needs and expectations of our customers, and keep Australia’s imports and exports running.

This decision was not taken lightly, and we recognise that you will have many questions and will seek to understand the situation as comprehensively as possible.

We regret this information reaching you by email in the first instance but hope you can understand the need to share this with you as quickly as possible.

The lockout notice affects port operations in the following locations:

Queensland

Cairns

Mourilyan

Lucinda

Brisbane

NSW

Newcastle

Sydney: Port Botany & Port Jackson 

Port Kembla

Eden

Victoria

Melbourne

Westernport

South Australia

Adelaide

Port Pirie

Western Australia

Albany

Fremantle

Kwinana

Geraldton

Regards,
Nicolaj Noes
Managing Director

You can visit the Svitzer Website for more information.