Protected Industrial Action being taken by the Maritime Union of Australia

Last updated 26/07/21

What is Industrial Action? 

A key objective of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) is achieving productivity and fairness in the workplace through the implementation of collective bargaining underpinned by simple good faith bargaining obligations and clear rules governing industrial action.

Industrial action can take several forms. Employees may go on strike (i.e. refuse to attend or perform work) or impose work bans (i.e. refuse to perform all their normal duties). In response to employee industrial action, employers may lock out their employees (i.e. close the doors or gates of a workplace and refuse to allow them to work).

What about Protected Industrial Action?

Employees and employers can only take protected industrial action when they are negotiating on a proposed enterprise agreement and that agreement is not a greenfields agreement or a multi-enterprise agreement.

The main importance of industrial action being protected is that it gives immunity from civil liability under State or Territory law (unless that action is likely to involve personal injury or damage, destruction or taking of property).

As we receive more updates on these actions we will be sure to update this page accordingly.

The most recent notifications we have received are in bold.


Patrick Terminals:

Statement from Patrick Terminals regarding the current status of negotiations with the MUA: 

  • Patrick has reached agreement with local MUA representatives in Brisbane and Melbourne, however, Sydney and Fremantle deals are yet to be agreed to by the MUA. 
  • Patrick has made a formal offer to the MUA of annual 2.5% increases across a four-year term for their members. The MUA are yet to respond to this offer and the ball is in their court. 
  • Patrick has been prepared to pursue an agreement with a limited number of changes in the hope that agreement could be reached with minimal disruption to customers and the general supply chain. 
  • The only key item from Patrick has been for the right to recruit employees as required to operate our business.  The present agreement means the MUA must agree for recruitment to occur and this process has been extenuated by the MUA taking on average 7 months before Patrick can start a recruitment process. 

Patrick Terminals – Sydney AutoStrad
• Sydney Terminal delays have increased to approx. 6.3 days.
• Average delay on-window vessels: 4 days.
• Average delay off-window vessels: 7.3 days.
• The MUA current has a ban on working on subcontracted vessels from other operators.

Patrick Terminals – Brisbane AutoStrad
• At present, there are no delays to the vessel schedule.

Patrick Terminals – Fremantle
• Experiencing significant delays
in Fremantle as a result of the MUA industrial action.

Patrick Terminals – Melbourne
• At present, there are no delays to the vessel schedule.


The complete list of notifications is as follows:

Patrick Terminals – Sydney AutoStrad

  • A ban on the performance of overtime commencing at 6am Thursday 17 June 2021 for a 14-day period finishing at 6am on Thursday 1 July 2021.
  • A ban on the performance of shift extensions commencing at 6am Thursday 17 June 2021 for a 14-day period finishing at 6am on Thursday 1 July 2021.
  • A ban on the performance of work on vessels that have been subcontracted to or outsourced to Patrick Terminals by another stevedoring company from 00:01 on Thursday 24 June 2021 until Thursday 15 July 2021.
  • Stoppages of work of 1-hour duration at 0500, 1300 and 2100 each day commencing on Thursday, 24 June 2021 for a 21-day period until Thursday 15 July 2021.

Patrick Terminals – Brisbane AutoStrad

  •  A ban on the performance of upgrades and/or work in higher levels from 0700 on Wednesday 30 June 2021 until 2300 on Friday 2 July 2021.
  • A ban on the performance of work when an employee is rostered as “off/avail” from 0700 on Wednesday 30 June 2021 until 2300 on Friday 2 July 2021.
  • A ban on the performance of work on vessels that have been subcontracted to or outsourced to Patrick Terminals by another stevedoring company from 0700 on Wednesday 23 June 2021 until 2300 on Wednesday 7 July 2021.
  • Stoppages of work for 1-hour duration at 03.30, 11.30 and 19.30 on each day from Thursday 22 July 2021 to Wednesday 28 July 2021 (inclusive of those days).
  • Stoppages of work of 24 hours duration commencing at 0700 on Wednesday 21 July 2021 and 0700 on Thursday 29 July 2021.
  • A ban on the working of overtime from 0700 on Thursday 22 July 2021 until 0700 on Thursday 29 July 2021.
  • A ban on the working of shift extensions from 0700 on Thursday 22 July 2021 until 0700 on Thursday 29 July 2021.

Patrick Terminals – Fremantle

  • A ban on attending for work on days an employee is rostered as “off/avail” commencing from 7.00am Wednesday 30 June 2021 and ending at 7.00am on Wednesday 21 July 2021.
  • A ban on the performance of upgrades and/or work in higher levels commencing from 0700 on Saturday 3 July 2021 and ending at 2300 on Monday 5 July 2021.
  • A ban on attending for work on days an employee is rostered as “off/avail” commencing from 7.00am Wednesday 21 July 2021 and ending at 7.00am on Wednesday 11 August 2021.
  • Stoppages of work of 24-hours duration commencing at 2300 on 22 July 2021 and 2300 on 25 July 2021.

Patrick Terminals – Melbourne

  • A stoppage of work of 1-hour duration at 0600, 0700, 1400, 1500, 2200 and 2300 on each day from Tuesday 29 June 2021 to Friday 2 July 2021 (inclusive of those days) – reducing shift duration by 2 hours on each shift.
  • Stoppage of work of 24 hours duration commencing at 0700 on 23 July 2021.
  • Stoppage of work of 8 hours duration commencing at 1100 on Wednesday 28 July 2021.
  • Stoppage of work of 4 hours duration commencing at 0300 on Wednesday 28 July 2021.
  • A stoppage of work of 8 hours duration commencing at 1100 on Monday 2 August 2021.
  • A stoppage of work of 8 hours duration commencing at 1100 on Wednesday 4 August 2021.
  • A stoppage of work of 4 hours duration commencing at 0300 on Monday 2 August 2021.
  • A stoppage of work of 4 hours duration commencing at 0300 on Wednesday 4 August 2021.
  • A ban on the working of overtime from 0700 on Saturday 31 July 2021 until 0700 on Saturday 7 August 2021.
  • A ban on the working of shift extensions from 0700 on Saturday 31 July 2021 until 0700 on Saturday 7 August 2021

Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT):

Victoria International Container Terminal has completed its collective bargaining negotiations with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The new proposed enterprise agreement has been successfully voted in by the company’s Operational and Engineering employees and will be valid for four years providing industrial certainty at VICT.

Key elements of the new agreement include:

  • Unique stevedore arrangements and flexibilities specifically aligned to complement VICT’s specialised automated container management systems. For instance, VICT’s Operational 4 shifts on, 4 shifts off roster, along with a flexible 42-hour roster to continue, as well as VICT’s unique automated workplace roles and efficient manning levels.
  • All Levels including casuals have been increased closer to so called “Industry Standards” within the first year followed by 2.5%, 3% and 3% for the remaining three years.
  • By the 4th year, the average pay increase would equate to 13.6% over current rates covering all permanent employees.
  • Total of 62 new permanent positions will be created. Based on the new agreement, it provides VICT with greater flexibility in our allocations and rosters.

Hutchison Port Australia:

It has been announced on 28th June that after three years of negotiations, the Maritime Union of Australia has reached a ground-breaking workplace agreement with the world’s largest stevedoring company, setting a new industry standard at container terminals in Sydney and Brisbane.

Workers will receive five 2.5% wage increases over the four year agreement once certified by the Fair Work Commission.

The agreement with Hutchison Ports Australia will see the introduction of 20 days paid domestic violence leave, the creation of permanent rosters, and the addition of a clause that gives the workforce the ability to find alternatives to redundancies in the event of an economic downturn.

As of Saturday 12th June 12:01am in Brisbane:

  • An unlimited number of bans on the performance of upgrades and/or work in higher Levels for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • An unlimited number of bans on the performance of shift extensions for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • An unlimited number of bans on the performance of call-ins or late calls for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • An unlimited number of bans on the performance of working advanced or delayed start times for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • Six consecutive four-hour stoppages of work from 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021 till 12:01am Sunday 13 June.
  • A ban on straddle cranes / shuttles performing any twin lifting operations for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • All discharge and back loading movements of containers will only be carried out in order of sequence of load plan for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021; and
  • The wearing of union merchandise, logo’s, trademarks, badges or stickers for an indefinite period commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021.
  • Bans on performance of overtime for an indefinite period commencing commencing 12:01am Saturday 12 June 2021
  • Maintenance employees to use non-dominant hand when using tools when it is safe to do so for an indefinite period from 0700 Friday the 25th of June

“Please contact Hutchison Ports Australia Commercial Department should you require any further information. Tel: (02) 9578 8500″


Svitzer Australia

The notice of protected industrial action planned to take place involves members of the MUA employed by Svitzer Australia:

  • Four rolling 4-hour stoppages for a total of 16-hours duration in Melbourne and Westernport commencing at 4.00pm on Friday 23 July through to 08.00am Saturday 24 July.

Image sourced from Unsplash.com