Following the first day of resumed talks between Hutchison Ports Australia (HPA) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) talking place under the auspices of the Fair Work Commission, acting CEO of HPA, Mark Jack, said that the discussions had been useful and constructive.
The two parties agreed to return to the negotiation table regarding the layoffs of 97 wharfies on August 28th.
The MUA and Hutchison Ports agreed to a six-week negotiation process to be overseen by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), deferring a Federal Court case which was set to begin next week.
According to Jack, at all times HPA had followed correct Australian procedures in relation to planned redundancies and had been focused on communications with its employees and customers as a priority.
He regretted that there had been some misunderstanding about the actions of the company more widely in the media but acknowledged this was perhaps inevitable given the painful situation confronting both the company and its employees and the associated emotions.
The layoffs were faced with fierce criticism from the public and media as the workers had been informed of their sacking via email. However, HPA said earlier in a clarification that the emails had been preceded by careful consideration and extensive face-to-face consultation.
In addition, HPA claimed that the text message and email communications are an agreed means of quickly sharing information between the company and staff, in line with the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).
On the other hand, the community assemblies remain ongoing despite resuming of talks.
MUA’s Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith, who is taking part in the FWC discussions, said it was important to keep up the pressure because the company would never had come to the table if the assemblies were not initiated in Brisbane and Sydney.
“The sacked 97 workers, despite being ‘reinstated’ by Federal Court injunction, remain in limbo for the time being,” Smith said.
“They are receiving wages but are yet to get through the gate and still require moral support in this trying time.
“Therefore I am asking all members and supporters to continue their attendance at the two assemblies.”
World Maritime News Staff