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Svitzer Reaches Agreement in Principle with Australian Unions

David L Young / Shutterstock.com

Svitzer Reaches Agreement in Principle with Australian Unions

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2065
June 1, 2023

Svitzer Australia, a subsidiary of Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller Maersk, has announced an agreement in principle with Australia’s maritime unions on a new labor contract for Australian tugboat crews.

The agreement in-principle covers a proposed new National Towage Enterprise Agreement, which the two sides have been negotiating since late 2019. The agreement will now go up for a vote.

Svitzer said the deal provides both “certainty and benefits” to union members and represents a fair offer that is hopefully reflected by a favorable vote. Voting is set to take place from June 8-10.

“We remain committed to delivering safe, reliable and efficient harbour towage infrastructure and delivering the best possible service to our customers,” Svitzer Australia said in its announcement. “Svitzer thanks customers for its patience during this period.”

The agreement in principle comes after more than three years of unsuccessful bargaining between Svitzer and representatives from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE), and the Australian Maritime Officers’ Union (AMOU). Pay raises have been frozen during the negotiations.

Svitzer Australia tugs play a crucial role in assisting ships during their arrivals and departures at 17 Australian ports representing more than 75 percent of Australian trade, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

In November of last year, Australia’s Fair Work Commission ordered Svitzer Australia to scrap plans for a lockout of its harbor tug workers that would have crippled Australia’s major ports. Svitzer said the lockout was due to increased industrial action organized by the unions that Svitzer said was harmful to its ability to operate and causing serious disruption to Australia’s supply chain.

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