THE Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has been accused of hypocrisy by the peak resources and energy association, AMMA following confirmation the MUA is now proceeding with a further round of strike action against a company operating in the offshore oil and gas sector this coming weekend.

AMMA Chief Executive, Steve Knott, said despite the MUA being actively involved in an international agreement for a ‘wage freeze’ in seafarers salaries, in recognition the world shipping industry had been decimated by the global financial crisis the union is still pursuing what amounts to nearly a $100,000 increase on top of existing salaries here in Australia.

“The MUA’s actions are a kick in stomach for vessel operator Farstad. We took the MUA on their word when just last week they gave a clear commitment to sit down and try and resolve this matter,”

“Most people would not then expect to see the MUA turn around and order their members to proceed with another snap strike – before there was even a chance of the previously agreed scheduled discussions occurring.” Mr Knott said.

“For every day that MUA bosses tell seafarers to go on strike, thousands of other hardworking workers are also affected. Projects get delayed, companies are forced to postpone plans and as a result job security becomes less certain for other innocent workers.”

The average seafarer can receive wages and conditions that exceed $100,000 a year – nearly double that of the average Australian worker.

“On top of their existing conditions, the MUA are now recklessly pursuing a $30,000 increase over three years, plus a further $73,000 in construction allowances. Combined, these two demands could in some cases double existing salaries,” he said.

“This weekend’s actions of the MUA are not balanced, they are not reasonable. They are clearly designed to secure a short-term benefit for a select few at the expense of the business and long-term job security for Australians.”

Mr Knott said he also had grave concerns about the fall-out from this dispute.

“Other unions are watching this dispute very closely. We are reliably informed that if the MUA is successful in this case then we could expect to see a raft of similar claims spreading like wild fire across the oil and gas sector,”

“And as we all know – fires, oil and gas is not really a very good combination. Let’s hope some bright spark in the MUA wakes up to this before they completely destroy the recovery of the Australian oil, gas and shipping sectors.” Mr Knott said.

ENDS

Download AMMA Media Release here