PLANNED industrial action at Port Hedland in the Pilbara has been averted after the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) reached agreement with Teekay Shipping on managing 12-hour caps for shifts carried out by the tug operator’s marine engineers.

After a failed vote last Tuesday on the previous EBA proposal made by Teekay, a three-day intensive negotiation led to agreement that in place of capping shifts at 12 hours, the company would endeavour to keep shifts below 12 hours.

The new agreement, which will be set to vote from this Friday, provides for no pay rise in the first year and a pay rise of 2% annually for each of the three following years, with an additional 28 days annual leave awarded per year.

Casual employees will also receive 15% leave loading under the proposed agreement to compensate for a provision enabling permanent employees to buy out additional annual leave.

The agreement, which also includes penalties for overtime worked on dry docks, is largely reflective of agreements already reached with the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Maritime Officers Union in recent months.

The proposed agreement, which the AIMPE said has received recommendation by the union, will go to vote this Friday before being lodged with the Fair Work Commission if successfully endorsed by the employees.

Offshore sector still at risk

Meanwhile, negotiations toward a new enterprise bargaining agreement for vessel operators in the offshore resource sector continue, with Farstad Shipping voicing a stronghold position on roster demands made by the Maritime Union of Australia.

In a statement released during a 24-hour strike carried out last Tuesday against the company, which services Chevron’s Wheatstone project off the coast of Western Australia, Farstad warned that it would not oblige the union’s demand for a new roster cycle.

“The MUA has told Farstad it wants its members to follow a four-week-on, four-week-off roster instead of the traditional five-week-on, five-week-off roster, even though Farstad employees haven’t given a sense that the traditional rostering is an issue,” the company said.

“The MUA claim that the change would create more family time for employees doesn’t make sense because it would result in more frequent travel time, meaning greater disruption to family life.”

“Farstad has advised industry and other stakeholders that it can’t and won’t budge on a demand from the MUA to change traditional employee rostering arrangements.”

Negotiations between Farstad Shipping and the Maritime Union of Australia are continuing.