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Patrick Terminals-dockworkers pact brings peace to Australian waterfront

Under the deal with Patrick Terminals, Australian dockworkers will receive an initial 4 percent pay raise followed by a hike of either 2.5 percent or a raise pegged to the consumer price index, whichever is higher, for each of the following three years. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

More than two years of labor unrest on the Australian waterfront has ended after Patrick Terminals agreed to a four-year labor deal with Australian dockworkers Monday.

Patrick, the biggest terminal operator in Australia, was the last of the major terminal companies to agree to a new deal with the Maritime Union of Australia. The deal follows multi-year agreements inked last year between the MUA and the other leading terminal operators in the country — DP World, Hutchison Ports Australia, and International Container Terminal Services — covering terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fremantle.

“At the 11th hour, an in-principle agreement with Patrick Terminals’ management has been struck for a new enterprise agreement…[that] will deliver pay increases above industry standard, [and] job security assurances…[for]…members at Patrick’s four terminals around Australia,” MUA’s assistant national secretary Jamie Newlyn said in a statement.

Under the deal, dockworkers will receive an initial 4 percent pay raise followed by a hike of either 2.5 percent or a raise pegged to the consumer price index, whichever is higher, for each of the following three years.

In return, the MUA has agreed to an overhaul of labor practices that will see an end to union officials in Sydney seeking a hiring quota for dockers’ family and friends.

“The new agreement will see the removal of the ‘family and friends’ employment restrictions. The new agreement has delivered other much-needed flexibilities for the Patrick operations,” a Patrick Terminals spokesperson said Monday.