MUA-Fluor Daniel deal criticised
By Susan Price
and Ben Reid
MELBOURNE — News of the agreement between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and contractor Fluor Daniel has caused uproar among unionists. The agreement, which entails substantial pay reductions for workers, is part of the settlement of the Patrick dispute earlier this year.
Dean Mighell, state secretary of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, said that the CEPU members employed at Patrick "were sold a pup by the MUA national leadership in the settlement of that dispute".
"Maintenance workers were told they would have jobs with the Fluor Daniel contractors. That has proved not to be. Our union was never given a guernsey in those negotiations by the MUA or Patrick ... After our members endorsed the agreement, it turns out they won't all get jobs.
"The MUA went to Fluor Daniel, falsely claimed to represent our members and managed to negotiate a $16,000 pay cut! Our members, and those of the MUA, are up in arms about the result. It caused a huge divide between the unions."
Mighell said his unions are "very disappointed". "We gave a lot of support during the Patrick dispute and would do so again. We now have the MUA national office showing contempt for others who supported them.
"The worst aspect of the agreement was that the MUA leadership did not give the workers going over to Fluor Daniel a say. The MUA applied to the Industrial Relations Commission to register the agreement, which meant the rank and file did not have to be consulted to ratify it.
"That isn't unionism, it's cowardice. They should have faced their members, and our members, and had the debate out", Mighell said.