Media Release: Government pleased workers back on WA wharves in time for Christmas

16 December 2011

After POAGS management cancelled its employee lock-out and following a series of union meetings last night and this morning, all POAGS employees returned to work today on Western Australia’s wharves, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said today.

Following negotiations between the Minister, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and stevedoring company POAGS yesterday, both parties agreed to suspend industrial action and return to the negotiating table in the first steps to resolve their dispute. A four week conciliation process has been organised through Fair Work Australia.

“I’m very pleased POAGS has opened its gates and the workers have suspended their bans – this is an excellent result a week and a half before Christmas,” the Minister said.

“No one is saying this dispute is over – there are real concerns and issues on both sides – talking at the bargaining table is the way to resolve these issues and Fair Work Australia can support the parties in ensuring the negotiations are fruitful.”

“While it is legal for companies to pursue lockouts and unions to take long-term strikes, my preference in industrial disputes is to always exhaust less serious options first.”

“The vast majority of industrial negotiations are settled amicably, with good will shown by all parties. I have no doubt that while these negotiations are difficult, they too can be settled in the interests of the workers and their employer.”


Media contact: Shannon Walker – 0414 694 476