Work at Patrick Stevdores’ Brisbane docks came to a halt today over a long-running pay dispute.

The Maritime Union of Australia says workers are willing to work, if the shipping company would let them.

Karin Adam reports.


Shipping containers sit idle at the Patrick dock at Fisherman Island.

Today the dispute affected more than 100 workers at Patrick’s wharves in Brisbane and hundreds more in Sydney.

It is expected to extend to Fremantle tomorrow.

Mick Carr, Maritime Union of Australia representative: “There are limitations in place but that is fully in line with Fair Work Australia.”

The limited union bans include not working overtime but they have been trumped by their employer.

Paul Williams, Patrick Wharf employee: “We are not on strike, we have been told that there is no work for us today.”

National negotiations over pay and conditions have stalled.

The union wants safety concerns addressed, along with a six per cent pay increase.

Paul Williams, Patrick Wharf employee: “We go to the table in good faith, we leave with nothing.”

Patrick are offering a five per cent pay rise, offset by productivity improvement.

Company Director Paul Garaty said  in a media release: “After lengthy and significant negotiations between the parties we are still far apart as evidenced by the MUA decision to ramp up its industrial action”.

Wharfies won’t be paid for today but they won’t surrender.

They want a quick resolution thereby avoiding the violent conflicts of the past.

Mick Carr, Maritime Union of Qld representative: “Stop, you know, with their secret little phone messages about they’re going to cause a massive industrial dispute in this country again on the wharves. That’s not what we want.  It’s not what we wanted in ’98.”

The parties have already been to the official negotiating table more than 10 times.

Patricks Stevedores’ has indicated it wants to work out the differences in the Fair Work Commission.

It’s requested a union response by 5pm today.

Karin Adam, QUT News.