A new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement allowing Esperance Port to adapt to changing trade conditions has received approval from the Fair Work Commission.
Following its approval on May 10, 70 of the region’s Southern Ports staff are now covered by the Operations and Maintenance Enterprise Agreement 2018-2020.
During voting on April 3, more than 80 per cent of employees showed support for the implementation of the single enterprise agreement.
The agreement involved three weeks worth of negotiations and is understood to be the first of its kind to be passed in more than a decade without resulting in industrial action.
The process was the result of Southern Ports, the Maritime Union of Australia and an employee bargaining representative joining forces and adopting an interest based bargaining approach to the negotiations.
Southern Ports chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the new agreement allowed greater flexibility to cater for differing trade periods at the Port.
Mr Fertin also said the smooth progress of the agreement spoke to the improved decision-making capacity at the Port and good will from the union.
“The process provided an honest, transparent and collaborative approach allowing Southern Ports to work with employee representatives and the Maritime Union to find a win-win outcome,” he said.
Maritime Union WA assistant branch secretary Jeff Cassar said the agreement promised to modernise staff working conditions.
“The changes to roster and classification of duties gives employees confidence in their working hours and enough flexibility to effectively work in a port environment,” he said.
It is understood the union have secured a grandfather clause for all current employees in relation to redundancy.
According to the Commission, employees on the negotiating committee stated their interests included job security, being valued as employees, income stability and maintaining a work life balance.
Fair Work Commission deputy president Geoff Bull said he was satisfied that the group of employees to be covered by the agreement was fairly chosen and that all parties involved were cooperative and demonstrated a significant level of commitment to the negotiation process.