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Published: 19 Sep 2023
MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
CRUISE WHITSUNDAYS OFFERS OFFENSIVE $1 PAYRISE – WORKERS TO STRIKE AGAIN TODAY
WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2023
Workers employed by North Queensland maritime transport company ‘Cruise Whitsundays’, a subsidiary of multinational cruising company Hornblower, will stop work again TODAY, Wednesday 20 September, for seven days, after being offered a pocket change pay rise by their multinational employers. Workers will also refuse to charge passengers for alcohol or clean the vessels.
The Maritime Union is suggesting anyone with Cruise Whitsunday bookings check the company’s cancellation policy if their plans will be affected by the stoppages, which have been caused by management’s reckless refusal to offer a reasonable deal to their workforce.
The company’s HR representatives met with MUA officials and delegates on Monday, but workers left the meeting in bewilderment at a pay offer from the company that amounted to between $1 and $1.50 per hour for a small percentage of staff.
“The company’s offer is a completely unacceptable, unfair and indefensible position, so we have no choice but to take further industrial action,” said the MUA Queensland Branch Secretary, Jason Miners.
“Cruise Whitsunday don’t have a business without their workforce. These hardworking, loyal employees took a pay freeze during COVID, but with summer coming early and the post-COVID tourism boom, now it’s the workers’ turn to receive some recognition and respect for the contribution they’ve all made for many years to this profitable company,” Mr Miners added.
At the commencement of negotiations, the Union and its members sought pay parity with other operators doing the same or similar runs and charters, but Cruise Whitsundays have refused to match the pay on offer by other companies.
“If you take the management position at face value, this company is so poorly run and the upper management so overpaid that if the frontline workers got a decent wage outcome the business would go under,” said Mr Miners.
“This is a profitable company being fattened up for market by a global shipping outfit that doesn’t want to give its Australian workforce a fair-go.”
“The company’s reputation was built on the hard work of a workforce that delivers a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the most beautiful part of the world, but the crews are being paid barely more than the legal minimum wages while the company generates exorbitant profits greater than any of their five other businesses combined!” Mr Miners said last week at the commencement of the dispute.
At the commencement of negotiations, Cruise Whitsundays put forward a draft agreement that included a 3% wage increase for 2023, below inflation, and a 0% wage increase for 2024. This offensive and ridiculous offer was rejected by 87.4% of Cruise Whitsunday employees at a recent ballot.
Additional work stoppages commencing today, 20th of September will be complemented by staff wearing campaign t-shirts aboard the vessels as well as work bans on charging passengers for alcohol or cleaning company vessels.
In addition to the wage dispute brought on by Cruise Whitsunday’s refusal to offer a decent pay rise, the MUA is also in the process of lodging proceedings for breaches of the current employment agreement and crew underpayments that amount to multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars.