MUA seeking 22 per cent wage hike for offshore oil and gas workers

The Maritime Union of Australia says it is seeking a pay rise of 22 per cent over four years for those working in support roles for the offshore oil and gas industry.

The union, which has been brokering a deal since the enterprise bargaining agreement ended in mid-2013, says it had made concessions and lowered pay claims to try and forge an arrangement.

The pay claim has been reduced from 6 per cent a year over four years to 5.5 per cent, ABC reported.

MUA assistant secretary Will Tracey says he is hopeful a new agreement can be reached soon.

"We've dropped our wage claim to five point five per cent a year; we've backed off on the long service leave claim, we've withdrawn that; we've withdrawn a number of claims in the hope of reaching an agreement," Tracey said.

"We've applied to Fair Work to have the taking of industrial action suspended for another 30 days.

"We are very hopeful that the employers will pick this agreement up, there's been some encouraging signs individually from some of the employers."

However the Australian Mines and Metals Association have accused the MUA of failing to bargain in good faith.

AMMA represents the offshore oil and gas companies involved in negotiations with the MUA and has offered workers a wage rise of 16.5 per cent over four years.

AMMA's executive director Richard Berriman says the MUA has rejected its offer and believes workers are preparing to strike.

"The vessel operators are very disappointed but not surprised by the irresponsible and short-sighted conduct of the MUA," he said.

"The union has effectively both rejected the industry's very fair wage offer as well as thwarted the efforts of the Commission to work with the parties to resolve the negotiations.

"The union's conduct has been a deliberate, calculated and cynical attempt to construct a series of unreasonable demands and then justify to their rank and file the taking of strike action.

"It is very difficult for employers to bargain 'in good faith' with the MUA given its disingenuous approach."

The deal will cover vessel operators, cooks and stewards in the industry.

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