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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1408


Mr Sinclair asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

(1)   How many man hours were lost due to stoppages among workers employed at the Garden Island Naval Dockyard during each of the years 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973 to date.

(2)   What was the imputed cost of these lost man hours in each of the same years.

(3)   What was the frequency of involvement in industrial stoppages of the different unions represented among the Garden Island work force in each of the same years.

(4)   To what extent has the turn around of naval ships been disrupted by work stoppages among the Garden Island workforce.

(5)   On how many occasions have naval ships exceeded the original timetable for return to active service drawn up for them when they entered Garden Island for repairs or refits in each of the same years.

(6)   What ships exceeded their timetables.

(7)   On how many occasions have naval ships experienced difficulty in berthing and leaving Garden Island because of the refusal to handle the ships by workmen employed at Garden Island or on tugs in each of the same years.

(8)   What naval ships experienced these difficulties.

(9)   Have naval officers, non-commissioned naval officers or ratings ever complained since 1970 of offensive behaviour or language toward them by Garden Island workmen; if so, on how many occasions have these complaints been lodged, and what were those occasions.

(10)   During any industrial stoppage on Garden Island or following the end of such stoppages, have dockyard officials or naval officials subsequently discovered malicious damage to dockyard equipment; if so. on what occasions did these discoveries occur, and what was the nature of any damage.

(11)   Is the Government concerned about the industrial atmosphere at Garden Island from a national security viewpoint; if so, what action is proposed by the Government.


Mr Barnard - The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows:

 

 

(4)   Disruption of planned work by industrial dispute is a significant factor affecting the timely completion of refit work at Garden Island Dockyard. When time is lost due to industrial disputes early in the course of a refit it may be possible to recover lost time by working overtime, by rescheduling work or by deleting work from the work package. When disputes occur late in a refit there is usually no way of avoiding delay to the completion of the refit. Except where there has has been a total walk off the job it is not possible to state precisely to what extent individual ships have been affected by strikes, as the effect of a dispute is dependent upon the importance of the task delayed to the timely completion of the total refit. Where only one or two unions are involved some ships, depending on their type, may not suffer to the same extent as others.

(5)   1970, 5: 1971, 3; 1972, 7: 1973, 3.

 

(7)   and (8) Since 1970 there have been numerous occasions when RAN Ships have been delayed in arriving at and departing from Garden Island due to industrial disputes at the Dockyard but detailed records are not maintained. The ship principally affected was HMAS Sydney on her voyages to and from Vietnam.

(9)   There have been no such complaints lodged.

(10)   There have been no cases of damage at Garden Island attributable to industrial disputes.

(11)   From a national security viewpoint, the industrial atmosphere at Garden Island does not constitute a threat to the general efficiency of the RAN. However, industrial disputes at Garden Island do have some adverse effects on the operational availability of individual ships and the efficiency of the Dockyard is also impaired. There is continuing effort in consultation with unions and the ACTU to improve industrial relations with a view to minimising disputes and stoppages.







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