There was a boom in dredging activity in Australia between 2011 and 2014.

Several major dredging projects took place with much of the activity happening simultaneously - or at least with significant overlapping periods.

As a result several major dredging companies brought large dredging equipment downunder to execute the projects.

With a more sensible rational planning process these projects might have been staggered over a longer period.

However as has so often been the case in the past, this was a boom period and every proponent wanted to get their project done immediately.

Subsequently the boom has turned to the inevitable bust.

Dredges that have operated in Australia:

Jan De Nul attack

(posted 31 08 16)

The Belgian dredging company Jan De Nul (JDN) has launched a new attack on Australian officers (Engineers and Deck Officers) by lodging with the Fair Work Commission a proposed Enterprise Agreement which would cut rates of pay for some classifications by over $100,000. JDN does not have any current dredging Agreements with AIMPE.

During the last dredging boom JDN used an Australian contractor AOS to supply Engineer Officers to their dredges. However JDN manipulated the situation by only requiring AOS to supply Australian Engineers for junior positions. AIMPE made an official complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman about the conditions applying to Lithuanian officers who were engaged in the senior positions on the JDN dredges. AIMPE’s complaint was based on information leaked to the Australian Engineers on the project. Unfortunately by the time that the FWO conducted its investigation it found that JDN was complying with the prevailing Australian requirements.

The rates of pay being proposed by JDN for large self-propelled dredging plant are:

Group 1

Chief Engineer            $130,000                     (compared with $247,593/$228,148 in the dredge EAs)

1st /Engineer             $117,000                     (cf. $206,419)

2nd /Engineer           $106,000                     (cf. $181,119)

Electrician                $106,000                     (cf. $206,419)


And for smaller dredges & support vessels:

Group 2

Chief Engineer            $111,000                     (cf. $228,148)

1st /Engineer             $106,000                     (cf. $197,682)

2nd /Engineer            $100,500                     (cf. $181,119)

Electrician                 $100,500                     (n.a.)


(identical rates for equivalent deck officers at each level)


AIMPE has written to the Fair Work Commission seeking access to the supporting documentation filed by JDN and foreshadowing AIMPE’s objection to the proposed Agreement. It goes without saying that JDN did not enter into any bargaining with AIMPE about this proposed Agreement.


What makes this application by JDN even more objectionable is that at the same time JDN has filed with the FWC and application for a separate EA with the MUA. The key salary figures in the proposed JDN MUA Propelled Dredging Agreement 2016 are:


Group 1 – Large Propelled dredges

Pump operator                        $159,203                     (compared with $176,892 in 2012-16  JDN MUA EA) 

Asst. pump operator               $147,696                     (cf. $164,107)

Crane Operator                      $146,201                     (cf.$162,445)

Greaser / GPH                       $141,942                     (cf. $157,713)


Group 2 – all other dredging  and support vessels

Bosun                                      $154,118                     (cf. $171,242)

Crane Operator                        $141,537                     (cf.$ 157,263)

Greaser / GPH                         $137,412                     (cf. $152,680)


In other words JDN propose to pay the lowest ranked of all of the ratings classifications more than every one of the Engineer classifications – including the Chief Engineer. This is absolutely preposterous and AIMPE will oppose the JDN application.


Jan De Nul's proposed Officers Agreement

JDN_EB_2016.pdf JDN_EB_2016.pdf (7.59 MB)

Jan De Nul's proposed MUA Agreement

MUA_JDN_2016.pdf MUA_JDN_2016.pdf (12.71 MB)

Dredging Industry Award

The Modern Dredging Award 2010 can be downloaded here Modern Dredge Award 2010 Modern Dredge Award 2010 (262.08 KB).