In this case, the MUA began negotiations with the shipping industry about a log of claims. The union indicated it was prepared to negotiate individually with the employer on some of the matters in its industry log of claims, and three meetings were held between the union and the employer before the union sought a protected action ballot.
The employer objected to the application on the basis that the negotiations were not sufficiently advanced as the parties had not ‘rolled up their sleeves and started a real exchange of negotiations’. The employer argued that the union was not genuinely trying to reach agreement, relying on the decision in Total Marine Services Case, in which the commission found that an application for a protected action ballot order could not be granted unless the applicant had first clearly articulated its major claims to the other party. The full bench in this decision disagreed, relying on the more recent decision in JJ Richards Case in which the commission held that a party could be genuinely trying to reach agreement without having fully particularised its major claims.