MUA DIVISIONAL QUADRENNIAL ELECTION 2019 – 2023 p30
THE MARITIME WORKERS’ JOURNAL AUTUMN/WINTER 2019
Shorten Govt to launch Australian flagged and crewed strategic fleet
FIGHTING BACK Sacked iron boat crew vow to swing the vote and sack the government
COURT VICTORY: Bid to quash super union fails as Federal Court rejects rogue employer move to outlaw amalgamation
LAUNCH: Toll launches new ship; Labor to launch strategic fleet to fuel the Australian economy
SACKED AT SEA: Union fights back as last two BHP iron boats axed
SWINGING SEATS: Union mobilises on the ground in key marginal electorates to change the government and change the rules
PORTS OF CONVENIENCE: Union calls for Melbourne terminal audit as ICTSI Manila-based subsidiary takes over yard operations and jobs, endangering port security
UNION BALLOT: Elections under way
Cover: Michele O’Neil, ACTU President, with Mariloula MUA crew Ben Sirasch and Jesse Stevens. IMAGE: JOSHUA WONING
EDITOR IN CHIEF Paddy Crumlin DESIGN LX9 Design for Magnesium Media PRINTER Spotpress
Maritime Workers’ Journal 365-375 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000 Contact: (02) 9267 9134 Fax: (02) 9261 3481 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.mua.org.au MWJ reserves the right at all times to edit and/or reduce any articles or letters to be published. Publication No: 1235 For all story ideas, letters, obituaries please email email@example.com
LOGGING ON PADDY CRUMLIN ELECTION TIME The Morrison government looks more and more like a bunch of rats on a sinking ship. It’s listing badly and the union is investing time, money and worker activism in marginal seats in the run to the election. We must work to achieve a Shorten Labor Government come May. Still, I won’t be holding my breath that the world is immediately transformed. I’m in the Labor Party. They are not the second coming. But I do know something about Labor under Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese: they have promised and written in blood that they will invest in Australian industry that builds our lives and communities rather than undermines them like the present gang of villains in the Federal Government. Labor has clearly committed to reinvest in Australian jobs. They will mandate a strategic fleet. They will put in place a genuine Australian industrial relations system so workers and their unions can’t be treated like shit by employers – so seafarers can’t be dragged out of their bunks in Portland in the middle of the night and replaced by foreign seafarers. Or told when you get to Hong Kong you are finished, finito, gone because the companies that require your ship to carry iron ore for them have secretly got the government to issue licenses so your job can be taken away. There will be new laws so Australian stevedoring workers don’t see their jobs go to virtual call centres in Manila or Hong Kong. We must ensure Labor are elected – if only for the sake of every Australian seafarer and maritime worker treated with contempt and replaced with foreign labour in their own country as a negligent and dysfunctional government sets about destroying our domestic
shipping industry to suck up to their mates and masters in Mines and Metals Association and companies like BHP. Once they are elected, Labor must be held to account by those workers and all who supported them, now, tomorrow and every day. Our new union, the ACTU under Sally McManus and Michelle O’Neill and the trade union movement are focused on – and will remain committed to – that goal.
A TALE OF TWO SHIPS
Toll launched two new ships in February – the Tasmanian Achiever II and the Victorian Reliance II. I was invited by Toll as a keynote speaker at the launch of the Reliance in Melbourne on 24 February. Here is what I had to say: The Bass Strait this week is like the Tale of Two Cities. They launched one of the ships last week I understand. Scott Morrison was it? What did he have to say, the hypocrite? My mail is he said if he identified any Australian seafarers in the Bass Strait he’d send them to Manus Island. And he was going to get BHP and BlueScope to take over from the security contractor there because of their sensitivity to the rights of others. (Much laughter). And did I hear Victoria International Container Terminal Limited would be doing the stevedoring there? Great crew! So, I’m much happier to be this side of the Bass Strait with the good guys in parliament (Bill Shorten, Anthony Albanese and Kim Carr) who are committed a sustainable basis for Australian industry. You can’t have a civilised society without recognition of our sovereign rights in natural commodities such as iron ore and other minerals, along with gas and other fuel sources that are owned by the Australian people and leased or rented at favourable conditions on behalf of all of us. In that way, shipping like rail and road is part of a supply chain linked directly to those sovereign rights. Everything else peddled by companies like BHP and their Mines and Metals franchisee is at best a sophisticated distortion and at worst an outright lie. Mick (Byrne) when starting the launch referred to the historical fact that Vikings launched their ships with a blood sacrifice. If needed I’ve got a short list in my pocket if you want one. (Much laughter.) And while commenting on shipping matters I want to say what a wonderful contribution BHP and BlueScope have made to Australian shipping. The last ship I played a part in naming was a BHP ship – the 350-tonne-deadweight Iron Pacific. It was then the world’s largest Cape size bulkie. That was the last ship launch and that was one of a long line of BHP ships. Well, BHP has made its latest contribution by taking the last two ships away, notwithstanding the same iron ore is needed for our steel industry here in Australia. And BlueScope’s proposed contribution to our sovereign wealth is to bring iron ore from Brazil – presumably after BHP and Vale’s environmental and corporate dysentery has been cleaned up at their Samarco mining site and the families of the dead killed in their tailing dam disasters paid off. So I’m glad Toll has made a counter proposition of bringing two ships back. The tale of two ports is also a tale of two visions. We are building an opportunity here. People like John Mullen and Michael Byrne, who head Toll, have put the time into this country and helped build a genuine industry that ties sovereign wealth with manufacturing endeavour and does it to employ Australian seafarers and Australian wharfies and not sack them. Toll is now one of the world’s largest freight forwarders. That tells the real story of what it means in this country to allow all of us to be able to come together in our mutual interest. The employees of Toll must be recognised too. The stevedoring workers, the seafarers
sailing aboard it. The many more transport and admin workers recognised by the company and in turn recognising decency and commitment back. So let’s enjoy our heritage. Let’s understand we are a shipping nation. We carry Australian cargoes across the Bass Strait. We’re doing it with a company in Japan that wholly owns Toll and that has a belief and a vision for the supply chain not only for Australia and the region but internationally. This is vision. And as Bill Shorten outlined, with that vision, commitment and determination, we have the ability to reinforce our wonderful maritime and industrial history and regain the Australia we deserve to live in.
A week before the launch of the Toll ships the Canadian Seafarers’ International Union held a rally in solidarity with sacked BHP Australian seafarers outside the Australian Embassy in Ottawa. It was beamed live to rallies here in Wollongong, Melbourne and Canberra. Speaking to the Wollongong gathering I recalled the BHP ship, the Iron Knight, that went down off the south coast in WWII. If seafarers didn’t serve the country in war we wouldn’t be here today. That’s something that has been cemented over and never recognised. One in eight Australian merchant seafarers died in WWII – 86 on BHP vessels in Australian waters. Their bodies were never recovered. Some of their families are here today. BHP ships were hard ships, but fair ships in my day. They were hard skippers and mates. But they provided an opportunity for young Australians. Many Australian seafarers have gone through the fo’c’s’le. We took steel down to Westernport to make jobs. That’s how I got my first house. That’s the reason we’ve got Maritime Super and that’s why we can age with dignity. You can’t make steel unless you can get iron ore round from Port Hedland to Port Kembla and in those days Newcastle. You can’t be a country if you can’t make steel. You can’t construct an economy if you don’t have manufacturing. You can’t build an industry that is going to feed an economy and a community if you don’t pay them Australian rates of pay. Does anyone blue about what we pay truck drivers here? Does anyone blue about the train drivers? It’s not like you don’t need a manufacturing industry, you don’t
Joe Italia, MUA Victoria branch secretary (left) with Paddy Crumlin, , Jack Naylon, Chief IR, Victorian Reliance and Bob Patchett, assistant branch secretary at the Toll launch in Melbourne
need a fridge, you don’t need a job or that the aspirations of those young men and women who went on to be deck ratings and officers don’t exist in the community today. It’s not like we still don’t need a home, don’t need to educate our kids, don’t need dignity and decency in retirement. Largely our Australian community knows you stick together. That way you have a voice with power and dignity. Do you think it will end with Australian seafarers pulled off their ships and replaced with foreign seafarers for a fraction of what you earn; to carry the same iron ore you’ve been carrying for 100 years to make the same steel at BlueScope? BHP once sold Australian steel. Now they are more interested in selling ore to China and making steel in China than providing jobs in Australia. It’s a national disgrace.
PORTS OF CONVENIENCE
ITF Congress has declared the International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) Melbourne subsidiary (VICT) a Port of Convenience. That means the full resources of the global union movement are going into pulling this rogue company into line. We have since learnt that ICTSI’s move to replace Australian jobs with automation and offshore labour is all on the record. It’s no longer our word against theirs. ICTSI announced the formation of a subsidiary Asia Pacific Business Service Inc (APBS) to the Philippines stock exchange back in 2015. APBS is “dedicated to business process outsourcing and related services to subsidiaries and affiliates of ICTSI in the Asia Pacific region”. Just a month ago they were advertising new jobs to service their operations using “virtual communication tools” and the Gate Operating System and Terminal Operating System – the software used for Automatic Stacking Cranes. First to go were data entry jobs on the security gates! We might as well outsource our Customs and Immigration to workers in the Philippines squinting at computer screens and video security cams while levering joy sticks 12 hours a day, six days a week for a few hundred dollars a month. Clearly this is not just about our jobs. It is about security. Cyber security. Yet Home Affairs (the mob controlled by wannabe PM Peter Dutton) has denied it is happening and there is a problem. Is this another Webb Dock (1998) conspiracy or just plain stupidity? We are taking this matter to the Victorian Labor Government and to Canberra. Questions will be asked in parliament. We are calling for an independent terminal audit. This is about state security – just as much as fuel security is about national security. And it has emboldened the other stevedores to also take us on and play tough. It’s got to stop. (Full story p24) n
COURT VICTORY The Federal Court has rejected a bid by big business to overturn the union right to self determination.
espite some 150,000 members of three unions overwhelmingly voting in a ballot run by the Australian Electoral Commission to merge their unions in 2018, rogue employers tried to block the amalgamation in the courts. The Fair Work Commission ratified the merger of the Maritime Union of Australia, the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union in March, 2018. But employer groups representing multinational miners challenged the outcome in the courts. They failed. On December 14, 2018 the Federal Court rejected the Australian Mines and Metals Association’s arguments that the law prohibited the super union amalgamation. AMMA represents multinational corporations including Chevron, Adani, Exxon Mobil, Fortescue, Santos, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Woodside, Svitzer and others in the resources and energy industry. Had the AMMA bid to squash the democratic rights of workers succeeded, the CFMMEU could have been forced to break up. “It was a very welcome outcome that made it very clear that it’s workers who decide who to amalgamate with or not,” said CFMMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor. “It would have been pretty outrageous if, after extensive consultation and an overwhelming majority
vote, the democratic will of union members was overturned.” “Now we don’t have to look over our shoulders,” he said. “We can get on with it and move the new union forward and maximise the benefits for all its members. “We just have to come up with a new name,” he added. In union circles the title is such a mouthful it’s becoming known as the mumblers’ union. “In the press we are the super union,” said MUA National Secretary and CFMMEU International President Paddy Crumlin. “And no doubt the AMMA and Morrison government call us by other names.” “But the big challenge now is to help workers regain control of the workplace and their working lives,” he said. “Australia’s workplace laws have become so skewed in favour of big business that they actually believed employers should have the right to decide how workers represent themselves.” TCFUA National Secretary-elect Jenny Kruschel said that while the Federal Court outcome was a great victory, it was just one battle in the larger struggle to restore balance to industrial laws in Australia. “Big business has too much power in Australia, which is why wages have stagnated and insecure work has exploded,” she said. The court action was the second AMMA bid to undermine democracy and
break the union. It followed an unsuccessful government attempt to pass legislation that would have barred the amalgamation. The bill failed to get crossbench support in the Senate. The Fair Work Commission approved the amalgamation in March last year, overruling opposition by the Turnbull government, big business and the Master Builders’ Association. It then knocked back an appeal by the AMMA and MBA. AMMA then took the matter to the Federal Court. Time has now run out for the AMMA to further appeal the decision in court. Big business is now focusing on trying to take back workers’ super.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus hit out at the draft decision of the Productivity Commission to remove workers’ representation from superannuation boards as undemocratic. In a bid to attack workplace democracy the Productivity Commission – at the bidding of big business – in January recommended “independent” management of funds without worker representation. “Unions established super for members,” said CFMMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor. “The big end of town thought we wouldn’t make a success of it. But with each decade union super funds are getting bigger. They are outperforming the retail funds, which are seriously conflicted. Big business
Workers’ capital in action ACTU calls on industry super funds to bring BHP to the table
T is pocketing money for themselves and their shareholders. “The fact we have trillions of dollars in Australia and trillions more internationally, means we can invest in social and environmental outcomes and help grow jobs – good secure jobs you can build your life around.” The Workers’ Capital movement is cochaired by CFMMEU International President Paddy Crumlin. It aims to use the workers’ $38 trillion funds globally as leverage on companies. Workers’ Capital would see investment in financial markets across the globe dependent on companies putting in policies that sustain and grow returns and not undermine them with short term semi-legal or illegal tax avoideance, labour exploitation and environmental degregation. “We won’t be investing in anything exploiting labour,” said O’Connor. “Companies that are not acting responsibly, not supporting ILO standards can be brought to account.” The representatives of workers on pension fund boards have a critical role to play in ensuring companies respect human and labour rights, remain financially sustainable, and minimise environmental impacts. Big business sees this as a threat. Removing union representatives from the boards of industry super funds and stopping workers joining industry funds is on the current Federal Government’s agenda to avoid this type of accountablity. n www.mua.org.au
he Australian Council of Trade Unions is calling on the 30 Australian industry superannuation funds to put pressure on BHP over its decision to axe 80 seafarers on local ships. ACTU President Michele O’Neil announced in February that she had written to the funds seeking their active support in dealing with BHP’s alleged human rights and social governance failures. She also called on the funds to exert pressure on BHP to reverse its decision to terminate its vessel management and crewing arrangements for the two Australian-crewed bulk carriers, Mariloula and Lowlands Brilliance on contract to ship iron ore to BlueScope until June this year. A divestment campaign against BHP (and BlueScope) could even go global. Workers’ Capital is an international labour union network with over 400 participants from 25 countries and trillions of dollars in investments. It is a joint initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation, the Global Unions Federation and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin is the co-chair of the committee for workers capital and one of the key leaders of this initiative. “Industry funds have a proud history of using their investment power to advance the interests of Australian workers, as do pension and superannuation fund managers around the world,” said O’Neil. “If BHP wants working people to invest their retirement savings in the company they must act appropriately and protect the jobs, wages, conditions and lives of working people, and respect the communities that they’re operating within.” O’Neil wrote to industry funds she anticipated have invested in BHP, “either directly or indirectly through asset managers, given the company’s global footprint”.
“I request that your fund (at senior management or investment committee level) assess BHP’s ESG [environmental, social and governance] performance and investment risk profile against your fund’s investment policy ... and that your fund seek to engage with BHP at board or senior management level in the near future.” A briefing paper, available in full on the MUA website, highlights “BHP’s cavalier approach” and failure “to uphold its human rights commitments as a signatory to the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” she said. O’Neil wrote that she expects industry funds to ask BHP to commit to meet with the ACTU to discuss human rights issues, if possible in March.
Initially only BHP was in union sights. However, after BlueScope announced both a 42% increase in first half profits to $624.3 million and its plans to ship iron ore from India, Brazil and Africa, as well as Australia, both companies could be targeted. ‘‘For BlueScope to say that a real alternative is to bring in Brazilian iron ore, carried three-quarters of the way across the world with the vessels returning empty to Brazil, all while burning fuel for no good reason, is an utter nonsense,’’ Crumlin told the Australian Financial Review. ‘‘This is nothing more than an attempt to deflect from the fact that, along with BHP, they have just sacked two Australian crews carrying Australian iron ore owned by the Australian people. ‘‘Any other company would be embarrassed to announce that they are looking to contract iron ore from Vale, just weeks after a tailings dam at one of the company’s iron ore mines failed, killing more than 150 people, and destroying a number of indigenous communities.’’ n
LABOR TO LAUNCH STRATEGIC FLEET Labor leader Bill Shorten pledges a Labor Government will bring Australian flagged and crewed ships back on the coast and in key trades
“For the past five years the AbbottTurnbull-Morrison government has stood idle as large multinationals dumped Australian flagged and crewed vessels so they could hire overseas crews.”
Bill Shorten with Paddy Crumlin, Anthony Albanese and Mich-Elle Myers
“We are an island nation, we are a seafaring nation. We have the people, the skills, the know-how, the get up and go to rebuild an Australian merchant fleet. And if elected I promise you the next Labor Government will make Australia a seafaring nation again.”
his was the pledge Opposition leader Bill Shorten made at the launch of Toll’s purposebuilt 700 TEU ship the Victorian Reliance II at Webb Dock Port Melbourne on 24 February. The pledge followed the detailed release of Labor’s shipping policy that day. In a joint release, Shorten and the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Anthony Albanese announced Labor would revive Australia’s shipping industry and create a strategic fleet. “A Shorten Labor Government will enhance Australia’s economic sovereignty and national security by creating a strategic fleet to secure our access to fuel supplies, even in times of global instability,” Labor announced. “Australia relies on shipping to move 99% of our imports and exports – it is
Bill Shorten with Chief IR Jack Naylon
in Australia’s economic, environmental and national security interests to maintain a vibrant maritime industry. But Australia’s own merchant fleet as well as the skilled workforce it trains and employs is fast disappearing.” Shorten noted that over the past 30 years the number of Australian flagged vessels had shrunk from 100 to just 13. “It is in our national interest to change that,” he said. “For the past five years the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has stood idle as large multinationals dumped Australian flagged and crewed vessels so they could hire overseas crews. “This has destroyed the jobs of Australian seafarers and created a situation where none of the vessels our nation relies upon to deliver its essential supplies of crude oil, aviation fuel and diesel are registered in this country or crewed by Australians.” Once elected, Labor would set up
a taskforce to guide the government on how to establish the fleet, which would include around a dozen vessels including oil tankers, container ships and gas carriers. The vessels would be privately owned and operated, but available to be requisitioned by the government in times of national need. A taskforce of oil companies, ship owners and operators, industry bodies represented by Maritime Industry Australia Ltd, maritime unions and the Department of Defence would advise the government on the details. At the same time a Labor Government is committed to enforcing existing laws around coastal shipping, ensuring domestic freight is moved between Australian ports, by Australian operated, flagged and crewed ships. If no Australian vessels are available, foreign flagged vessels would have to pay their crew Australian wages on the domestic trade. “We would order the Department of Infrastructure to resume proper oversight of the issuance of temporary licences that allow overseas flagged and crewed vessel to work around our coasts,” Shorten and Albanese announced. In January Shorten lashed out at the Coalition government on national television over the loss of the last two BHP iron boats from the Australian coast. “The government can wrap itself in the flag when it comes to Australia Day but they are asleep at the wheel when it comes to Australian seafarers,” he said on ABC television. “I make no apology for looking at policies that increase the number of Australian ships carrying the Australian flag at their stern.” n
TOLL: THE BIG ACHIEVER Toll launches two ships in one week with workers and Maritime Union officials as guests of honour
abor and the union were guests of honour for the launch of Toll Group’s second new cargo vessel, the Victorian Reliance II at Webb Dock Port Melbourne on 24 February. A week earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was invited to the launch of its sister ship the Tasmanian Achiever II in Burnie, Tasmania. Given recent hostilities between the government and the union, the 369 kilometres of separation across the seas was appropriate. Only a month earlier, the BHP/BlueScope iron ore bulk carriers were flagged out with the loss of 80 Australian seafaring jobs – and the union holds the government to blame. So, when MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin was invited onto the podium as a keynote speaker alongside Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Toll management and other dignitaries, he noted the government and BHP/BlueScope’s failure to support Australian shipping. “What did Scott Morrison have to say? I understand he said if he identified any Australian seafarers in the Bass Strait he was going to send them to Manus Island,” Crumlin quipped.
Paddy Crumlin shares a joke with Aarin Moon, organiser, MUA Newcastle
Crumlin congratulated Toll Group management and Toll’s owner Japan Post for their vision and commitment to Australian shipping and nation building. The launch complete with traditional champagne smashing, a soprano rendition of the national anthem and a big brass band attracted a crowd of 1,000. Auntie Carolyn Briggs provided a welcome to country, noting that first nation people of the region were also custodians of the sea and celebrating their early leaders, culture
and society. Labor leader Bill Shorten spoke passionately of his maritime heritage, of his father a seafarer from Newcastle upon Tyne and of growing up in Melbourne where the family moved and his father worked in ship repairs. “I remember falling in love with the ships, the sheer scale of machinery, the energy and the productive nature of skilled workers going to work every day,” he said. “I remember most of all the pride of the maritime industry. The seafarers and waterside workers that I would meet knew that they were part of the camaraderie, something big and something worthwhile.” Shorten congratulated everyone who worked at Toll from the managing director down who supported Australian shipping, Australian seafarers and Australian jobs. “Thirty years ago, there were 100 vessels that flew the Australian Red Ensign,” he said. “This magnificent vessel today will be just one of 14. It does not have to be this way. America, Japan, Germany, Greece, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain all have many more ships than Australia. Switzerland has more registered ships than Australia and doesn’t even have an ocean,”
Above: Bill Shorten with Jack Naylon, Chief IR, Dougal Watt, IR, Mark Woodall and Roger Whiteside, waterside workers Left Paddy Crumlin with Bill Shorten Anthony Albanese and Kim Carr (right),John and Jacqui Mullen, Toll
he said, pledging to rebuild Australian shipping if elected (see next page). Toll Group Executive Chairman, John Mullen described the day as special for the company, its employees and for Australian shipping. “In today’s world we hear so much about cutbacks and downsizing,” he told the crowd of 1,000 gathered on the weather deck. “This is a great opportunity to be on the opposite end and to expand our business undertakings and create new employment and invest in the future. That is what Toll is doing today.” Mullen said the two new vessels will expand Toll’s Bass Strait cargo capacity by over 40%. “And I’m very proud to say these ships are Australian flagged, Australian crewed and both ships pay Australian wages. Both of these ships join the Australian register.” Mullen said he was passionate about www.mua.org.au
ships and everything maritime, thanking the stevedores and workers “who kept this complex operation humming along”. “To the ships’ masters, officers and crews who will sail these ships on our behalf for many years into the future I wish you smooth seas and safe passage in the years to come,” he said. The two purpose-built, 28,709 MT, 700 TEU ro-ro vessels were built at Nanjing Jinling Shipyard in China at a total cost of $172 million. They are equipped with cutting edge technology including on-board scrubbers that filter sulphur emissions and comply with International Marine Organisation standards coming into force in 2020. In port the new ships will connect to the local power grid further cutting emissions. Tasmanian Achiever II will replace Achiever I and Victorian Reliance II will replace Reliance I in March when they
are retired from the route they have plied successfully for the past two decades. Both ships are faster and bigger than their predecessors and the largest general cargo vessels to fly the Australian flag. The vessels mark the latest in Toll’s $311 million investment in the Bass Strait trade, which also includes major upgrades to Webb Dock and the Port of Burnie. It is the largest private investment in coastal trading in 25 years. MUA national and branch officials Mich-Elle Myers, Joe Italia, Bob Patchett and Aarin Moon were also special guests, alongside rank and file MUA Toll workers and crew. Other VIP guests and speakers included Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese; Labor Senator Kim Carr; Toll Group Managing Director Michael Byrne; Japanese Ambassador to Australia Reiichiro Takahashi; Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Norikazu Suzuki; Lady Sponsor, Jacqui Mullen and Junior Sponsor, Lexie Rietveld. n
HEROES AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING
SACKED t anchor in the South China Sea, two hours out of the port of Hong Kong by launch, the MV Mariloula sat – its crew in limbo. Each man (David Grant, John Manns, David Johns, Nick Nassaris, Richard Dandria, Ben Sirasch, Jimmy Scott, Reno Rattmen and Jesse Stevens) had got word by email in early January that BHP was axing their ship and their jobs. They had no doubt the jobs would go to a foreign flag of convenience vessel and crew. “It’s a real kick in the guts for us, our comrades and our families,” Nick Nassaris, chief integrated rating, read
from the crew statement on video. “We should not have to compete with slave labour. A company prepared to pay their crew $2 an hour can be just as unscrupulous about safety and the environment.” Just over 1,000 kilometres southeast of Luzon in The Philippines, the Mariloula’s sister ship, the MV Lowlands Brilliance, was also at anchor. It was due in Dandong, China with its load of coal on 22 January, before returning with the Mariloula to carry iron ore from the Pilbara to BlueScope, Port Kembla, then coal back to China. All crew on board (CIR Sean Kelleher,
Integrated Ratings Neal Walker, Daniel Bell, Paul (Mullet) Meuleman, Damon McNeilage, Geoff Auld, Joe Berthelsen, Chief Cook David Smith and Chief Caterer Baden Crook) were sacked by email as the bulk carrier left Mackay and entered international waters. Between them the men on both vessels have 383 years of seafaring. In total, nearly 80 Australian seafarers were stood down. “It’s an act of bastardry what they’ve done,” said Mick Cross, acting Port Kembla branch secretary, from on board the Mariloula. Cross flew in with representatives of the other two maritime unions covering
“It’s a real kick in the guts for us, our comrades and our families.” – MARILOULA CREW
engineers and officers. They hired a launch to take them on the long journey to the outer anchorage. “BHP turned around and sacked the crew in a foreign port,” said Cross. “This is all about making sure these guys are as far away from any communication, access to the union, access to arbitration, access to anything. It’s a strategically planned attack on Australian seafarers. It’s industrial bastardry.” The union agreement ran another six months until the end of June. “It makes us wonder if the company is trying to get ahead of a possible change of government, before there is a change of legislation in Australia,” Nassaris read. “We took a wage freeze to keep the ship going a few years back. This is the thanks we get.” Back home, Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird, Ryan Park, Paul Scully and Anna Watson rallied in Port Kembla with the off swing. Letters of support came in from the International Transport Workers’ Federation, International Trade Union Congress, Australian Workers’ Union employees at BlueScope Steel, where both ships offload, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and other Labor politicians. Only weeks earlier in December, the Labor Party National Conference adopted a policy to lock in cabotage and Australian shipping on the Australian coast (see next page). The policy was to get rolling with a meeting of key www.mua.org.au
stakeholders within 100 days of the election of a Shorten government. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin described the sackings as “gutless” and “a disgrace”. He demanded answers from the companies responsible – BHP and Teekay Shipping (contracted to provide labour for the ships servicing BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla). “BHP ships have been carrying iron ore on the coast for 100 years,” said Crumlin. “The Iron Knight was lost in WWII off the coast of Wollongong. All hands were lost. The bodies were never found.” At its peak, BHP boasted a fleet of 53 iron boats – more than the whole Australian merchant navy of today. It was Australia’s largest merchant shipping fleet, set up to transport bulk cargo to BHP steelworks. The national secretary has written to the company demanding answers. “The decision has the potential to devastatingly affect Australian seafarers and will see BlueScope’s supply chain effectively removing Australia labour from the local Australian industry,” he wrote. “We note that during the period of wage freeze by workers including seafarers the company made a $1.6B profit.” BHP’s CEO gets $6.5 million per annum and BHP charters about 15,000 ships a year, Crumlin told ABC Radio. “Both BHP and Teekay Shipping are in cahoots over the sackings, but BHP is the bigger villain,” he said.
The Big Australian announced in 2017 that it was going to change the way it moved its quarter of a million tonnes of iron ore, coal and copper around the world, the Australian Financial Review reported. The company began to run online auctions to decide who would carry its iron ore out of the Pilbara to China. The auction got 150 bids every half hour. Long term, BHP plans to make shipping autonomous like the Rio Tinto automated iron ore railway, BHP’s vicepresident freight Rashpal Bhatti said. But it won’t happen without a fight. “We need to change the rules and change the government because these jobs are worth protecting,” said Nassaris. IR Jimmy Scott, 38, has been on the MV Mariloula since it started in the trade six years ago. “This is a disgraceful act by BHP who made $12B last year then left us up here in China with nothing and no future,” he said. “They’ve set out to destroy the last of the Australian blue-water shipping and they’ve dumped us in a foreign port on the back of a 16-week swing.” Shadow transport minister Anthony Albanese called on the government not to issue temporary licences for any replacement ships that don’t have Australian crews under Australian conditions on the leg between Port Hedland and Port Kembla. n
HEROES AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING
AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING: NEXT CHAPTER
Australian seafarers win international and national backing to get Australian-flagged vessels back on the coast and Australian crews back up the gangway.
magine a vast island nation, rich in resources and innovation. “Imagine that island nation’s shipping industry as an incubator of world-class maritime skills, providing a layer of national security by tightly held cabotage, serviced by Australian ships and crewed by Australian seafarers. “Now imagine the end of that shipping industry; an island nation reliant on foreignowned and crewed shipping for all its needs. “This is unfortunately our shared story of closing off our borders to those seeking asylum, while throwing open our borders to economic exploitation and greed. “I ask that together we write a new chapter in Australian shipping, one that upholds Labor values and one that reinvigorates a proud and determined shipping industry.” This is the vision Vicki Helps, seafarer on the Ocean Protector, evoked when she rose to speak in favour of the union motion adopted at the Australian Labor Party
conference in Adelaide in December 2018. The motion, now ALP policy, would see Australian-flagged ships and crew back carrying Australian cargo around the coast. It would see Australian seafarers crewing key shipments of oil and gas, coal and iron-ore
exports and a strategic fleet to fuel the Australian economy. It is a policy that the next federal Labor government will act on within 100 days of taking office. “I make no apology for looking at policies that increase the number of Australian ships carrying Australian flags at their stern,” Opposition leader Bill Shorten told ABC TV. “I think it is a disgrace that Australia only has 13 flagged vessels [while] the US has 2100 ships, Norway has 1800, the UK has 1300 vessels.” ALP transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said it was time to deliver certainty for Australian crews. “I want to see the Australian flag, on the back of Australian ships, with Australian seafarers, around our coast,” he said. Other speakers included MUA/CFMMEU National Secretary Paddy Crumlin and WA Branch Secretary Christy Cain, with ALP Junior Vice President Mich-Elle Myers (MUA) presiding.
Lowlands Brilliance MUA crew demonstrate outside Sydney International Airport on their return to Australia
“I think it is a disgrace that Australia only has 13 flagged vessels [while] the US has 2100 ships, Norway has 1800, the UK has 1300 vessels.” – Bill Shorten
“We’ve got a right to work in our own country, we’ve got a right not to compete against overseas foreign workers that don’t have migration visas and security clearances, working under slave labour conditions,” Crumlin said. “The shipping industry over the last 30 or 40 years is the forgotten industry – out of sight, out of mind. It should be unfinished business for every ALP member and every trade unionist,” Cain said. Yet with the New Year came a new challenge with BHP pre-empting any new legislation by axing the last two Australian iron-ore vessels on the coast. (see p12). These ships could not return to the Australian coast without Australian crew under the new policy.
It is not the first time a Labor government has revamped cabotage legislation to give Australian ships priority on the coast only to have it undone. Last time, the policy was undermined. This time, the union is adamant it will work. “The current Act was a failure,” said Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith. “Cabotage was never properly locked in.” The Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 was compromised by parliamentary crossbenchers, Crumlin said. Under the new ALP policy, a revamped coastal trading act will ensure a general licence ship gets primacy in the coastal trade so companies will invest in Australian shipping. “We want to see coastal trades identified that can sustain shipping,” Smith said. “Once we determine a trade is there, the government will tender that out to an Australian vessel. We’ve hired an academic to do the mapping.” But unless Australia gets back into refining its own petroleum and manufacturing its own goods, the coastal trade will always be limited. “Ships have to carry something on the supply chain and manufacturing www.mua.org.au
Above: IR David Grant and sacked crew of the Mariloula on their return to Brisbane International Airport talk to media Right: Greetings – Mariloula IR Ben Sirasch and partner Erin Opposite top: Vicki Helps, seafarer on the Ocean Protector and ALP National Conference delegate
industries are folding in Australia,” said Crumlin. “The manufacturing union has gone from 250,000 members to around 60,000 members.” Unions are submitting proposals to two further shipping enquiries – one in Queensland and one federally – to argue the benefits of Australian-flagged shipping. “We will be exposing the widespread exploitation, corruption and criminality in flag of convenience shipping,” said Smith.
Meanwhile the union is looking to the Canadian cabotage model. Seafarers’ International Union (SIU) President Jim Given – who also chairs the ITF’s Cabotage Task Force – has revamped Canadian cabotage legislation. Now the focus is on Australia. “The new Canadian cabotage laws nail it,” Smith said. “If overseas-crewed ships are required, the crew are paid the same rate as Canadian seafarers.” In December the SIU hosted an Australian delegation to Canada and, in March, SIU officials are coming to Australia. “They are working on a single agreement for the entire CSL global fleet. Part of the deal is that Australian crew go back up the gangway of the eight CSL Australia ships on the Australian coast.”
Shipping policy has never been bipartisan. Every Labor reform supporting cabotage is undone when a Coalition government comes to power. “Fuel security will have a bipartisan side to it,” Smith said. “But getting conservatives to
embrace a protectionist policy around trade is not going to happen – all you can do is get in and fight to keep it or get it back.” If the legislation creates a viable business operation, however, it is harder to undo. “We are keeping the (rank and file) Jobs Embassy going in Canberra to swing over the senators,” said Crumlin. “We defeated the government attempt to axe Australian jobs in the offshore industry under the Coalition. We got MPs to throw out further liberalisation of cabotage.”
SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY
In many ways, seafarer Vicki Helps personifies the future of Australian shipping. While Australian seafarers have gone down the gangway on merchant trading vessels in recent years, they now crew two naval auxiliary vessels – the Sycamore and the Ocean Protector – as well as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency towage vessel the Coral Knight. MUA seafarers will also crew Navy tugs Elwing and Waree and the escape/rescue ships Besant and Stoker. “We are integrating merchant and navy shipping,” said Smith. “We want to continue our work with maritime defence and properly formalise a role for Australian seafarers around all government contracts. That’s a lot of jobs. Each ship has a crew of around 100 for both swings.” n
RUNNING ON EMPTY Independent report calls for a strategic fleet of Australian crewed and flagged tankers as vital for economic and national security.
t is not that Australia could run out of fuel supplies, it already has – twice. At one point reserves ran short during the air and sea search for the missing Malaysian Airlines passenger flight MH370, according to Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn RAAF (retired). Then, during the multinational exercise conducted from RAAF Base Darwin in 2018, they had to curtail operations on the last day when a fuel tanker was delayed in transit from Singapore. Australia has less than three weeks of liquid fuel reserves at best. This is just one quarter of the International Energy Agency’s fuel stockholding obligation. The nation now relies on imports for 91% of its petroleum needs, mostly from Korea and Singapore. All these imports are carried by foreign shipping. This puts both the economy and national defence at risk, according to a new report. Deprived of fuel, the economy could grind to a halt during a global economic shock or conflict along a major trade route such as the volatile South China Sea, the report warns. Australia’s Fuel Security: Running on Empty was launched at Parliament House in Canberra in December and is available in full on
the union website. The Maritime Union commissioned the former director of the Maritime Transport Policy Centre at the Australian Maritime College, John Francis, to undertake the study. Francis finds Australia is the world’s only oil-importing developed country with no government-controlled stock of crude oil or refined petroleum. Australia has no mandated commercial stock requirement for oil companies and no government involvement in oil markets. The report outlines how Australia’s reliance on international shipping for its fuel supplies could impact on national security and how little an Australian tanker fleet would cost to fix the problem. It finds the risk of economic instability due to disruption of petroleum supply is high. But the cost of an Australian flagged and crewed strategic tanker fleet is relatively low. Even carrying Australia’s entire fuel imports on a fleet of 60 Australian tankers would cost less than one extra cent per litre, the report says. Questioning the wisdom of Australia’s current ‘leave it to the market’ policies, the report points to growing geopolitical and economic tensions. Alongside tensions in the South China Sea, where much of our imports transit, the world is at risk of another financial meltdown as a result of global debt, the International Monetary Fund warns. This ticking economic time bomb could shatter world markets and the fallout would also impact on international shipping, the report finds. Australia relies exclusively on foreign flagged tankers for its supply chains. In another global financial crisis like 2008’s, shipping would be disrupted. Tankers could be arrested by suppliers of bunkers and other creditors for not meeting their debts. It happened in 2014 with a spate of ship arrests arising from the collapse of OW Bunker. A repeat on an even bigger scale would disrupt the nation’s fuel supplies, even shutting down the economy. The report highlights concerns voiced by Blackburn that Australia’s international and coastal supply chains should be subject to a comprehensive, independent security assessment, as was recommended by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and the Security Advisory in 2017. In January, Blackburn went further accusing the government on ABC Radio of “doing bugger all” to shore up Australia’s fuel security. He said he supports the recommendations of the www.mua.org.au
“What are you going to do if there is market failure? We have no back-up.” – Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn RAAF (retired) Francis report and that shipping was a fundamental part of the supply chain. “The government has no control over shipping,” he said. “What are you going to do if there is market failure? We have no back-up.” Blackburn says risk assessment should investigate the potential impact of geopolitical and economy disruption across all major elements of the national and regional petroleum supply chain, including ownership, management and crewing of tankers. “Australia’s oil import dependence stood at 90% in 2018, and its dependence on overseas imports is growing,” the Francis report notes. “Four petroleum refineries have recently been closed on economic grounds and the refining capacity has not been replaced.” Only four refineries remain. “There are now no Australiancrewed tankers supplying fuel to our nation, down from 12 tankers in the year 2000,” the report says. “This has led to a substantial loss of maritime jobs and training opportunities and has undermined the security of our petroleum supply chains.” Australia’s Fuel Security: Running on Empty finds that Australia fails to meet its 90-day IEA stockholding obligations. Fuel stocks routinely stand at between 18-21 days.
The report strongly recommends a comprehensive risk assessment, including whether Australia should retain a minimum number of Australian owned, managed and crewed tankers on national security grounds. “Security analysis supports a part of the import task being allocated to tankers owned, managed and crewed by Australians,” it states. The cost of five Australian ships, spread across the projected import volumes of 38,087 ML in FY19, would be less than one tenth of a cent per litre. The report also recommends the return of coastal refined petroleum tankers, which have been displaced by international ships using temporary licences over the past decade. In addition, it calculates that just one coastal tanker could replace 1000 tanker trucks on our roads. “At times of disruption or emergency, Australian coastal tankers would be directed to load and discharge petroleum as needed, in Australia and internationally, and could form part of the Australian security fleet,” the report concludes. n Unions made fuel security Labor policy at the ALP National Conference in December and in February Labor announced it would create a national fuel reserve.
TAKE BACK OUR COAST
Our Great Barrier Reef is home to modern-day slavery, report reveals.
union submission to a Queensland inquiry into coastal shipping has exposed widespread use of foreign shipping and exploited crews on the domestic trade along the entire length of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. The MUA made the Rebuilding Queensland’s Coastal Shipping submission to the state parliament’s Inquiry into a Sustainable Queensland Intrastate Shipping Industry in January. The submission maps more than 11,000 voyages along the Queensland coast per year, a 24% increase over six years. The vast majority of the trade is done by foreign ships and crew, carrying 23 million tonnes of cargo along the reef. “Some of these ships are using overworked, fatigued, exploited crew and have been working in Australia for a decade,” the report finds. What’s more, the ships are owned by highly profitable, multinational companies in the mining, oil and gas industries. The trade is estimated to be worth $80 billion. Rio Tinto, for example, has 24 international ships on the coast each year – the equivalent of eight full-time vessels – feeding its profitable aluminium operations.
Four Australian crewed vessels remain. This is in breach of a 2010 agreement the company had with the union to carry 70-80% of Australian cargo on Australian crewed ships. Rio Tinto has since acknowledged this and agreed to meet with the union. Origin Energy has operated two tankers full-time on the coast since 2008, transhipping LPG to coastal feeder ships in Moreton Bay. None are Australian. Multibillion-dollar LNG exports out of Queensland are carried on 25 full-time ships. None are Australian crewed. The Queensland branch of the union lobbied hard for the inquiry and the submission calls on the state government to protect the jobs and skills of Australian seafarers, and the fragile reef ecosystem. MUA Qld Branch Secretary Bob Carnegie and National Secretary Paddy Crumlin are scheduled to give evidence to the inquiry. The submission highlights eight cases of oil spills, ship groundings, wage theft and death at sea in recent years, all involving flag of convenience shipping. Queensland-based seafarers interviewed for the submission say they have been forced to drive Uber taxis and sell their homes. Some have had little or no work at sea for the past
three years. Some contemplate suicide. “We’ve got nothing but knockbacks because we can’t compete with seamen getting paid $4 an hour,” said one seafarer. The union submission compiled by Penny Howard, MUA Divisional National Research and Policy Coordinator, and Rod Pickette, consultant on behalf of Bob Carnegie, Queensland branch, calls on the state government to restore the restricted use flag so that cabotage applies on intrastate shipping routes such as the Weipa to Gladstone bauxite route and coastal LPG supply chain. It suggests that Australian crews are given a minimum 80% of cargo volume on the coast and a share of the LNG fleet along the lines of the successful North West Shelf model. The submission also calls on the government to create a state coastal shipping service to take dangerous cargoes off the road and reduce emissions. The full report can be downloaded from the website: www.saveaustralianshipping.com.au
Members experiencing anxiety or depression can call Hunterlink on (02) 4929 6625, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
Origin Energy: 10 years of ignoring Australian wages and conditions AREA DETAIL
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Transhipping LPG to coastal feeder ships in Moreton Bay
Origin Energy has operated two ships in Australia fulltime since 2008. They have never had Australian working conditions or Australian crew on board.
BRISBANE To Sydney, Devonport & Hobart Origin Energy LPG terminals
Origin Energy LPG terminals
Oil spill on beaches north of Townsville to Hinchinbrook Island and the Palm Island group in 2015. Clean-up cost: $1.5 million. Maritime agencies allege that the Panamanian-flagged and Korean-owned Regina is responsible but the owners have so far avoided prosecution and paid nothing.
Flags of convenience: Ships of shame in Queensland, bad for workers, bad for our environment GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Chinese-flagged Shen Neng 1 ran aground on the Douglas Shoal off Gladstone in 2010, creating the largest single damage to the Great Barrier Reef ever. Clean-up cost: $194 million. Ship owner paid $39 million. Toxic materials remain scattered over a 400,000m2 area.
1 7 Townsville
The Marshall Island-flagged cargo ship Maratha Paramount was chartered by Rio Tinto’s wholly-owned subsidiary Pacific Aluminium in October 2016. The ITF inspector in Gladstone found that the vessel’s 22 Indian crew members had not been paid for over two months, there was very little food on board the vessel, and the drinking water was discoloured.
On 12 January 2017, a 47-year-old Filipino crew member went missing from a Marshall Island-flag bulk carrier, the SBI Samba, at sea near Hay Point, Queensland. AMSA undertook an extensive search of the area. During the second day of the search, the SBI Samba left the search area to head to port and load cargo, leaving Australian authorities to continue the search.
2 3 4 6
The Panamanian-flagged AOM Milena was chartered by Rio Tinto to carry bauxite from Weipa and Gove to Gladstone. In July 2015, the ITF boarded the ship in Gladstone and found that the crew had not been paid since April and were running short of food.
The Hong Kong-flagged coal carrier Five Stars Fujian and its crew was abandoned off the port of Gladstone on 19 July 2016. The ship’s crew were supposed to receive wages of $2 per hour, but had not been paid in months, and were running out of food.
Seafarer Arnel Gillo disappeared from the livestock carrier Galway Express before it arrived in Townsville on 20 March 2018. In 2019, the North Queensland Coroner will be carrying out an investigation into his disappearance.
The UK-owned and Hong Kong flagged Pacific Adventurer spilt 270 tonnes of bunker oil, affecting 61 km of Queensland’s coastline near Brisbane in 2009. Clean-up cost: over $30 million. Ship owner paid $26 million.
en Sirasch and partner Erin are starring in television ads highlighting how BHP seafarers were sacked at sea. The ad will also target the Morrison Coalition government for backing big business against Australian workers. It calls on voters to sack the government come the federal election in May. Sirasch is one of the MUA crew sacked from the BHP iron-ore boat Mariloula and replaced with foreign crew on the Australian coast being paid $2/hour. “The TV ad against BHP and the Morrison government started on Sky TV on the Sunday before parliament resumed as pollies were flying into Canberra,” said Mich-Elle Myers, MUA national officer. “They got to see it at the airports on their way to Canberra for the first sitting of parliament.” Myers is coordinating the MUA marginal seats campaign alongside Michael Flynn from the CFMMEU. Labor’s national conference adopted a shipping policy put forward by the unions. Now it is a matter of making sure Labor gets elected. The campaign has the backing of the whole of the Construction Forestry Maritime and Mining and Energy Union – and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. “We are supporting the unions’ campaign to have an Australian shipping industry,” ACTU President Michele O’Neil said. “BHP’s atrocious treatment of their workers on iron-ore ships is an example of what’s wrong with workers’ rights everywhere in Australia. BHP has highlighted again how we have big business with no interest in workers having secure, reliable jobs with dignity. They put profit above all else.” O’Neil was at Brisbane international airport when Ben Sirasch and the crew of the Mariloula flew back to Australia (see cover).
Sacked seafarers will take their message of corporate greed and anti-worker government to pubs, parliament and television.
“They were shocked and angry,” she said. “They weren’t just angry that the company had treated them as dispensable and unimportant; they were angry for the next generation of young people dreaming of going to sea who may never have that opportunity.” O’Neil said the sackings highlight a crisis in the workplace with so much insecure work taking the place of stable jobs. “There is no better example of how jobs are being outsourced to workers on drastically exploitative conditions than the BHP sackings,” she said. Seafarers returning to Australia from Mariloula’s sister ship Lowlands Brilliance witnessed the cabins stripped of TVs and facilities, and Indian crew boarding the vessel with no change of work overalls or boots. “A key part of what we are fighting for is to achieve secure jobs for Australian workers they can rely on in the future,” said O’Neil. “This is the first time in 100 years Australian seafarers have lost the right to ship iron ore on the Australian coast. They are hard-working union members who want jobs they can rely on – for their needs and their families’ needs. “We’ve got to change the rules and change government,” she continued. “A Coalition government is always
going to side with big business.” MUA crew from the iron boats, tankers and other vessels lost in recent years are participating in the election campaign. “They were heavily involved in actions such as meeting politicians as they arrived in Canberra for the February sitting of parliament,” said Myers. “They are part of the Canberra Jobs Embassy, and they will be in parliament during question time. “We will be holding ‘politics in the pub’ events with sacked seafarers in all the marginal seats we are targeting – Lyons, Gilmore, Bass and Braddon,” she said. “Paddy’s voice will go out to every phone number in these electorates.” The shipping campaign is a centrepiece of the unions’ Change the Rules, Change the Government campaign. “The bastardry by BHP shows how flag of convenience vessels are undermining local labour market conditions and the environment,” Warren Smith, MUA assistant national secretary, said. “We need to curb excessive corporate power. These are issues that apply to all workers.” The union is calling on members to volunteer for the campaign. Labor candidates and politicians have signed on and momentum is building. n
20-strong MUA delegation was at the December Labor National Conference in Adelaide as the party prepares itself for a likely stint in government at the federal level for the first time since 2013. Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten vowed to restore penalty rates, close the gender pay gap, build 250,000 new affordable homes, support batteries for household energy storage, and put an end to sham contracting. Conference voted to end the scourge of multinational tax avoidance, first put on the national agenda as part of the MUA/ ITF’s long-running Chevron campaign. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin spoke on superannuation and Labor committed to helping workers recover billions of dollars in unpaid super that had been stolen from funds. The party committed to an Indigenous voice in parliament, a treaty and truthtelling for our First Nations people. It laid out its vision for a world-class Australian education system. Every child will have two years of early education
From left: Penny Sharpe, NSW deputy oppostiion leader and Matt Thistlethwaite, federal MP Below: Jo Briskey Qld ALP Candidate for Bonner Terri Butler MP Ros McLennan QCU Secretary welcome Mariloula crew home
and preschool alongside fair pay for their teachers. The infrastructure chapter underscored Labor’s role in nation-building, including shipping. Labor also committed to social justice for refugee and asylum seekers. ACTU Secretary Sally McManus presented the Change The Rules campaign, including a new Pay Equity Panel in the Fair Work Commission, wage justice, redefining casual workers, cracking down on sham independent contracting,
stopping the unilateral termination of enterprise agreements by employers, restoring penalty rates, allowing workers to bargain across multiple employers and closing the gender pay gap. The MUA’s Mich-Elle Myers, the ALP junior vice president, spoke on stamping out deadly industrial diseases and protecting workers at work, at home, and into their retirement MUA National President Christy Cain moved the motion on national industrial manslaughter laws. n
CANADA CALLING Maritime workers in Canada reach out across the Pacific in solidarity with Australian seafarers
anadian seafarers have reclaimed their coast and inland waterways. Thanks to a push by the Seamen’s International Union and International Transport Workers’ Federation strong cabotage laws have come into force to protect national flagged shipping and local jobs. Now the ITF Taskforce headed by Jim Given, President of the Canadian Seafarer’s International Union is determined to help their Australian comrades replicate the successful model here. Canadian and Australian seafarers linked up by live stream video at rallies in Wollongong, Canberra, Melbourne, Toronto and Ottawa calling for Australian flagged and crewed coastal
shipping on 12 February. “Today’s demonstration shows the strength of seafarers across the globe,” said Given, who is also chair of the ITF Cabotage Task Force . “Whether from Australia, Canada or elsewhere, we are the brothers and sisters of the sea, and we fight to protect our own.” Dockworkers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union also joined the rally waving leaflets calling for “Cabotage, not Sabotage: We Stand with the MUA”. In Wollongong, 100 unionists and MUA seafarers gathered around the screen at a picket of locked out miners from
the Port Kembla Coal Terminal on the city’s outskirts to witness the show of international solidarity. The rally organised by Arthur Rorris, South Coast Labor Council and Garry Keane, MUA, brought together miners, construction workers, nurses, academics, firefighters, electricians, teachers and transport workers from 15 unions all sporting #uniontown caps and flags. National Secretary Paddy Crumlin addressed the rally. Recalling his first days at sea on the iron boats out of Port Kembla, Crumlin lashed out at BHP and BlueScope for sacking 80 seafarers off their bulk carriers – once a proud fleet of 53 vessels. “We had to go out there with other working men and women in trade unions who forged the steel industry; who forged the strength, the backbone, the
DP WORLD WHARFIES TAKE A STAND Waterside workers at DP World vote on national strike action.
ribs and skeleton – the flesh of our economic, social, ethical and moral community in this country,” he said. “And then after 100 years they are telling us ‘F-off. You’ve got no right to work in your own country,” he said. “It’s not like we’re carrying the iron ore or steel to Japan or China, we’re carrying it from Port Hedland to Port Kembla.” Crumlin reminded the crowd BHP did not own Australia. “BHP are running ads saying “Think big”. But they don’t think big, they think small,” he said. “They don’t think Australian, they think greed and money and corporate power.” “That’s our iron ore, that’s our LNG, that’s our bauxite, that’s our energy and we expect something back,” he said. “We expect it to build the wealth of this country and secure us as a modern, civilised democracy.” Acknowledging local Labor MPs who joined the rally, Crumlin noted that Labor had committed to the union shipping policy and cabotage. They have written in blood that they will invest in Australian industry. In Canberra, the next day, the National Secretary joined sacked BHP seafarers on the lawns of parliament house job embassy with ACTU President Michele O’Neil, Warren Smith, Will Tracey and Mich-Elle Myers of the MUA/CFMMEU and Labor politicians. The BHP crew earlier gathered outside the press club to call on Scott Morrison to answer their call for help to #SaveAustralianShipping. The PM used the back entrance. Jim Given and a delegation from SIU Canada were visiting Australia during February/March. n www.mua.org.au
lobal stevedoring giant DP World has threatened to remove income protection if workers do not buckle to its demands during enterprise negotiations. In response the union sought and was granted the right to hold a ballot on protected strike action in February. The Fair Work Commission however has required workers to give management five days notice before going on strike. This is almost double the standard requirement outlined in the Fair Work Act. Maritime Union National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the company’s behaviour was an extraordinary act of corporate thuggery aimed at hurting workers and their families. “It’s the biggest stevedoring company in the joint, with the biggest market share,” Assistant Naitonal Secretary Warren Smith said. “DP World is putting power and the pursuit of profits above the well-being and security of workers and their families. “When management tells workers they must to do things their way or have their family’s social protection terminated, it’s no longer negotiation, it’s blackmail,” said Crumlin. “The negotiating committee was left with no option but to escalate the dispute and seek an immediate ballot for protected industrial action”, he said in a media statement. The union sees income protection as a key condition. It is also preparing to launch a legal challenge over the dispute. “DP World’s threat to withdraw the insurance deductions from workers’ pay amounts to coercion and a breach of the Fair Work Act,” Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said. “Consistent attempts by management to undermine the industrial rights of workers and our already limited capacity have been rubber stamped by the toothless industrial umpire. This proves definitively why we need to change the rules that govern Australian workplaces. “Australian workers must have the right to withdraw their labour to protest injustice and attacks on their conditions, and the continuing erosion of those rights gives them little more power than a slave, forced to obey every command from management,
no matter how unfair.” The hardline company approach comes as the multinational operator DP World takes full control of the Australian operations after Australia’s Future Fund sold its quarter share in DP World Australia. Management at the top has also changed. “In the past, new CEOs at DP World Australia would reach out to our union and seek to create an avenue for consultation and cooperation,” Crumlin said. Despite a number of attempts to talk to management on this issue and others, including management’s sacking of a longtime employee suffering depression and suicidal thoughts on the job, there was no consultation. The union has taken the matter to the FWC as an unfair dismissal. “The FWC gave a scathing critique of how the company treated the dismissed employee,” said Crumlin. A second worker dismissed was also at risk, he said. Paddy Crumlin, who also chairs the Dockers’ Section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, said Dubai Ports dockers worldwide were sending messages of support. “It must be a joke,” he said. “The new CEO and management at DP World haven’t bothered to make any senior contact, other than to attack their employees’ social protection and spuriously delay protected action after months of sitting on their hands in these critical negotiations.” Meanwhile the MUA has hit out at DP World’s suggestions its offer of a 2.6% pay rise was generous. “What this company doesn’t disclose is that they have seen record profits off the back of huge increases in workforce productivity,” Warren Smith said. “Also, they were the first to implement container infrastructure charges which has given DP World a huge windfall of around $50 million.” “Wharfies’ wages were restrained in the last round of negotiations, setting DP World Australia up for massive profits,” he said. “Yet instead of rewarding those efforts by sharing some of these profits, management have resorted to threats to take it all and attack workers.” n
PORT OF CONVENIENCE ICTSI’s Webb Dock container terminal (VICT) has been declared a Port of Convenience after employing Filipino workers on $2/hour to work the Melbourne wharves remotely – undercutting wages, safety and conditions.
nternational Container Terminal Services Inc has given real meaning to the term Port of Convenience. Like the Flag of Convenience ships that sail around the Australian coast crewed by third-world workers paid about $2/hour, Filipino workers are increasingly employed to work remotely on ICTSI’s Victoria International Container Terminal Limited, Melbourne – for $2/hour. The move by global giant ICTSI has slashed wages, worker safety and, according to cyber security experts, comprised Australia’s national security. First it was back-up work on the security gates, then the automated stacking cranes, now it looks like yard planning is going offshore, MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey reports. Workers at the terminal say management also threatened that the remote-control portainer crane job would go to the Philippines if they didn’t lift productivity. But there were too many technical snags for that. Automation is still in its early stages and does not work without backup. “Automation at the gatehouse where the trucks bring the containers doesn’t work on its own,” one worker said. “We have to check and monitor things like data entry, cross check the truck registration with the booking, the drivers’
Enrique Razon Jr
“We are not going to stand by and see ports run like call centres.” – Will Tracey
“We are calling on the federal and state governments to urgently intervene and hold a port audit to uncover what is really going on and all its implications for Australian workers, Australian ports and national security.” – Paddy Crumlin MISC security clearance ID, what dangerous goods are listed.” The work was done remotely via video camera and a computer system on site in Webb Dock when the terminal opened, initially by Filipino personnel. Australian workers were then trained to take over. But the work was soon shifted back to being done remotely in the Philippines, workers at the terminal say. So too glitches with the automated stacking cranes. Loading and unloading containers onto trucks sometimes needs to be done by a human operator in the control tower. “The job was previously done here. Now, it’s done there,” one worker says. The computer system for the terminal is shared with a control tower in Manila. The Australian and Philippines workforce are in communication every day to fix automation issues, he says. ICTSI owner, billionaire Enrique Razon Jr announced he had set up a company called ICTSI Asia Pacific Business Service Inc (APBS) in Pasay City, Manila in 2015. The company, adjacent to the docks, is “dedicated to business process outsourcing and related services to subsidiaries and affiliates of ICTSI in the Asia Pacific region” – and other clients globally. In February, APBS posted an ad on JobStreet seeking landside operations support staff to “provide assistance to truck drivers through virtual communication tools in order to help resolve any issues” during export receival and import delivery. “Workers were required to use the Gate Operating System and Terminal Operating System… to support our local and global operations,” the company announced. Like a rerun of Webb Dock 1998, the company and the Home Affairs ministry have denied to the media that any jobs are going offshore. www.mua.org.au
“We are not going to stand by and see ports run like call centres,” says Tracey. “Every automated job must stay in the terminal,” he says. “Just like rogue shipowners employ Filipino crew to replace Australian seafarers on the Australian coast, Port of Convenience tycoons are now using Filipino labour to replace Australian wharfies in Australian ports. ICTSI is using automation to slash jobs and labour costs at their overseas terminals. It’s got to stop. “Transferring automated jobs offshore is something the MUA will fight with all our resources and all the resources of the global trade union movement.” Affiliates at the International Transport Workers’ Federation Congress in Singapore in September, overwhelmingly voted to declare the ICTSI Australian terminal (VICT) a Port of Convenience. This could see its operations subject to the same ITF scrutiny and actions as Flag of Convenience ships. “Shippers and dock workers will use every legal means we’ve got,” says Tracey. “Even black-listing cargo.” The ICTSI move has raised eyebrows among cybersecurity experts according to press reports. It had never been heard of before, with port automation thought to remain within national borders. Leading Australian strategist Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn RAAF (retired), a former Head of Strategic Policy for Defence, described any move to offshore critical infrastructures such as port operations to save a few dollars as “monumentally stupid” from a security perspective. Cyber attacks on ports and ships are increasing, with reinsurers warning the maritime industry in September 2018 that costs now exceed those of natural disasters.
“Our members at Webb Dock know what’s happening,” says Paddy Crumlin, MUA National Secretary and CFMMEU International President. “But the company and Home Affairs are denying everything. Is this another Patrick-style conspiracy to break the union? Do these workers in the Philippines who are working on or monitoring equipment at an Australian port remotely, including the security gates, have MISC security clearance? We are calling on the federal and state governments to urgently intervene and hold a port audit to uncover what is really going on and all its implications for Australian workers, Australian ports and national security.” According to web-based employment sites like Indeed and JobSearch, wages at ICTSI are around $580 a month, or $2/hour for workers doing a six-day week on 12-hour shifts. Workers at Webb Dock, too, have been forced onto 12-hour shifts to match shift conditions in the Philippines. They are sometimes working between six and 10 nights in a row. The long hours and job cutbacks have led to a spate of accidents at the Melbourne terminal. Tracey says two workers at the VICT terminal were hospitalised last year. “The entire workforce is now fearing more serious accidents following the recent introduction of dramatically increased working hours. This workplace is unsafe, and threatens the standards that union activists have built up over generations.” VICT has sued the union for damages of $100 million over an alleged conspiracy to form an illegal waterfront picket that stranded 1000 shipping containers in November 2017, after the MUA organiser was sacked. The union has taken court action against the company over unfair dismissal and right of entry. n ZR
AUTOMATION BATTLE LOOMS AT HUTCHISON Is it automation or offshoring? Either way, the world’s biggest stevedoring company is slashing jobs and ramping up automation.
ounted police and the riot squad confronted around 100 Sydney waterside workers outside the gates at Hutchison Stevedores, Port Botany in January. They hauled MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer into a paddy wagon, but released him shortly afterwards. “They’ve got dogs in the back. You hear them? Remember ’98? They had dogs then too,” said McAleer. “I’m going to stay here. I refuse to ever be stood over again.” Workers at Hutchison Ports’ Sydney and Brisbane terminals were on strike in protest at the company’s automation push alongside cuts in jobs, pay and safety. They voted overwhelmingly (98.4%) in favour of rolling work stoppages and bans after negotiations broke down in the New Year. Chanting “The workers united will never be defeated” and waving union flags, they marched to the gates in protest. “The rotten attitude of the company is despicable,” Assistant Branch Secretary Joe Deakin said on YouTube from the rally. “Police reneged on the deal for us to march from Hutchison and called the blackshirts out. Paul was arrested. The black shirts dragged him off. “I got hit in the chest by this rooster behind me. A rank-and-filer was locked in the paddy wagon.” Hutchison has made further automation key to the current round of enterprise agreements for both its Sydney and Brisbane terminals. “We are going to draw the line on automation,” said Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith. “It’s got to stop.” “The terminal is already half automated,” said Simon Euers, MUA delegate and negotiating team member. “It doesn’t deliver productivity. It’s faulty. Sometimes it completely stops. Its only advantage is reducing labour costs.” The union had successfully prevented DP World expanding automation outside its Brisbane terminal during the previous round of enterprise agreements in 2015. Sydney was going to be next. Now DP World has the highest productivity of all container terminals and the biggest market share in Australia.
“Automation is all about union busting,” said Smith. “You just don’t get the same productivity.” Crane rates are about half that of traditional portainer crane rates, a new study shows (see opposite). Hutchison does not have automated portainer cranes, however operations landside between the trucks and the stacks are mostly automated with auto stacking cranes. “The auto stacking cranes that replaced yard operations can’t stack the truck properly,” said Smith. “They can’t lift containers on or off the truck entirely on their own. Our members take over and do it remotely from inside the terminal.” The job is done from an operation station located in a control room inside the terminal building, with the aid of cameras and automation technologies. Yard operations used to provide jobs for 100 people before the advent of automation. Now the number of workers is down to five. “But the company is saying they now have the technology advanced enough that they can load the boxes on and off the truck, without workers,” said Smith. “We don’t believe them. We don’t believe it’s pure automation. It is going to be done remotely. They could be outsourcing the
Hutchison wharfie Joe McDonald raises his fist in defiance – and to sport the bruises under his arm where he was manhandled by police while being arrested
Paul Mcleer and Port Botany workers on the march
PITFALLS OF PORT AUTOMATION A new report into port automation by a prominent management consultancy shows automation always costs a fortune, but rarely delivers.
Simon Euers,Hannah Matthewson and Dan Crumiln
job to non-union labour off the terminal or overseas anywhere in the world, like VICT are doing at Webb Dock.” “DP World, Brisbane has the laser over the trucks for the automated stacking crane to engage on their own,” said Hannah Matthewson, Hutchison shuttle driver and MUA negotiating team member. “But there is still massive human interaction because they stuff up so much. It doesn’t work in DP World at least 40% of the time. Someone has to intervene. I’ve talked to people working there.”
Alongside the push for further automation, Hutchison (and DP World) are also making unprecedented moves to slash workers’ wages and conditions. “Hutchison wants to run a hard line but so will we in opposition ,” said Smith. The company was demanding a 2.5% cut to superannuation; cuts to sick, parental and long service leave; removal of income protection; and wage cuts of up to $10/hour followed by a wage freeze. It is the most severe attack on waterfront workers’ conditions in a generation, according to the union. “After our first round of industrial action, Hutchison withdrew attacks on superannuation, long service leave and redundancy. Our initial action delivered changes to the company’s thinking,” said Smith. “Both DP World and Hutchison want a no-cost agreement with workers getting no outcome. That’s not acceptable.” Hutchison is crying poor, claiming it lost $50M in 2017 and that labour makes up 70% of its costs. However, internationally, they are making big profits and their debt for setting up in Australia is all internal.
Meanwhile, safety measures, including the loss of full-time first-aiders and removal of personal protective equipment, is www.mua.org.au
also in dispute. “We’ve seen too many near misses,” said Smith. “We’ve focused very strongly on outcomes around safety and training. The Sydney Branch’s initiative in linking with Pakistan and Indonesia is an incredible move. Hutchison workers are fighting internationally, creating a Regional Safety Committee to combat the company’s poor safety record. The MUA has teamed with the Jakarta International Container Terminal Workers’ Union at Hutchison in Indonesia and the South Asia Port Terminal Democratic Workers’ Union in Pakistan. The unions have recorded six fatalities and many other serious incidents in the three nations in three years. The injuries continue to occur. “What happened in Hutchison Jakarta was brutal and vulgar,” said Suryansyah, Deputy President at Hutchison’s Jakarta terminal. “Four workers dead in less than 18 months. It’s like a killing field.” In Pakistan, dock workers at Hutchison are not even provided with safety boots. “Management says to all workers to work fast not safely. But we care about our safety,” said Umer Farooq, Finance Secretary of South Asia Port Terminal Democratic Workers’ Union. “This company operates in the same way in each port,” said Smith. “We were sacked by text and the Indonesians were sacked by text. The only way we can combat the way they internationalise their ports is by organising internationally with comrades in other unions.” “The position the company has taken here is so brutal,” said Euers. “They are trying to wipe out all our conditions. It’s impossible to agree to that. Do they want an agreement? Are they bargaining in good faith. We’re having a crack. We’ve moved them a fair bit, but there’s still a long way to go.” n
A global survey of port stakeholders by right-wing management consultancy McKinsey & Company has found that container terminals are accelerating their investments in automation, but many are not able to generate projected cost or performance benefits. Respondents expected automation to cut operating expenses by 25-55% and to raise productivity by 10-35%. However, in reality, the survey found operating expenses at automated ports fell by 15-35% while productivity actually fell by 7-15%. “We have been saying for years that the business case for automation doesn’t stack up, but this time it isn’t just unions saying it but right-wing bean counters as well,” said Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin. “Too often we have seen snakes in suits who think they can remake the waterfront in their own image, but ultimately it is workers and company shareholders who pay the price for misguided management adventures on automation. “Instead, the report outlines a race to the bottom – cutting the jobs of hardworking men and women with no regard for the human cost, let alone poor business practice. Unions and their members will have to keep up the fight for quality jobs, adequate safety and decent conditions.” The McKinsey report said an anonymous global port operator informed them that the average number of gross moves per hour for quay cranes is in the low 20s, while at many conventional terminals it is in the high 30s. “With numbers like these, automation can’t overcome the burden of the up-front capital expenditures,” the report said. However, this is not slowing the pace of automation in the ports sector, with 80% of survey respondents telling McKinsey they expect that in the next five years, at least half of all greenfield port projects would be semi or fully automated. Just over one third of respondents expect the proportion of automated ports will rise above seven in 10. n
VICTORY FOR OFFSHORE DIVERS FREMANTLE: The MUA has fought and won the greatest challenge to the offshore diving industry in over a decade, Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey reports. An attempt by the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) to de-unionise offshore diving and slash wages has failed. Industry agreements expired in July 2018, with Neptune Diving the first company to cancel their agreement, slashing wages and conditions. “While this is a common employer tactic across the Australian industrial landscape, this was the first company in any area of MUA coverage in the offshore oil and gas industry to cancel an agreement,” Tracey said.
FERRY BATTLES SYDNEY: Wage theft at Manly Fast Ferry left workers out of pocket as much $1M, Sydney Branch Assistant Secretary Paul Garrett reports. The union took the NRMA-owned Noorton Pty Ltd to the Commission and won. The Commission found workers’ weekly pay packets were below the basic wage – mainly due to cuts to penalty rates. Further industrial action to pursue pay owing could lead to backpayments in the hundreds of thousands to seven-digit figures, Garrett added. Meanwhile, workers at Sydney Ferries have won a new enterprise agreement that gives them job security, a wage rise and a 55 cap on casualisation thanks to a ruling of the Full Bench of the Commission on New Year’s Eve, Garrett reports. In Queensland, MUA workers on the Brisbane River ferries have reached an inprinciple agreement and will be returning to work on Brisbane ferries on March 1. MUA members took 48 hours’ protected strike action in pursuit of
a fair go and a fair EBA in December. “These workers are cannon fodder for a dodgy tender which saw some sections of the workforce paid under the award for years on end,” Queensland Branch Deputy Secretary Jason Miners told local media. “The workers have had a 1.3% pay rise in the last five years,” Miners added. Brisbane River ferries owner Transdev pays less than 3% tax and contributes very little to the people of Brisbane, while cutting back on safe crew levels, and workers’ pay.
NEW SHIP FOR WEIPA BRISBANE: Rio Tinto has signalled additional Australian-flagged ships on the Gladstone-Weipa run. Its most senior global industrial relations executives promised a better working relationship, employment for Australian seafarers and the probability of more tonnage on the GladstoneWeipa Run when they met the union in Gladstone on January 16 (see p12). A joint MUA national office and Queensland Branch submission to
“We fought back and won,” he said. Then the AMMA stepped up. They let us know there was no appetite for industry negotiations by offshore diving employers. “So, the union started talks with a breakaway group of employers to see if we could bypass AMMA,” Tracey said. “That way we could stop their attempts to dismantle offshore diving rates and conditions while work was scarce.” The union mobilised members at mass meetings as well as via phone hook-ups with vessels. Employers started agreeing to discuss the union’s log of claims. Over Christmas and New Year, the union reached agreement with a small group of employers. One agreement has gone to the Fair Work Commission for registration and members will soon vote on a second agreement. “We overcame all threats to the future of MUA members in this industry,” said Tracey. “Through discipline and a rankand-file endorsed strategy we put in place another industry agreement to see us through to when the work picks up again. United we stand!” n
the state Inquiry into a Sustainable Queensland Intrastate Shipping Industry exposed how Rio Tinto was using the equivalent of eight full-time international ships on the run, bringing the percentage carried by Australian crews down to 33%, instead of the promised 70-80%. The submission also highlighted the two Origin Energy gas tankers that have been working on the east coast since 2008. An Orica ammonia tanker has been working between Queensland and NSW since 2010. The union is lobbying the Queensland government to ensure its domestic supply chains use Australian crewed ships.
AUTO MAINTENANCE DISPUTE Workers at Kalmar Equipment (Australia) unanimously endorsed a new enterprise agreement in October only to have the company immediately advise the union it no longer supported the agreement. Kalmar said they would not file the agreement in the Commission as required. The union has applied for approval of the agreement directly with the Commission. www.mua.org.au
CSL WAGE THEFT During negotiations with CSL Australia over both the Floating Offshore Transfer Barge (FOTB) and the vessel Donnacona, the union uncovered wage theft and modern-day slavery. “Workers have been treated appallingly,” Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith reports. “They are being subjected to wage theft on an enormous scale.” SA Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn has briefed lawyers on recouping unpaid wages and superannuation entitlements. SA Organiser Cameron Duignan has been attending the FOTB and working with union members on board. The union is attempting to recruit other workers who are in fear of the company even though they are now Australian citizens. CSL brought the crews to Australia on temporary work visas – unlawfully, in the MUA’s view. Meanwhile, on the Donnacona, the company refused to pay wages for work performed. CSL has been paying an eight-hour day wage consistent with a vessel such as the Goliath but are expecting 12 hours’ work every day. MUA WA Organiser Paul Brett has been on board ensuring improvements have been made to environmental conditions, but the state of affairs remains unacceptable. The MUA has offered its full support to the crew. Bargaining continues in both CSL transhipment operations. A meeting with international managers of CSL is set for March this year. n
MUA DIVISIONAL QUADRENNIAL ELECTION 2019 – 2023 Nominations for 31 MUA divisional officer positions open on 25 February and close on 25 March. Members will receive their ballot papers in April and the vote is declared in June. Bill Giddins MUA Divisional National Returning Officer, reports.
he following information is provided to members to assist in the preparation for the conduct of the 20192023 Quadrennial Election. It includes an explanation of the various steps to be taken by members, the Divisional National Council, existing officials and the Divisional National Returning Officers. The information provided hereunder also refers to a timetable summary, which is on the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) website to assist members. Nominations for the 2019 – 2023 MUA Quadrennial Election open on Monday, February 25, 2019 and close at 5pm on Monday, March 25, 2019. The election will then be by a postal ballot of all financial members commencing from Monday, April 29, 2019 and closing at 5pm on Friday, June 14, 2019 in those positions where more than one candidate has validly nominated. In accordance with the rules, the Divisional National Secretary advises that National Council has determined that the election shall be for the Divisional positions as listed: Existing officers have notified the National Secretary if they were not standing for office or were standing for another position by Friday, January 25, 2019, as per Divisional Rule 45 (i), which prohibits an officer of the union from
nominating for a different office in the union unless he / she has given at least 28 days written notice before the opening of nominations. Members have been notified of this information by Branch newsletters and the Union website. A preliminary Roll of Voters and a Final Roll of Voters have been prepared by the Divisional National Secretary and provided to the Divisional National Returning Officer in accordance with Divisional Rule 46. The Final Roll of Voters in hard-copy form may be provided to candidates who make such a request and who provide written confirmation to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (as amended) and other requirements in MUA Divisional Sub-Rule 46(d). The provision of this material will require the payment of the nominal cost for printing and postage. Nomination papers will be available in Branch offices or can be downloaded from the MUA election page on the MUA website. Nominations are to be in writing, signed by the nominee and two financial members of the Union and forwarded by mail or delivered to: Divisional National Returning Officer Maritime Union of Australia PO Box 20433 World Square, Sydney, NSW 2002 It is strongly suggested that where the nomination papers are forwarded by mail, it be by Registered or Express Post mail, such
that the nominee shall retain verification of the date and means of postage through the unique identification number. A candidate may enclose a 200-word statement and a head and shoulder photograph with their nomination. The union will publish candidates’ statements and photos on the MUA website and in the MUA election material to be mailed out to financial members with the ballot papers and such material will be provided to Branches to enable access at Branch premises. Candidates who fail to provide their statement and photo with their nomination [see Divisional Sub-Rule 45(j)] and prior to 5pm March 25, 2019 will miss out on publication in the election materials and on the MUA website. Statements shall require the approval of the Divisional National Returning Officer and shall meet requirements of the law. Scandalous or defamatory matter will not be published. Words in excess of the 200-word limit will be deleted from the end of the statement in conformity with Divisional Sub-Rule 45(j). An electronic copy of the 200-word statement (MS Word format) and the head and shoulder photograph (jpeg format 600 pixels high by 300 pixels wide) of the candidate may be provided to the Divisional Returning Officer prior to the close of nominations (5pm March 25, 2019) and up to three days after the close
NATIONAL OFFICE: National Secretary, 1 position; Deputy National Secretary, 1; Assistant National Secretaries, 2; National Women’s Representative, 1.
VICTORIAN BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary, 1; Assistant Branch Secretaries, 2.
QUEENSLAND BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary, 1; Assistant Branch Secretary, 2.
TASMANIAN BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary (honorary) 1.
NEWCASTLE BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary (honorary), 1.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BRANCH; Branch Secretary 1; Deputy Branch Secretary (honorary) 1.
SYDNEY BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary, 1; Assistant Branch Secretaries, 2.
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary, 1; Assistant Branch Secretaries, 2.
SOUTHERN NSW BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary (honorary) 1.
NORTHERN TERRITORY BRANCH: Branch Secretary, 1; Deputy Branch Secretary (honorary) 1.
of nominations (Thursday, March 28, 2019) provided that it is an identical replication of the statement and photograph that accompanies the nomination form received and opened at the close of nominations. Only financial members, who have been a member for at least one year at the close of nominations and have been engaged or reasonably seeking to be engaged in an occupation covered by the Eligibility Rule, are eligible to nominate as required by Divisional Sub- Rule 45 (g). No member shall be eligible to nominate for more than one office as prescribed in Divisional Sub-Rule 45 (h). If a member nominates for more than one such office, both nominations shall be void. In the event of two or more candidates being nominated for any office, the Divisional National Returning Officer [as prescribed in Divisional Sub-Rule 47 (b) (i)] shall, seven days following the closure of nominations, arrange for the printing of ballot papers. These ballot papers shall contain the names of the candidates in alphabetical order. The Divisional National Returning Officer will then cause each ballot paper to be initialled before dispatching ballot papers and the Election Statement (if any) to voters from Monday, April 29, 2019, this is the day the ballot opens. Members must check with their Branch to ensure their current mailing address is correct on the union’s records. www.mua.org.au
The method of validly casting a vote is provided for in Divisional Sub-Rules 47(c) to (f) inclusive. The ballot material provided will contain voting instructions from the Divisional National Returning Officer. Absentee Voting is provided for where a member will not be present at the postal address provided in the Roll of Voters during the ballot period. In these circumstances, a member may apply in writing to the Divisional National Returning Officer to personally collect the ballot materials or to have them sent to an address nominated by the member. Such applications must be made before 5pm on Friday, June 7, 2019. Each candidate shall have the right to appoint not more than two scrutineers, being financial members of the Union, who shall be entitled to be present at all stages of the ballot. The appointment of scrutineers shall be by notice in writing signed by the candidate to the Divisional National Returning Officer. The rights and duties of scrutineers shall be to represent the interest of their appointing candidate. They shall be entitled to be present at all stages of the ballot while the Divisional National Returning Officer carries out the procedures under the Rules and to direct the Divisional National Returning Officer to any irregularity concerning the carrying out of any step in the ballot. They shall do all things necessary so
that the secrecy of the ballot shall be observed. They shall not obstruct the Divisional National Returning Officer in the performance of the Returning Officer’s duties nor interfere with the conduct of the ballot. The Divisional National Returning Officer shall notify each candidate by post of the place and date of the Ballot Count at least seven days prior to the count. The ballot closes at 5pm on Friday, June 14, 2019 and only ballot papers received by the Divisional National Returning Officer by that time shall be counted, provided that a ballot paper contained in a prepaid envelope which is received by the Divisional National Returning Officer by Friday, June 19, 2019 bearing a post mark dated not later than June 14, 2019 shall be counted. On Monday, June 17, 2019 the Divisional National Returning Officer and the Divisional Deputy National Returning Officer shall attend at a place nominated by and under the control of the Divisional National Returning Officer in order to count the ballot. The counting of the Ballot will be undertaken in conformity with MUA Divisional Sub-Rules 47(g) to (i) inclusive and be under the control of the Divisional National Returning Officer. Upon completion of the count, the Divisional National Returning Officer shall announce the result of the election in writing to the Divisional National Secretary and each Branch Secretary pursuant to Divisional Sub-Rule 47 (j). Any protests will be dealt with in conformity with Divisional Sub-Rule 47 (l). All persons declared elected shall take office from July 1 in the year of the Quadrennial Election. Please refer to the election timetable on the MUA Division Election Webpage which will assist members in dealing with relevant aspects of the election.
Garry Keane, MUA Southern NSW Divisional Branch Secretary; Joseph Deakin, Sydney Divisional Assistant Branch Secretary; Robert Paterson, Southern NSW Divisional Deputy Branch Secretary; Thomas Mayor, NT Divisional Branch Secretary; and Andy Burfurd, NT Divisional Deputy Branch Secretary have notified the union as per the rules that they are not nominating to restand for their positions in the upcoming elections. However, Andy Burford is nominating as NT Branch Secretary. Thomas Mayor has been appointed as the CFMMEU Indigenous officer. n
VOTE Notice of CFMMEU National Women’s Committee Election 2019 The Rules of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union (CFMMEU) provide that the National Conference of the Union shall consist of, amongst others, two National Women’s Committee members from each Division, including the MUA Division. Legal advice received, advises that these two positions must be elected by all financial members of the MUA Division entitled to vote and that the Election should take place at the same time and in the same manner as prescribed in the MUA Divisional Rules for the conduct of the Quadrennial Election of Divisional Offices. Therefore, an Election for the two (2) National Women’s Committee members of the CFMMEU (from the MUA Division) shall occur at the same time as the 2019 MUA Division Quadrennial Election. A ballot will be required if there are a greater number than two (2) nominees. If such a ballot is undertaken, then separate ballot materials for these National Women’s Committee Member positions will be included in the Election Materials provided to Members.
Notice of MUA National Women’s Co-ordinating Committee Election 2019
The MUA Divisional Rule 30(e) provides for the establishment of a Divisional National Women’s Co-ordinating Committee. In 2011 and 2015 the formation of this Committee was obtained by the conduct of an Election which was undertaken separate from, but in conjunction with, the Quadrennial Election of Offices. Therefore, an Election for thirteen (13) Delegates (comprising State and NT representatives) for the Divisional Women’s Co-ordinating Committee shall occur at the same time as the 2019 MUA Division Quadrennial Election. A ballot will be required if there are a greater number of nominees for any State or Territory Delegates than positions to be filled. A Notice for the vacant delegate positions in each State and the NT will be published prior to nominations being opened. If such a ballot is undertaken, then separate ballot materials for these Delegate positions will be included in the Election Materials provided to Members. Bill Giddins MUA Divisional National Returning Officer n
IMPORTANT NOTICE CONCERNING THE 2019 MUA DIVISION QUADRENNIAL ELECTION In accordance with Divisional Sub-Rule 45(i) of the MUA Division Registered Rules, I hereb y notify the membership of the following matte rs. The following Officers have given me writte n notice concerning their intentions for the 2019 MUA Division Quadrennial Elections:
Garry Keane, present Southern New South Wales Divisional Branch Secretary, shall not nominate for any Office of Officer of the Union; Joseph Deakin, present Sydney Divisi onal Assistant Branch Secretary, shall not nominate for any Office of Officer of the Union; Robert Paterson, present Southern New South Wales Divisional Deputy Branch Secretary, shall not nominate for any Office of Officer of the Union. Additionally, Thomas Mayor, present Northern Territ ory Divisional Branch Secretary, shall not nominate for that position, but intends to nominate for the Office of Northern Territory Divisional Deputy Branch Secre tary; and Andy Burford, present Northern Territ ory Divisional Deputy Branch Secretary, shall not nominate for that position, but inten ds to nominate for the Office of Northern Territory Divisional Branch Secretary. Members should note that in compliance with the Rules, these Notices are irrevocable , and such Notices must be given to the Divisional National Secretary at least 28 days befor e the opening of nominations.
Paddy Crumlin Divisional National Secre tary The Maritime Union of Australia Division Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy
MUA Divisional 2019 â€“ 2023 Election Timeline TABLE SUMMARY OF KEY DATES EVENT
TIME PERIOD AND RULE
An Officer of the Union who does not intend to nominate for election to any Office of Officer of the Union at an election shall give written notice to the Divisional National Secretary accordingly.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 201 9
28 Days prior to opening of Nominations. [Division Rule 45 (i)] See also [Div Rule 43(d)]
No Officer of the Union shall be eligible to nominate for a different Office of Officer of the Union at an election unless such Officer has given written notice to the Divisional National Secretary of intention to do so.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 201 9
28 Days prior to opening of Nominations. [Divisional Rule 45 (i)] See also [Div Rule 43(d)]
A preliminary Roll of Voters shall be prepared by the Divisional National Secretary.
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2019
At least 28 days before the date of the opening of nominations. [Divisional Rule 46 (a)]
A paper copy and electronic copy of the Roll shall be provided to the Divisional National Returning Of f ice r.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2019
At least 21 days before the date of the opening of nominations. [Divisional Rule 46 (a)]
A final paper copy and electronic copy of the Roll of Voters shall be prepared by the Divisional National Secretary.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019
10 days before the opening date of nominations. [Divisional Rule 46(b)] [Rule 46 (b)]
Nominations for Offices to be filled at a Quadrennial Election of the Union shall open and close. NB Closure of nominations means that all nominations must be in the hands of the Divisional Returning Officer by 5:00pm 25 March 2019.
OPEN: 12:00AM, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2019
Open on February 25 and close at 5:00PM on March 25 in the year of the election. [Divisional Rule 45 (a)].
Printing of the Ballot Papers.
FROM MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2019
Seven days following the closure of nominations. [Divisional Rule 47 (b)].
Distribution of Ballot Papers and opening of the Postal Ballot.
FROM MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2019
[Divisional Rule 47(c)] NB. April 28, 2019 is a Sunday. See [Divisional Rule 43(d)].
Applications for Absentee votes close.
5:00PM, FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019
5pm, June 7, 2019 [Divisional Rule 47 (f)].
Notice to candidates of counting location time and place.
FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019
At least 7 days prior to the Counting of the Ballot. [Divisional Rule 47 (h)].
Postal Ballot closes.
5:00PM, FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2019
5pm, June 14, 2019. However, envelopes received up to June 19 bearing a post mark up to June 14 shall be counted. [Divisional Rule 47 (e)].
Counting of the Ballot.
MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2019
June 15, 2019. [Divisional Rule 47 (g)]. NB June 15, 2019 is a Saturday. See [Divisional Rule43(d)].
Declaration and Publication of Poll.
BEFORE MONDAY, JULY 1, 2019
Before July 1, 2019 [Divisional Rule 47 (j)]
Taking of Office.
MONDAY, JULY 1, 2019
July 1, 2019 [Divisional Rule 47 (j) (iv)]
CLOSE: 5:00PM, MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2019
Prepared by Divisional National Returning Officer Bill Giddins on January 21, 2019.
After nearly a half century, Garry (Hollywood) Keane calls it a day.
arry Keane joined the wharves in Sydney in 1974 but it was not until he transferred to Port Kembla in ’77 that he got tagged with the moniker he is best known by today – ‘Hollywood’. A couple of the old wharfies reckoned he just wanted to work on deck rather than go down the hatch where the real work was: a Hollywood wharfie. And in those days, Keane says, they were probably right. Harry Black “suggested” the move to Kembla after he managed to save Keane’s brief when he fronted the Australian Employers of Waterside Labour (AEWL) office on his third final warning. “Permanent transfers were open to Port Kembla and Harry made a strong case for me to go,” Keane said. “When the union negotiated housing loans for those who transferred, that sealed the deal. Without Harry’s guidance my life would have been very different today.” After the move Hollywood still managed to get into bother both on and off the job. Luckily the Port Kembla Branch Secretary of the day, George Murray, was able to assist. Murray became a friend and it was his influence as much as any that led Hollywood to take a more responsible approach and to eventually become a delegate. From ’92, Keane was lead delegate at Patrick. After the 1998 dispute he became Deputy (Honorary) Branch Secretary and a National Councillor. In 2007 he was elected Port Kembla Branch Secretary, a position he still holds although he is currently filling in as Acting Assistant National Secretary. In 2011, Keane was appointed Deputy National Presiding Officer and elected to the board of Unity Bank. On January 9 this year, Keane notified the National Secretary that after 45 years in the industry and 20 years as an MUA official, he would not be standing for re-election. He will retire on June 30. “It has been one of the great honours of my life to have been a member and official of this great union,” he wrote. “(It was) a shaky start as a young rank and filer in 1974 with great respect for the union, but little respect for the
FAREWELL H job. I only survived those early years thanks to representation from great officials of the day – Jim Healy and Harry Black in Sydney and George Murray in Port Kembla.” Paddy Crumlin thanked Keane for his industrial experience, militant and strategic leadership, courage and honesty in all his union work. “Those qualities have been as essential as any single contribution to our union’s health, relevancy and success,” he wrote. “Your humour and consistently wise and considered counsel has ensured a deep ongoing maturity that the union will rely on for generations to come.” Looking back on his decades on the waterfront, Hollywood says easily the most
memorable time was the 1998 lockout. “It was the highlight and the lowlight. It was tough,” he said. “We had a great crew at Patrick in Kembla and we ran the place,” he recalled. “The manager would come to us about everything and it worked – until Corrigan took over.” Federal Cabinet documents released in December 2018 showed that John Howard’s Coalition government started planning for a showdown with maritime workers soon after coming to power in March 1996. “On release of the documents, John Howard told the ABC he owed Corrigan a debt because the government needed a company to work with. They were in it together,” Keane said. “It was amazing
“It has been one of the great honours of my life to have been a member and official of this great union.”
L HOLLYWOOD that we won out against that type of illegal conspiracy.” He paid tribute to John Coombs, the great leadership of the day and international solidarity. “We owe the Americans a great debt for (black-banning the scab ship) Columbus Canada,” he said. “As National Secretary, Paddy escalated that international solidarity with rank and file involvement. Out of that I was fortunate to be part of a delegation to the US West Coast in 2002 when the ILWU was locked out. In 2005 in Strasbourg, we marched against Ports of Convenience with 10,000 dock workers and that ended up a riot. In 2010 at the International Transport Workers’ Congress in Mexico, where Paddy was
elected ITF President, we marched with 10,000 striking Mexican workers to a rally in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Those are incredible memories. “There’s some criticism inside the union about the ITF but it’s only a very small group. Overall, I believe the membership sees the benefit of internationalism when dealing with multinationals.” The downsides over the years, Keane noted, are the destructive attacks by conservative governments and multinational shippers on Australian flagged and crewed shipping and the re-emergence of casualisation on the wharves. “In stevedoring the defining change was going from the AEWL/SEAL labour
pool to company employment,” he said. “We never really had a way of dealing with a peak and trough industry once employment was company based. We have negotiated some clauses in the last enterprise agreements that go a long way to addressing that issue, but casualisation is still a problem, particularly in bulk and general stevedoring.” On the union success in getting the shipping policy made a priority in the next Labor government, Keane predicts a win: “With a change of government, the ideological differences should diminish over the practicalities of shipping. On a sovereign risk basis, the military and Home Affairs are now paying attention. The fuel security risk and the need for a strategic fleet are obvious, and that is gaining support even from some within the conservatives ranks.” Keane was upbeat about the union’s future after the amalgamation. “We always punched above our weight. Now we’ve gone from a union of 13,000 members as the MUA to around 140,000 as a united CFMMEU, we’ve got far more clout,” he said. “I look forward to watching this union progress to even greater heights but for now it’s time for me to spend some quality time with my wonderful wife and grandkids. “I would like to thank the Southern NSW branch members, delegates, committees and honoraries, past and present for their outstanding support and friendship over the last 20 years.” n
INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS’ FEDERATION
The Maritime Union counts three among its ranks representing transport, youth and women workers globally
addy Crumlin, International President of the Construction Forestry Mining and Maritime Union and National Secretary of the MUA division, was re-elected President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation in October. The MUA’s Mich-Elle Myers was elected Vice Chair of the ITF Women’s Committee and Danny Cain was re-elected to the ITF Youth Committee. Crumlin was also re-elected Chair of the ITF Dockers’ section. The more than 50-strong MUA contingent at the ITF congress in Singapore was almost half rank-and-file waterside workers and seafarers. They attended workshops on automation and the future of work, the supply chain, youth, and building workers’ power. Congress adopted MUA resolutions on tougher industrial manslaughter laws and rights for gay workers. The 19 millionstrong global union federation also threw its weight behind the union naming and shaming Filipino global terminal network ICTSI’s Victorian International Container Terminal in Melbourne as a port of convenience (see p14). “It is a great honour to continue to lead the ITF. Through this period of great change, we will ensure that workers from our affiliate unions continue to fight from the front,” Crumlin said on his election.
MUA Adelaide organiser Campbell Duignan described the election of Crumlin, Cain and Myers as ‘phenomenal’. “I was blown away by the scale of the event. Some 2,500 delegates from all around the world. It really is a global union. It’s phenomenal that the little MUA, a small part of the larger CFMMEU, is operating on that global scale; that we are among the leadership of an organisation with millions of workers. That’s huge. It’s a credit to the union, the individuals concerned and the very high standing that the MUA is held in globally.” Duignan stressed the importance of the ITF to wharfies and seafarers in Australia. “It’s absolutely critical,” he said. “So much of what we do, in fact everything that we do, is connected globally somehow. The ITF adds so much to our capacity and our ability to get things done for members and the industry generally.” Among the rank-and-file delegation were women, Indigenous and young maritime workers. Tyrone Andrikopoulos, youth representative and wharfie at Darwin Ports (Qube), described the congress as “eye opening”. “It was an opportunity to catch up with other people around the country, and from all around the world, doing the same work and see what’s happening at their workplace,” he said.
Sharon Shumba, above (left), Campbell Duignan (centre) and Tyrone Andrikopoulos (right) with ITF comrades
“So much of what we do, in fact everything that we do, is connected globally somehow. The ITF adds so much to our capacity and our ability to get things done for members and the industry generally.” - CAMPBELL DUIGNAN, ADELAIDE
“What I remember most was a girl from Colombia talking about organising in a country where people get murdered even for being in a union,” he said. “Yet they were able to get better pay and conditions.” Sharon Shumba, a steward on the Spirit of Tasmania, was a Melbourne women’s representative. “Women are half the population and there’s more women than ever in the workforce,” she said. “The maritime industry is male dominated so it is important for us to have a vote and equal standing with our male counterparts. ITF Congress provided that platform. We spent a whole day focusing on women’s issues like domestic violence leave and sanitation facilities. It was all about building solidarity globally. All around the world unions face the same challenges – pay, conditions, gender equality.” Danny Cain, Fremantle organiser, ITF Youth Committee, said the MUA brought militancy to the ITF table. “We bring rank-and-file unionism that the MUA does so well,” he said. “The biggest struggles for youth are the precarious www.mua.org.au
nature of our work, automation and the future of work, and climate change. “If we don’t address the climate change emergency we have no future. From the maritime transport perspective, there’s a shift away from oil and gas to offshore wind. We are learning from Europe and getting involved in a Victorian project. We are looking for where the next jobs are. We learn that from the ITF and other countries. Automation is a massive threat to young workers and the future of work, Cain said. “Our position is to resist. MUA members deliver far more productivity. We will fight tooth and nail to keep every job on the waterfront. These are union jobs, blue-collar jobs. There are so few good jobs left. Lots of people my age still live with their parents. They can’t go to a cafe for breakfast or the pub at night. They’ve all got casual labour hire jobs. Young people can’t get stable work. Their jobs are being automated and their future is gone. We want a future for our kids.” n
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF
Darwin wharfie and NT Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor, a leader in the national movement for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice, has been appointed CFMMEU Indigenous National Liaison Officer.
he MUA’s Darwin Branch Secretary, Thomas Mayor, a Torres Strait Islander man of Badhulgal and Kulkalaig heritage, signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and upcoming author, is now the CFMMEU’s National Indigenous Liaison Officer. Mayor, an Assistant Secretary of the NT Labor Council, will not be standing for the branch secretary role in the upcoming MUA division elections. But his campaign for constitutional change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will continue alongside his new job with the CFMMEU. “I will be working with the membership to see that our union’s policies of supporting the First Nations struggle are fully implemented. That includes campaigning for a First Nations Voice in the constitution,” he said. The union movement has been vital to many of the successes in the push for change, he adds. “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants – Chicka Dixon, Koiki Mabo, Fred Maynard, William Cooper and Bill Onus.
All First Nations activists, waterside workers and passionate union members.” Mayor follows in a long line of waterside workers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who have been prominent in furthering Indigenous rights. He gave special mention to a “living legend”, Terry O’Shane. “Comrade O’Shane has always been there for me as I have been finding my way in standing up for my people. He is a legend in both our movements – he always reminds us that Indigenous people and workers have the same enemy,” he said. As a young Darwin wharfie in his early twenties, Mayor attended the “Celebrations of Black History and Labor” in the United States at the invitation of National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. There he sat alongside leading African-American cultural and political figures including actor Danny Glover, Paul Robeson Jr, Yolanda King, hiphop icon Chuck D and Betty Shabazz (daughter of Malcom X). There he met the event producer and longshore worker Willie Adams (now the first African-
American president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union). “It opened my eyes and inspired me,” Mayor said. “We have lessons to learn from experiences of other people of colour around the world.” “What the Canadians and American first nations have taught us is that a treaty alone is not the answer. “You need a strong a voice to defend your gains. We’ve learnt that internationally; this comes naturally as organisers in the workplace.” Mayor has been seconded to the campaign for the Uluru Statement since mid 2017. “When Aunty Pat Anderson requested that I be lent to the cause, Paddy didn’t blink an eye. Aunty Pat is a union stalwart from way back – her and many other leaders are really thankful.” At the same time, Mayor is finalising his book Finding the Heart of the Nation, which will be published before year’s end. He said he wrote the book to “tell the people’s story. The people who are behind the Uluru Statement.” “The book is also the union’s story. We collectively have so much to be proud of. And we have so much more to do.” n
WOMEN OF THE WATERFRONT
STEPPING UP MUA’s Mich-Elle Myers – global and local women’s advocate.
was a big year for Mich-Elle Myers, national Women’s Representative for the MUA Division of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining & Energy Union and former Patrick wharfie. In 2018. Myers was elected both Vice Chair of the Women’s Committee of the International Transport Workers’ Federation and Junior Vice President of the Australian Labor Party. The ITF women’s committee is elected at the ITF congress and supported by the ITF women’s department. It ensures the ITF executive board is fully informed on transport industry women’s issues and sets the ITF global women’s work program. “My election is about making sure the voice of Australian maritime women is heard globally,” said Myers. “After 20 years we are still talking about toilets and workplace facilities for women workers in male-dominated industries. But the big issue is the domestic violence training we have running around the world so people can escape violence.” (See p38) At home, Myers counts the unions successfully pushing for Labor to adopt 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave as one of the big success stories. “The Coalition government said no, but Labor has made it party policy,” she said. Reducing the gender pay gap is another major policy unions have convinced the ALP to adopt.
“That’s why it is so important to ‘Change the Rules and Change Government,” she said. “To get these changes happening.” Having women officials at both the international and national level is key to advancing women’s rights within the workplace. Looking back at what women in the union have achieved in the past decade, Myers counts recruitment of women onto the wharves and ships as important. Numbers are up from 45 in 2008 to 868 in 2018. “We’ve got into a place where the officials ensure we are recruiting women and Indigenous workers,” she says. “The branches have taken it on themselves, demanding workplaces employ us in every intake.” Myers encourages women to get involved in the union and stand for the 13 delegates (comprising state and NT representatives) for the MUA Divisional Women’s Co-ordinating Committee in the upcoming union elections next month. Two MUA Division women will also be elected for the CFMMEU National Women’s Committee in the upcoming union elections. Full details see p29. n
Dave Arian: Internationalist, unionist and courageous fighter
labour leader Dave Arian, who founded the Harry Bridges Institute in honour of the Australian seafarer who organised the west coast dockworkers in the Roaring Twenties, has died. In a letter of condolence to President of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Willie Adams, PaddyÂ Crumlin paid tribute to Arian and the role he played in the international labour movement: Dave Arian was an inspiration not only to dock workers and internationalists, but to all progressive working men and women. He helped shape the international dock workers movement through his experience as a rank-and-file longshoreman, coming from a family of longshoremen, along with his progressive political and industrial leadership. Over 20 years, Dave and I shared many activities, campaigns, and
industrial and political rallies and forums. He unerringly referred to the importance of progressive and strategic leadership, particularly of the ILWU since its formation, and particularly the role that Harry Bridges and other leaders of the ILWU played in not only securing industrial rights and entitlements of ILWU members, but ensuring those rights and entitlements flowed onto dock workers, seafarers and other international workers. Dave, together with a delegation of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members in the mid-1990s, came to Australia and greatly strengthened the relationships with my union at a time of great division within the international tradeÂ union movement. Together with ILWU President Jim Spinoza, ILWU President Bob McElrath, and the wonderful
“The strength of the ITF and of the international dock workers movement is testament to Dave’s life work.” leadership of the ILWU throughout the US West Coast and Canadian locals, Dave was untiring in his determination to build an international response to neoliberal attacks, not only on dock workers but the working class generally. The strength of the ITF and of the international dock workers’ movement is testament to Dave’s life work. Dave was a warm, affable but nevertheless an intensely committed working class activist who personified the great strength of democracy and militant determination of his union. I have particularly enjoyed his company and at each and every ILWU convention over the last 20 years. (There again) he articulated his vision of why it was so important at this time for dock workers the world over to continue to confront the great challenges and constant attacks by neoliberal and www.mua.org.au
corporate forces to bust our unions and break our determination. Dave was a genuine intellectual who was able to translate his experience into ideas, and his ideas into words that helped educate working men and women, particularly young workers, on an understanding of class struggle, militant unionism and mature, determined and long-term campaigning to confront the extraordinarily powerful elites arraigned against us. At the same time, he was able to persuade employers and others in the industry to support outcomes sympathetic to the membership, and involved himself in the political process in a way that also progressed the rights and entitlements of the workers he represented and from which he came. Vale Brother Dave Arian. An internationalist and unionist, loving father and grandfather, a progressive and courageous fighter for peace and justice. Now at rest. Paddy Crumlin President, International Transport Workers’ Federation Chair, ITF Dockers’ Section International President, Construction Forestry Maritime, Mining and Energy Union National Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia
Ray Harrison: Committed socialist
n behalf of all Ray’s friends, workmates and the MUA, we say to his family you have lost someone special. And so have we. There is no doubt Ray, who died on December 3, 2018 at the age of 97, was a man for all seasons. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth – far from it. He was born a fighter, socialist and union man. He stood up for the underdog and all those fighting against injustice. Fighting was what he did all his life. Ray was an outstanding fighter and a great ambassador for his class. It’s hard to know where to start about Ray’s life. But his ending at age 97 was downright degrading. Ray wanted to go with dignity. But there is no law for this. The laws are designed by those who attempt to take the high moral ground and who put the church, right-wing politicians and right-wing commentators at the forefront. They won’t allow the laws to change to give a person a dignified ending. We must, on Ray’s behalf, continue to fight for the right to die with dignity. Ray was born soon after World War I. He was about eight years old
He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth – far from it. He was born a fighter, socialist and union man. He stood up for the underdog and all those fighting against injustice. when the Depression hit. Then a few years later came WWII. Ray also witnessed the rise of trade union militancy. He was born in 1921 – the same year the Communist Party of Australia was formed. When Ray started work he joined the party and for many years took a leading role. Even during the turbulent years he remained a committed socialist. He also had a love of the Soviet Union and was very sad to see its demise. Ray often said socialism didn’t fail, it was the leadership that failed socialism. Under the leadership of communists and left-wing Labor we saw militant struggles gain momentum, leading to improved wages and conditions as well as higher living standards. Ray worked at many jobs after leaving the RAAF as a fitter. In all of these jobs he played a leading role in improving the lot of the workers. He supported every union he was a member of. Ray came to the waterfront in 1971 with his great mate Fred Cross assisting him. He came at a time of great changes in work practices with the advent of containerisation. This was a period where fewer men were being required and great gains were the order of the day. Container terminals such as STL where Ray worked were 24-hour operations and so the first rosters were devised. We called them quality of life rosters – time at work and time with the family. Ray played a leading role in those developments. Right to the end Ray had a great memory. He had failing eyesight but could remember our voices. He recited a stanza from C.J. Dennis’s The Sentimental Bloke and could
tell you all of the Communist Party branches across Sydney. Ray was firmly of the view that militant unionism was the key to improving the living standards of the Australian people. Ray always said, “I don’t ever remember a boss ever telling workers, I’m giving you a pay rise because you need it and my profits are sky high. None ever have and nor will they.” On retirement in the mid-1980s he joined the union veterans and continued his activity with the MUA and other working class organisations. On a lighter side, many will never forget when Ray and John Phillips tried to saw through the Sydney Cricket Ground goalposts to stop the Apartheid-picked South African rugby team from playing. They made too much noise and were detected by security and arrested. The next day many were arrested for running onto the playing field. There were no more rugby tests between Australia and South Africa until the rotten system of Apartheid was abolished. It is sad to say farewell to Ray but did all his efforts leave this planet in a better shape? We can say earnestly and honestly, YES.
Jenny and family would agree. We all know Cliff had two other loves besides his family – golf and beer. He was also a footballer and played rugby league for Papua New Guinea as a flying winger and fullback. On the many golf tours, he couldn’t wait for the amateur hour as he thought he could sing. When he tried to sing in falsetto, people used to roll over laughing. It was great theatre. He held many jobs, finishing on the Sydney waterfront as a watchman. Cliff was a member of the Miscellaneous Workers’ Union and later joined the Waterside Workers’ Federation. He worked mainly at Glebe Island until his retirement from the MUA. He had a great affinity with his union and on a couple of occasions needed help. One event was a missing container full of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky. A few weeks later a full container of prawns also went missing. Both disappeared on Cliff’s watch. Management weren’t very happy and wanted to scalp Cliffy. We pointed out the people who picked up the containers had the correct paperwork and it surely wasn’t Cliff’s fault. After much deliberation they dropped it. We still don’t know who had the party! Cliff and Jenny retired to Lake Munmorah where Cliffy was the head barman and head entertainer and, of course, head drinker. He didn’t get the nickname Human Sponge for nothing.
Jimmy Donovan Former Sydney branch secretary
Cliff Hopper: Watchman
liff Hopper, who died on December 3 at the age of 82, lived a life that was wide and varied. Cliff was definitely a man’s man, as I am sure
We all know Cliff had a big heart but wife Jenny had a bigger one, and as Cliff’s sons said, it’s time for their mum Jenny to now relax and make the most of her life. Jimmy Donovan Former Sydney branch secretary
Denzil Smith: Always helping
atrick Stevedores shipwright Denzil Smith, who died on December 16 at the age of 79, was well known and well liked by all. After finishing his apprenticeship at Poole and Steel, he worked casual jobs with stevedoring companies and shipyards scattered around the bays until the Sydney Branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation convinced stevedores to take the shipwrights on permanently in 1975. The casuals (floaters) jumped at the opportunity of getting permanent employment. These jobs came via the WWF and those seeking employment were asked to join the WWF. Many meetings were held and everyone joined. People such as Ted Ewers, Neal Bevan, John Gillies and many others were at the forefront of this successful change. The Shipwrights’ Union weren’t too happy about the situation and it took some time before things cooled down. For the WWF it was the beginning of industry-based unionism – all those working in an industry belonging to the one union – which was finally achieved by the mid to late ’80s. Denzil often said it was the best thing that happened in his working life. He was always active, had a point of view, helped to improve working conditions wherever he could and helped people with his chippy work. Denzil was married to Colleen for 55 years. They had two sons – Scott and Jason – and grandchildren. Scott and Jason are soccer tragics and
played with Connells Bay. Denzil played a leading role at the club in his chippy capacity, contributing much work in and around the club house. His family has lost someone special and we can honestly say so has the WWF, the MUA and all its members. He was a very worthy member of both organisations. Rest in peace. Jimmy Donovan Former Sydney branch secretary
William (Billy) Lewis: Great supporter
ill Lewis died on December 20 at the age of 77 as a result of the dreaded asbestos-disease mesothelioma – another life cut short by employer negligence. Thousands have died from this disease and the toll has not yet peaked. Please be careful when handling asbestos; in my capacity as a union official I have seen many deaths caused by this dreadful stuff. While no legal compensation can replace a person, Bill’s case is being handled by Turner Freeman Partners. Bill was born in Stanley Street, East Sydney. I used to joke he was unlucky not to have been born below William Street in the great Loo, i.e. Woolloomooloo, or Lower Potts Point. He’d always laugh at that suggestion. Bill worked for a number of companies including CTAL (now Dubai Ports) and was in (Canteen) George Markem’s gang. He was a great supporter of the union and its actions relating to the major changes over his more than 40 years of
“Thousands have died from asbestos and the toll has not yet peaked. I have seen many deaths” - Jim Donovan working life, from permanency to the MUA’s formation in 1993. He was there when it was all break bulk cargoes, working with a cargo hook on jobs that could take a week or, in the case of a flour job, a month. He saw the advent of containers that replaced the work of hundreds of men in one shift. He saw the numbers of wharfies, clerks, foremen and others drop from about 7,000 in the early 1960s to less than 2,000 when he retired in 1999. Bill’s funeral service was held at Brighton Le Sands with many people including MUA members attending. It was a good send-off for a good bloke. Rest in peace. Jimmy Donovan Former Sydney branch secretary
James Kelly: Proud member
y uncle James Kelly was a waterside worker in Sydney for many years. He was a very strong union member who passed away in August aged 84. On retirement he was given lifetime membership of the MUA, which he proudly mounted on his wall. I know that many of his work colleagues have passed, but I would like his passing to be acknowledged. Regards Gail Bowers Niece
PORT OF CALL
MONUMENT TO THE
PIG IRON DISPUTE
ort Kembla wharfies’ refusal to load pig iron to Japan in the lead-up to World War II has inspired a book, a film and now a sculpture. Union, government and community leaders came together for the unveiling of the $100,000 monument commissioned to mark the 80th anniversary of the dispute in Port Kembla on 15 November. On that day in 1938, wharf labourers, members of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, refused to load pig iron destined for Japan onto the SS Dalfram. One year earlier, on 13 December, 1937, Japanese soldiers had invaded Nanjing, China’s capital at the time, slaughtering 300,000 Chinese and gangraping and bayonetting 20,000 women and girls. The six-week massacre became known as the Rape of Nanjing. News of the massacre contributed to a union-led boycott of Japanese goods. When the Dalfram arrived in port, Branch Secretary Ted Roach addressed the men at the labour pick-up. “My information was clear: the pig iron was going to Japan. I walked along the deck calling out: ‘It’s going to
“It was all about the international ideals of the waterside workers and seafarers.” – Port Kembla Branch Secretary Garry Keane Japan’. Everything stopped – to a man, the four gangs walked off the ship,” he recalled in 1993. Roach told the workers the pig iron was destined for Kobe to make bombs – first to be used against the Chinese and eventually against Australia. The ban led to a nine-week lock-out, with intense government pressure and threats against the unionists. When Robert Menzies, the then federal attorney-general and future
prime minister, visited Wollongong, men, women and children paraded with cardboard placards on the end of broom handles. The Illawarra Mercury reported on January 13, 1939: “There was a rush of people until a crowd of about 1000 had assembled… hoots, groans and cries mingled.” Menzies became known as Pig Iron Bob and the name stuck. “It’s a marvellous story,” Port Kembla Branch Secretary Garry Keane said.
WORKING WAVES 2019 Who will win this year’s union surf comp? The field is open as two-time champion Nathan Bartlett announces he will not be competing this year.
“It was the first industrial dispute that didn’t have anything to do with wages and conditions. It was all about the international ideals of the waterside workers and seafarers.” World War II officially began in September 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland. In February 1942, Japanese fighter planes bombed Darwin, killing 235 people, mostly wharf labourers and seafarers in the harbour. It was the first of more than 100 air raids. “Former Governor-General and Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Isaac Isaacs, wrote he believed the [Dalfram] dispute would ‘find a place in our history beside the Eureka Stockade,’” the Illawarra Mercury reported on April 14, 1939. Former union journalist and writer Rupert Lockwood dedicated a book – War on the Waterfront – to the dispute. A recent film – The Dalfram Dispute 1938: Pig Iron Bob – produced by Sandra Pires was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2015 NSW Premier’s history awards. The monument by artist Tianli Zu is entitled “Triumph”. It was funded with a state government subsidy set aside from the privatisation of Port Kembla. Ladders across the top of the sculpture represent the solidarity between the people of China and Australia during the dispute. The 180 holes in the sculpture symbolise the workers who initiated the momentous strike. n www.mua.org.au
seafarer and reigning surf champ Nathan Bartlett has been given an rare opportunity to get some work. “I’m going to be at sea when the comp is on,” he said. “We’re picking up a vessel in Singapore and bringing it back. The split hopper barge will work alongside a dredge off the coast and there may be two or three swings in it.” Bartlett has had plenty of time to hone his surfing skills in recent years. After training as an integrated rating with the Maritime Employees Training Ltd, he started work in 2015 on the Gladstone-Weipa run shipping bauxite for Rio Tinto. Then he worked with a CSL vessel on the Gladstone-Newcastle run. Bartlett was on the last Australian crewed and flagged fuel tanker to leave the coastal trade – the British Fidelity – in 2016. It ran between Kwinana and Adelaide. Since then it has been just a few swings here and there. “I got a job as a relief IR for the CSIRO vessel out of Hobart,” he said. “I enjoyed that. Its scientists were doing research off Ulladulla (on the NSW South Coast) not far from where I live.” Since then, Bartlett got some dredging work out of Port Hedland – just a couple of swings. Work at sea has been scarce as more Australian ships flag out and more Australian seafarers are replaced with cheaper, foreign labour. “Without a change of government we are going to be in a lot of trouble,” he said. “It’s a shame what they’ve done to those 80 guys on the BHP ships. I only hope it doesn’t happen any more. Hopefully we’ll get a new government and get this shipping legislation across the line. Then we will all get to work again.” Meanwhile, he was not prepared to tip who would take his place to hold the trophy at Soldiers Beach on the NSW Central Coast in April. “Might be one of the wharfies this time around,” he said. n The MUA Working Waves Surf Competition 2019 will be held at Soldiers Beach, Norah Head, NSW Central Coast on 5 April.
Bartlett fights from the front at a secret spot on the NSW South Coast
$10,000 FOR WOMEN’S REFUGE Newcastle union initiative raises $10,000 for women’s refuge.
ewcastle maritime and construction workers got together in December to help out the Hunter Women’s Centre with a $10,000 cash donation and care parcels for women and children fleeing family violence. Representatives of the MUA Division Newcastle Branch and NSW Construction Division of the newly merged Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union dug deep into their pockets to support the union’s 16-day campaign to “Say NO to Violence Against Women”. The fundraiser was the initiative of the MUA Port of Newcastle Youth Committee led by Steven Murray, Newcastle dredges, and Joey Schneider, linesman. “Our union has done a lot on domestic violence,” said Murray. “We’ve fought for domestic violence leave in most enterprise agreements. We wanted to help out with the shelter. Now we are looking at making all the union rooms safe havens for women under threat.” Mich-Elle Myers, National Officer of the MUA division of the CFMMEU, said guys getting behind the campaign was crucial
to ever stopping violence against women. “When I started on the wharves there were around 400 men and me,” she said. “And I felt a little intimidated. Things are changing.” One in six Australian women will suffer violence at the hands of their partner and government funding for frontline services is inadequate. Each year the Newcastle Youth Committee donates some money back to the community from its workplace rolling funds. This year the construction workers decided to join forces with local maritime workers to support the women’s centre, which provided refuge to about 500 women and counselling for around 200 last financial year. CFMEU organiser Brendan Holl said local construction workers were also keen to get on board with the campaign. “The CFMEU has always taken a big stance against domestic violence,” he said. “It’s pretty close to our hearts.” MUA Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams said this fundraising initiative was a great example of what unions are all about – working people sticking together to care for each other through tough times and create a better future. n
TAKING A STAND Waterside workers at DP World vote on national strike action after the company threatens to remove income protection.
FULL STORY PAGE IMAGE: Enrico Tortelano, Lead organiser of the International Transport Workersâ€™ Federation dockers section with MUA wharfies and officials at the Port of Melbourne to offer international solidarity in their fight to protect hard won rights.
The maritime workers journal is the publication of the Maritime Union of Australia a division of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining a...
Published on Mar 20, 2019
The maritime workers journal is the publication of the Maritime Union of Australia a division of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining a...