|Issue No 109
|31 August 2001
MUA Salvages Some Pride
By Andrew Casey
The Maritime Union of Australia has gone a small way, in the eyes of Norwegians, towards saving our nation's reputation as a decent society by holding meetings of members to protest the Howard Government's actions on the Tampa crisis.
Norway, with a long and proud seafaring tradition, is flabbergasted by the action of John Howard in denying entry to the Wilhelmsen Line, MV Tampa.
The MV Tampa has on board hundreds of mainly Afghan refugees saved by the Norwegian Captain and crew from a sinking hulk in the seas to our north-west.
On Wednesday and Thursday the MUA's protest activity received positive coverage in Norway's media.
The Norwegian media found out about the MUA's activity thanks to the power of the web - especially links between union websites.
It happened like this:
ï¿½ The MUA held workplace meetings on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.
ï¿½ Reports of this stoppage were promptly placed on the MUA's website and the NSW Labor Council's Workers Online newsfeed.
ï¿½ The MUA media release, once spotted on the Workers Online newsfeed, was then logged onto the international union web-site LabourStart.
ï¿½ LabourStart is also produced in nine other languages - including Norwegian, one of the most popular non-English versions of LabourStart. The editor of Norsk LabourStart was alerted to the MUA media release on the English LabourStart and was asked to put a translation on his site.
ï¿½ A translated version of the MUA media release was placed onto Norsk LabourStart early Wednesday (Norwegian time). As well a link to the original MUA media release was placed on the top-right hand corner of Norsk LabourStart. You can view it for yourself if you visit: http://www.labourstart.org/no/
ï¿½ The editor of Norsk LabourStart then informed the Norwegian LO, the peak trade union body in Norway, who put the same story as a lead item on their website. You can view it if you visit: http://www.lonytt.org/lo/web/lo_nettavis_publish.nsf
ï¿½ The LO's media people then directed local Norwegian media and the local Reuters reporter to the story who reported on the principled activity of the MUA to Norwegian media consumers. You can make out Paddy Crumlin's name ( or more if you understand Norwegian) reading this, the most visited mainstream Norwegian media website, Nettavision: http://www.nettavisen.no/servlets/page?section=3&item=172874
During this process the Norwegian Sailors Union was invited to write a piece for Workers Online about this dispute from Norway's perspective and the perspective of the crew.
They quickly pointed out that the class reality of the global shipping industry was that they had no members on board the Tampa.
While the Captain is Norwegian most of his crew comes from the Third World. In this case mainly Filipino sailors.
You can send messages of solidarity and herograms to the Captain and crew on the Tampa by sending an e-mail to the Wilhelmsen Line. mailto:[email protected]
Interview: Union Power
Electrical Trades Union state secretary Bernie Riordan surveys the union movement's troubled relationship with Labor.
International: Spreading the Word
Veronica Apap profiles Kamal Fadel and the battle he is fighting for the independence of his homeland of West Sahara.
E-Change: Training for a Wired Workforce
Education is the entry point into the new economy; but the system still reflects an industrial age view of the world.
Unions: AWU Defends Millennium Train Workers
Mark Hearn looks at how a group of Newcastle workers are setting a new standard in the railways.
Politics: Chatting with Enemies of the State
Brazils MST is the largest and most radical social movement in the Americas. The CFMEUï¿½s Phil Davey drops in for a chat.
History: Struggle and Inspiration
Rowan Cahill argues that it is only through understanding history that we can make sense of the present plight of workers.
Technology: A World Without Microsoft
Heather Sharp argues that all technologies involve political choices and moral values. Computer software is no exception, and it is Bill Gates' choices that dominate.
Review: Let There Be Rock
Kid Rock and Beer Bong, Australiaï¿½s Oldest Rock Fans review the weekï¿½s music and political events from the safety of the bar stool.
Satire: Tampa refugees ask to go home: "It's less inhumane than Australia"
The 460 asylum seekers on board the Tampa freight vessel have demanded to be taken back to their oppressive homelands, which they now realise arenï¿½t nearly as hostile as Australia.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005