||Issue No. 156||11 October 2002|
Work and the Meaning of Life
Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Muslims Snubbed in Discrimination Laws
Workplace Racism Rife Post S11
Qantas Directors Bust Wages Freeze
Dad’s the Word For Steelworkers
Funeral Workers Dig in Their Heels
Unions Expose Truth Of McDonalds’ People Promise
Gay and Lesbians Workers To Meet
VTHC Urges Compassion For Colombian Refugees
New Zealand Workers Win Paid Parental Leave
WorkCover Inspectors Off the Road
Unions On Call For Working Young
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Direct Voting Rights
Iraq is a Gobalisation Issue Too
Letter to George Dubya
WTO and Schools
Labor Council of NSW
Aussie Wharfies Save Farmers
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin brokered the deal as the Howard Government attempted to gain political capital from a solidarity visit by six MUA members in support of their US colleages.
US waterfront employers locked out over 10 000 workers in ports along the US West Coast this week bringing to a head a long-running contract dispute.
Prime Minister John Howard attempted to make political capital out of the dispute, misunderstanding the difference between a strike and a lockout and wrongly accusing the MUA of helping damage Australian exports.
"The Australian Meat Council said they've got 10,000 tonnes of meat at stake due to the current lockout," says MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. "Well I've rung the union over there and they've said they'll work with the MUA to ensure Australian perishable cargoes can be unloaded during any future dispute. That's more of a contribution than John Howard has made to Australian trade."
In September US waterfront employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, shut the gates on workers after job contract negotiations with the union broke down.
The workers, members of the ILWU, did not go on strike. They turned up for work anyway, announcing they would ensure all passenger ships, perishable and military cargoes were moved whether they were paid or not. In LA on the first day of the lockout 200 workers turned up at the gates, but where only allowed on the job after the local mayor intervened.
"So the PM is yet again right off the mark," says Crumlin. "He's got his facts back to front to score cheap political points. It's not the MUA or the ILWU who are damaging Australian exports; it's the employers' Pacific Maritime Association. Perhaps if the PM let us know what Australian cargo was affected, we could ask the ILWU to help us too."
The MUA has sent a delegation of rank and file workers to the US as part of an International Transport Workers' Federation initiative to encourage PMA ship-owners back to the bargaining table and to report first hand on the lockout. The MUA has not taken any industrial action, nor has the ILWU.
"It's employer intransigence which is to blame," says Crumlin. "The employers closed the gates and locked the workers out. The ILWU announced at the outset it would still work passenger, perishable and military cargo whether they were paid or not and that's what they did."
"Despite the Australian Prime Minister's attempts to do a 'children overboard' on the MUA by misrepresenting the facts, the union is still active in the US, abroad and at home working with the International Transport Workers' Federation and the Japanese unions to get a long term resolution to the dispute."
Meanwhile the ITF has called an emergency meeting of its Dockers section for October 15 to discuss the dispute. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin will be attending the meeting, which is being held in ITF headquarters in London.
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