|Issue No 20||02 July 1999|
Letters to the Editor
Have the Times Really Changed?
Sir or Madam,
It was with great interest I read the two News Articles in ISSUE 19 25th June 1999: NO SHIP IS AN ISLAND by Zoe Reynalds.(MUA Media Officer) & HOW SWEDE IT WAS (DR ERIK ECKLUND).
My how times do change! pigs arse. The M.U.A. has to be commended and all power to them,for winning "Workers Compensation Rights" for the Russian Seafarer Nicoolai Abramkin.But with the commendation to the MUA I must also give them a blast from the past and to the present.
Since leaving School the only thing I ever wanted to do was go to sea,and to some extent this still apply's to myself today.I left school at fifteen and after working at various jobs for a few years,I decided to try and join the (what was then)the Seamans Union.On my first application it was clear I wasn't,for reasons only best known to the Union wanted.I made several overtures to the Union to no avail. Being a committed Socialist this left a very bitter taste in my mouth,and I was
resolved to my situation and future.
Some short time after my last attempt to join the Union, I discovered there were non Union Ships operating out of the Port of Adelaide,I consequently gained a berth on one of these ships a two masted ketch, still operational under Sails,good training for a novice.
After serving on the Ketches for some time,I managed to secure a job on another ship to further my career.Little did I know at the time, It was a ship under the control of the Seamans Union.Whilst standing on deck one day I was approached by a member of the Seamans Union,who demanded to see my Union Book of course shock horror I wasn't a member.I offered to join as was my dream, but NO get off the Ship NOW.No not back to the Ketches my job was now gone.
Of course this is all history now,and some thirty years have passedsince I have had contact with a Maritime Union.Until the Patricks dispute.Being even after my early contact with the Seamans Union a staunch Socialist and good Union man,I manned the barricades at Freemantle to help in the dispute,after all thirty years had passed and they let bygones be bygones.
Whilst standing with an MUA organizer one evening at the barricades drinking a cup of tea, and reminiscing about the old days, I said in passing "You know I wouldn't mind going to sea again" He replied "Well you'll never get in this Union mate" I guess some things just never change.MUA here to stay.with whom I ask? not with me obviously.
Oh and by the way,Im still willing to join and yes at least I know Peter Reith dosen't tell porky's all the time.???????????
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005