|Issue No 4||12 March 1999|
MUA Seeks Greenpeace Support Against Ships Of Shame
The Maritime Union of Australia has invited Greenpeace to back its campaign against the "Ships of Shame", substandard vessels operating off the Australian coastline.
MUA national secretary John Coombs this week wrote to Greenpeace CEO Ian Higgins, seeking the environmental organisation's support as it steps up its campaign against federal government plans to further deregulate the industry
The Navigation Amendment (Employment of Seafarers) Bill is currently before Parliament will allow companies to employ "guest workers" on substandard wages and conditions on Australian ships.
It would also prevent seafarers refusing to work ships carrying dangerous goods and allow overseas crews to discharge a ship's ballast water, which often contains foreign marine pests and cargo residue, into Australian waters.
The MUA believes these changes pose major environmental risks to the coastline. And the International Marine Organisation warns that such routine operations on board ships are a bigger pollution menace than oil spills.
For instance, foreign ships were blamed for a red algae outbreak in Sydney Harbour over summer. The MUA is also concerned the legislation will pave the way for further "reforms" based on the recommendations of the Shipping Reform Group.
These include allowing Australian ships to be run under flags of convenience, allowing owners to bypass their obligations under Australian law, and abolishing cabotage, which restricts Third World ships and crews operating domestic shipping routes.
The union's approach to Greenpeace, follows its involvement with the International Transport Workers' Federation against the exploitation of Asian workers at the world's shipbreaking yards.
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The ACTU President looks to the future and erects a few new signposts for her last 12 months in office and beyond.
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History: The Pioneers: Trade Unions Before 1850
Labour historian Greg Patmore looks at the early days of unions in Australia
Review: Opening Spaces For a New Labor
A new book by Sydney academic McKenzie Wark looks at how Labor must adapt to the popular culture.
Campaign Diary: On The Bus - A Tale Of Two Campaigns
As the State election campaign moves into full swing, Workers Online looks at how the management of the media by the two main parties is reflecting their strategies.
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