|Issue No 8||09 April 1999|
Patrick dispute commemorated
By Zoe Reynolds
MUA members nationwide commemorated the first anniversary of the MUA-Patrick dispute with sausage sizzles and speeches.
In Fremantle, workers held a one hour vigil outside Patrick gates at change of shift in the afternoon.
Among the crowd of 200 was Labour MP Carmen Lawrence, leader of the state opposition Geoff Gallop, Trades and Labor Council Secretary Terry Cook and MUA Deputy National Secretary Paddy Crumlin.
Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, could not make the visit to the gates, instead sending a letter expressing his support and solidarity.
In Melbourne about 100 workers gathered outside the gates at East Swanson Dock for speeches.
National Organiser Mick O'Leary said it was the solidarity in the union movement which won the dispute: "We need very much to stick together and continue to develop those relationships between the unions, because Peter Reith is looking to continue the fight against the trade union movement, even though he failed miserably last year."
Also attending the commemoration were ACTU Assistant Secretary Greg Combet and industrial officer Tony Morison, Victoria branch officials Mick Cottrell, Len Meager and Dick Ryan.
Melbourne unionists will also commemorate the night where they stood their ground against the police at East Swanson Dock on April 18 and the historic Return on May 8.
In Sydney, activities kicked off at change of shift, 6.30am, and went into the afternoon. Workers gathered for sausage sizzles, with visiting Gordonstone miners alongside.
Minister for Mass Sacking Peter Wreath- (alias MUA member David Reynolds) was a hit with the media: "Youse will all thank me, later in life, for the hard work, the effort and I had to pay for the dogs, you know," Wreath told ABC Radio. "I had to feed the dogs."
Central NSW Assistant Branch Secretary Barry Robson said despite some of the setbacks that the MUA had experienced, we could still say that the union was 'here to stay" - "We won our court cases," said Robson. "We got legal right to cover any person who works on the waterfront."
Sydney also celebrated with the inaugural Left Ball on Friday April 9. Special guest was ACTU President Jennie George.
MUA members in Fisherman Island, Brisbane started their commemoration at 5am with a barbecue to feed up to 120 members and supporters. The branch also organised a barbecue at Maritime wharves.
Several P&O and Patrick workers dropped in straight from their midnight shift and stayed for the whole day.
Newcastle also marked the day, with attention focusing on the 12 members sacked by Patrick only weeks earlier.
Interview: John Coombs - The Mouse Who Roared
We talk to the man who stood firm in the face of the federal government’s all out assault on the waterfront 12 months ago.
Unions: The Waterfront One Year On
One year after what was arguably the biggest Australian industrial dispute in living memory and the Maritime Union of Australia is STILL Here to Stay.
History: Walsh Bay Wharves : Space and Place
For historians looking at a historic structure or site like the Walsh Bay wharves, there is a big difference between 'space' and 'place'.
International: Compo Search for UK Coal Miners
An international search is on for former coal miners who worked mines in England and Wales from 1954 and have since suffered from chest disease.
Review: War on the Wharves
Some of the most honest reporting of the waterfront dispute came from the pens of the nation's cartoonists.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005