Hundreds of unionists and supporters turned out to a rally on July 9, organised by Maritime Union of Australia — Victoria Branch, for workers who took 12 hours of protected industrial action in response to an ongoing dispute with Svitzer.
The company reportedly threatened to sack workers, back-flipped on agreements and is trying to slash conditions and remove the unionised workforce. The dispute started when Svitzer sacked its tug boat crews last December and replaced them with labour hire contractors.
Moreland socialist councillor Sue Bolton said she was “proud” to join the protest to support Svitzer tug boat workers.
“The Maritime Union of Australia said this is shaping up to be as big a blue as the Patricks dispute in 1998," she said. "That’s why one of the signs said ‘Patricks 2.0’.”
Bolton said there is a “strong spirit” that this dispute can only be won by collective grassroots action. “We cannot rely on politicians to solve the issue.”