By Dave Wright
SYDNEY —Fifty waterside workers picketed the French ship Renoir at Darling Harbour on July 20. The peaceful picket was called by the Maritime Workers Union to protest against the French government's decision to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific.
The ship is owned by the French government-controlled CGM company.
Jim Donovan, NSW joint secretary of the Maritime Workers Union, told a dockside meeting of workers, that there were two issues that needed to be dealt with. "Firstly, there is the issue of the French government's role in starting nuclear testing again at Moruroa atoll. And secondly, the question of whether this ship is carrying hazardous material."
A tip from overseas suggested that the ship may be transporting either hazardous waste or machinery used in the testing at Moruroa. The Renoir's captain denied there was any such material on board but admitted that the ship's last port of call was Moruroa.
Workers unanimously supported a proposal not to allow any other CGM vessels into the harbour until the French government cancels its proposed nuclear tests. They also agreed to stop work on any ship found to be carrying hazardous waste.
Donovan told Green Left Weekly that union members would stand firm until a guarantee is given by the French government that there will be no nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Other maritime workers around the country will be taking similar industrial action as part of an ongoing campaign to halt the testing. n