Stand with Hutchisons workers

Workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane received their marching orders by text and email.

The midnight text message that sacked 100 workers — this is the face of Australian industrial relations today.

Workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane received their marching orders by text and email overnight on August 7, informing them that their positions had been made redundant, there were no redeployment opportunities and their personal belongings would be couriered to them.

According to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Hutchinson’s plan is to fully automate the port. Getting rid of these workers is the first step in that process.

In response, community pickets were established at Port Botany in Sydney and Fisherman’s Island in Brisbane, in support of the locked-out workers.

Solidarity with the MUA is key. If Hutchison is allowed to get away with sacking workers at will in order to automate, this will have knock-on effects for all waterfront workers.

The bosses are on the offensive against penalty rates, the minimum wage and the right to organise. They have a willing accomplice in the Abbott government. But the power of organised workers and the community is much greater — as long as it is mobilised.

When Patrick Stevedores sacked 2000 waterside workers in April 1998, Green Left Weekly’s Sue Boland wrote: “The [Howard] government and Patrick gave the impression they were on a winner. But the strong community and union support for the maritime union has shown that many workers understand that the future of trade unionism is at stake in this dispute…Many people now understand what the MUA has been saying all along — that the dispute is not just about wharfies, but about the rights of all workers to job security, decent pay and conditions, to belong to a union and to take collective action against their employer to defend those rights.”

Green Left Weekly is proud to stand on the side of workers against the power of the bosses and corporate interests. For nearly 25-years, Green Left Weekly volunteers and supporters have reported from the picket line. Green Left Weekly sees its role as spreading the word about any dispute — big or small —understanding that an injury to one is an injury to all.

You can help us continue this important work by donating to the GLW fighting fund on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia). Donations can also be made to Green Left Weekly, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account no. 00901992. Otherwise you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007.

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.