Wharfies stage global actions for better conditions

July 15, 2016

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) joined waterside workers from around the world on July 8 in actions to highlight the issues faced by wharfies internationally.

Every port in Australia had an action of some description, with most ports taking to the streets to raise grievances about job security, safety and workers' rights.

Thousands of waterside workers from ports on six continents took part in the international day of action, under the slogan "Defend Dockers' Rights". The workers included members of unions affiliated to the International Dockworkers' Council (IDC), the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF). The event was hailed as a great success.

Jordi Aragunde, IDF general coordinator, said: "This is the first time the world will carry out a collective action which highlights the contribution of dockworkers to the world economy, and which speaks of the professional risks involved in their work. This action will display the resolve of these workers to defend not only the security of their jobs, but also their working conditions, dignity and collective bargaining power."

MUA assistant national secretary Warren Smith commented from Port Adelaide: "Congratulations need to be extended to the ITF and IDC for a truly inspirational day of international solidarity, that showed the capacity and the ability to organise wharfies worldwide.

"The MUA joined in to send a strong signal to the employers that we are prepared to take them on and we are prepared to stand up to these global giants who are trying to encroach upon workers' rights and living standards across the globe."

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