Community meeting for the wharfies

May 6, 1998

By Graham Matthews

BRISBANE — Around 200 people crammed St Mary's Catholic Church on April 27 to here a report on the sacked Patrick wharfies' campaign for reinstatement.

Earlier in the day, the church's priest, Father Peter Kennedy, was criticised in the media for being "biased". The church has been strongly supporting native title and campaigning for freedom for East Timor.

The meeting was addressed by MUA national organiser Jim Tannock, as well as wharfie Trevor Munday and his wife Jeana.

"This is a political dispute", Tannock said, "designed to crush union rights". He pointed out that "Corrigan said he didn't have money to pay wages, superannuation or holidays, but he did have money to pay for Dubai, and for helping the National Farmers Federation".

Jeana Munday described the financial hardships facing wharfies and their families since the sackings. "For the first time in our lives, we've had to ask for money because bills had to be paid", she said. "There's been a lot of tears of anguish. We're meant to be moving forward, not backward. I have a husband who has strong ideals. I believe in comradeship", she continued. "We're the forgotten people — the wharfies wives and children."

Trevor Munday listed his qualifications: crane tickets, forklift tickets and clerical qualifications, among others. He also described his work-life over the two months prior to the sackings: 49 days on, including nine double shifts, and only three days off. "And people say that we're bludgers!", he said.

"This is a government for all people — unless you're a unionist or a worker; unless you're an indigenous person; unless you're an old person", Munday said.

The forum raised over $600 for the MUA fighting fund.

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