The agreement to end the longstanding dispute between Hutchison Ports and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) appears near to resolution after nearly four months of conflict. The dispute began on August 6 with the sudden sacking by text and email of 97 waterfront workers at Hutchison's two facilities at Port Botany and Port of Brisbane.
The long-running dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Hutchison Ports is edging closer to settlement. An MUA member at the Port Botany community assembly told Green Left Weekly on October 30 that letters offering voluntary redundancies were being issued by the company that day. MUA members have a week to reply. They said that substantially improved redundancy entitlements, “roughly equivalent to 26 weeks' pay,” are being offered — a big gain on the previous offer of nine weeks' pay for three years of service.
"This morning marks 50 days since the start of this important dispute," Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch assistant secretary Paul Garrett told Green Left Weekly on September 25. He was speaking at the community assembly outside the Hutchison Ports terminal at Port Botany, which was set up after the company's sudden sacking of 97 waterside workers by text and email on August 6.
A community assembly is holding firm outside the Hutchison terminal at Port Botany, with 24-hour attendance and regular gatherings of maritime workers from Hutchison and the other operators, Patricks and DP World. There is a similar assembly at the Port of Brisbane. The assemblies were established after the provocative sacking of 97 waterfront workers at the two ports at midnight on August 6 and have been maintained as "solidarity camps" ever since. The sackings, imposed via text and email messages, shocked workers in the maritime industry and throughout the whole union movement.
The federal government’s anti-union agenda, on behalf of the Australian ruling class, has been further frustrated following its failure to ensure two key pieces of legislation pass the Senate. On August 17, the Senate defeated a bill that would have reintroduced the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) along with its coercive powers and weakened protections for unions.
Green Left Weekly’s ROBIN MAYO caught up with MICH-ELLE MYERS on August 23, a family day at Port Botany in support of the workers sacked by Hutchinson Ports. Myers is a national officer for the Maritime Union of Australia. Why is the Hutchison dispute so important? The Hutchison dispute is important because it is waking the community up about why we need to get rid of the Abbott government. It helps the community realise how anti-worker this government is. It thinks it’s OK for people to be sacked by SMS and email in the middle of the night.
Combating institutionalised violence and misogyny Margarita Windisch presented this talk at the “Fighting Misogyny and Sexism Today” seminar, hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance, in Sydney on August 8. Margarita is a sexual assault worker, a lecturer and a member of the Socialist Alliance. MUA outlines Hutchison situation in Brisbane
The battle continues at Hutchison Ports terminals in Sydney and Brisbane against the sacking of 97 waterside workers by the company on August 6. The campaign for reinstatement of the workers and for the defence of jobs on the waterfront refuses to die.
Workers from DP World and Patricks are continuing to drop by the community assembly at Hutchisons Ports at Port Botany. Supporters are urged to come down and join them at the corner Sirius and Foreshore Roads, Port Botany — day or night. Meanwhile, talks are underway between the Maritime Union of Australia and Hutchisons’ senior management. Workers are quietly hopeful, but determined to stand united for a fair result.