Jim McIlroy reports on a call for unions to take strike action on May 1 under the banner of workers’ rights, social justice and climate action.
On December 8, national president of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Christy Cain told a peaceful assembly of trade unionists and their supporters that every dock in Melbourne had been closed.
On that day, some 3000 trade unionists attended a rally at Webb Dock in Port Melbourne called by Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) in support of MUA members protesting the bullying, harassment and sacking of their members.
Momentum for a new super-union has accelerated with a strong vote by members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) in favour of amalgamating with the giant Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). Both unions reported an overwhelming Yes vote.
The MUA vote was 87% in favour, with 50% of members participating. This involvement is higher than past internal MUA elections for union officers.
One Song One Union
In August 2015, 97 wharfies employed by Hutchison Ports in Brisbane and Sydney awoke to emails and text messages informing them they were sacked. Not enough work to go around, the company said.
Within 24 hours, trade unionists had established community picket lines at both ports and the Maritime Union of Australia was in court seeking reinstatement orders. As news spread, supporters began making their way to the picket camps.
A community assembly of more than 100 people marched onto the roadway outside Patrick Terminals terminal at Port Botany on May 4 and occupied the road for three hours, halting port operations for an entire shift.
The protesters were supporting of waterside workers at Patricks who are standing up to the company's attempts to de-unionise a section of the terminal.