A Little Bit Of Solidarity

How the workers at Patrick Port Botany came together to get Steve his job back.

There's a person by the name of Steve Kane.  Steve is a maintenance worker at Kalmar, which is a sub contractor to Patrick's stevedoring company.  Now Kalmar is a notoriously anti union company.  They refuse at this stage to sign a collective agreement.  We're at loggerheads. 

But it's what happened to Steve that's really alarming. Steve had knee reconstruction.  Steve did not say to the company I want you to pay for it.  Steve fronted the company management and said I've had a knee reconstruction done.  I've had surgery.  I don't expect you to pay for it.  As long as you know I'll be off for an amount of time recuperating. 

Steve was called into the office three weeks ago and I went into represent him. He was terminated.

They said we have no place for you.  We don't' believe that you should be here. We believe you are a liability. 

There was no beg your pardons about it.  The human resources manager of the company a man by the name of Brad Roberts from Melbourne said that's it.   He's gone. We're chopping him and that's the end of the story.

I said well we're taking it one step further. We'll seek legal advice and we'll also go and talk to the Patrick workforce about it.

As it happened we didn't have to bother about the legal advice because the workers at Patrick decided to do something about it.   The workers at Patrick got a resolution going on all shifts for  three days.  All shifts supported Steve Cane and were very annoyed that Patrick's stevedoring would let their sub contractor treat one of our members in such a harsh way.  

I approached management at Patrick - a man by the name of Scott Forster. I said Scott this is unacceptable. We are not going to have one of our members treated like this. 

Scott said I'm concerned about it myself and I don't like the way it's been handled

I said Stephen Cane was not even given a written explanation as to why he was terminated. They just brought him in and chopped him

He said I would talk to the CEO in America.  And he did.

Next thing Brad Roberts who was aggressive as you wouldn't want to know (Genghis Ghan eat your heart out)  rang me and said there's been a big mistake. Steve's been reinstated. I'm sorry for the way things panned out.

Now the bottom line of all this was what power workers have when they stick together.  The wonderful position the Patrick's workforce took was outstanding.  All credit to them. Because without that solidarity we were nowhere.  All credit to the workers out there at Patrick's because they were the ones that got the ball up and they were the ones that turned it around.    A little bit of solidarity goes a long way