The Maritime Union of Australia joined dozens of new female waterside workers at Hutchison Ports Australia (HPA), their colleagues and families to celebrate International Women’s Day today.
The MUA has worked closely with HPA in the past year on an initiative to hire more women. The are now 30 female employees at Port Botany, 26 of whom took up new jobs in the past 12 months following a concerted effort by the Sydney Branch.
In Brisbane, HPA had just 2 female employees but the hard work has paid off with the number of women up to 23 out of a total workforce of 137.
MUA Women’s Liaison Officer Mich-Elle Myers said this was a great outcome and reflected the hard work put in by both the Sydney and Queensland Branches of the MUA.
“Many jobs undertaken predominantly by women are underpaid and undervalued but on the waterfront men and women are paid the same although women are still often behind due to superannuation stopping during periods of childcare” Ms Myers said.
“Now, more than ever, unions play a vital role in securing decent work conditions for women and families, including parental leave, domestic violence leave and flexible work arrangements.
“We all know that women in the workforce enhance economic security for them and their families.”
Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith also attended the Port Botany event said "There were no women on the wharves when I started and this increase is a positive step. We need to ensure we fight for equality in the general community not just in the workplace. The MUA is and always has been committed to this."
Sydney's first female operational wharfie Sue Virago who was a guest at the event said "It's fantastic to see a substantial number of women working in the industry"
HPA is hosted International Women’s Day Morning Teas at Port Botany in Sydney and Fisherman Island in Brisbane.
Hutchison’s management encouraged all employees to bring along the most important women and young girls in their lives to help celebrate and educate about this important global celebration.
On its official invite HPA stated: “We are calling on you to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive working world.”
“This is not just women and young girl’s business … (they) need the support of the community and of the men in their lives to help celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women.”