Please contact the Vic branch of the MUA or any of the state officials for more details – we need our members to get behind this action and support Australian Seafarers.
Action – minor change of location
On the concourse at the entrance to channel 9
(Connecting to Southern Cross Station and Etihad Stadium)
Friday 15th May Vic branch of the MUA with other Unions rally on site at 12:30pm BP Australia 717 Bourke Street, Docklands, Melbourne.
Vic MUA has held two actions on site at BP’s Australian headquarters over the last two weeks in support of MUA members on the British Loyalty and the blue water shipping tanker campaign.
The actions have been in direct response to BP’s decision to remove another Australian crewed tanker from the coast and along with it Australian Seafaring workers and MUA members.
MUA Vic branch Secretary Kevin Bracken addressed the action and informed union members on why it is so important that we maintain our Australian merchant fleet and Australian seafarers. Matt Leach got the crowd fired up with the facts around BP getting rid of our members on the British Loyalty and chants highlighting BP’s role in the dismantling of Australian coastal shipping and their refusal to use locally available vessels and Australian crews to move large volumes of liquid cargo around OUR COAST.
“BP want to replace Australian Seafaring Workers with cheap and poorly skilled foreign Seafarers on bodgy foreign ships around OUR COAST.”
“OUR COAST – OUR JOBS – OUR COAST – OUR FUEL – OUR JOBS – OUR SECURITY – OUR JOBS – OUR ENVIRONMENT – OUR JOBS” and “BP – NO LOYALTY – BP – NO LOYALTY – AUSTRALIAN SEAFARING WORKERS”
During the action on Friday we were able to secure a meeting with senior management at BP but only after we occupied their building foyer for a half hour and informed them that Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chester was keen for them to explain why exactly BP are bringing more foreign crewed vessels on to OUR COAST.
Activist Matt Leach, Vic branch secretary Kevin Bracken, national office representative and Federal Labor MP Lisa Chester met with BP management for around 45 minutes. We discussed our position and asked the question why BP would not re-task the British Loyalty or its’ crew to move cargo out of BP’s WA refinery at Kwinana. BP management responded by making more assertions that the Kwinana refinery itself was under threat of closing due to competition from mega refineries in Asia. BP also said that they would comply with regulatory rules on coastal shipping or changes to them, which is a clearly directed at the Abbott Federal Government’s attack on coastal shipping and their lack of support for Australian Seafaring Workers or any other worker for that matter.
We made the point that whatever the position of the Government of the day it was just as much a responsibility of management and companies to not only follow the regulatory guidelines of the day but also the moral and social responsibility to the countries in which they operate. Which, let’s face it comrades, with companies like BP they don’t have a very good track record along those lines. Think oil rig Deep Water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. Destroyed in a ball of fire with the loss of 11 workers and many more injured because of the bodgy cost cutting management practices of BP.
Federal Labor MP Lisa Chester was a great support at the action and having her there definitely opened a few doors for us that got the campaign moving forward.
BP have been caught only recently using foreign crewed tanker Atlantic Blue, the very same vessel that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef only a few years ago - and they are still using it!
Our members and members of the other Unions that supported us were extremely well disciplined during the action.
We have also been leafleting outside BP’s headquarters to let the public know what these dodgy foreign oil companies are getting away with. And we have been getting huge support. BP are clearly unhappy with our continued presence on site. Well we are unhappy at BP’s actions towards Australian Seafaring Workers and the effect on Our Fuel Security and Our Coast their actions are causing.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith was interviewed by channel 10 over the weekend about the campaign. We are gaining momentum. We are building this campaign nationally. We need members to get involved and continue supporting the campaign. Contact the Vic branch on 03 9329 5477 and your delegates/site committees to offer your assistance and find out what is going on in your branches in support of the campaign.
British Loyalty crew member and Victorian branch member’s delegate Glenn Smart said “A huge thanks from the crew to everyone at these rallies previous rallies and to everyone who continues to support fuel security for Australia for the solidarity and willingness to get involved and to get active and to stay active. OUR COAST OUR FUEL OUR SECURITY!”
Top effort from our Seafaring and Stevedoring members and members of the CFMEU, Plumbers, ETU and other unions that keep attending the actions in support of Australian Seafaring Workers and our fuel security.
We will be asking for continued support from our members, other Unions and community groups to support this campaign and get the message out to BP and the public that Australians take our fuel security and the jobs of Australian Seafaring Workers very seriously.
Next Action is Friday 15th May – 717 Bourke Street, Docklands at 12:30pm
On the concourse connecting 717 Bourke Street to Southern Cross Station and Etihad Stadium
Comrades Vic branch activists and officials have met with Federal Senator Jacqui Lambie over the last few days and Jacqui has agreed to attend the next rally and throw her support behind the campaign. It is important that you, our members, support the campaign and British Loyalty MUA members by attending the actions.
More information is available through the MUA Vic branch on 03 9329 5477 – Members call the branch – offer your assistance – get behind the campaign to put fuel security and the jobs of Australian Seafaring Workers firmly in the mind of the public, politicians and oil companies.