“This is a test of the leadership of the maritime employer groups. CEO of the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter Anderson and Theresa Hatch from the Australian Shipowners Association should issue statements repudiating the insulting comments made by Senator Abetz yesterday in the media - "MUA's outrageous wage demands."
“If they remain silent we can only assume they endorse insults of the employees of their member companies,” said Mr Crumlin.
“The Senator’s insults are a disgrace and he clearly directed to inflame the debate. We are bargaining in good faith, within the law and unlike the Senator’s comments, the MUA’s claim is factually-based.
“The jobs that Abetz so casually dismisses as “unskilled” are in fact high-risk jobs requiring highly skilled and experienced workers.
“Living away from their families and homes, these seafarers are responsible for the safety, security, cargo handling, towage, anchor handling and operations of sophisticated ships and offshore facilities dealing with hydrocarbons in the most volatile and dangerous of industries”, said Mr Crumlin.
Today’s ships and off-shore rigs are highly complex, self-contained systems and seafarers must manage all elements of the vessels, including engines, electrical plant, electronics, navigations systems, refrigeration systems, air conditioning, lifts, cranes and lifting equipment, rigging and scaffolding, winching gear, firefighting, medical support and risk aversion procedures. They are professionally qualified in every discipline.
“All this is delivered amid an isolated environment in some of the most unstable and hazardous situations facing any workforce including emergency operations in the current cyclone season. Death or serious injury are a proven day today risk, managed by the total skills and experience of every member of the crew. Mr Abetz has crossed the line in his political attack on these workers, and runs the risk of undermining morale, in itself an identified risk to safe operations.
Media Contact: Paddy Crumlin: 0418 379 660
Anthony Reed 0402 399 572