One of Australia’s largest coastal shipping companies, Canadian Shipping Lines Australia (CSL) has dramatically increased the use of foreign seafarers in coastal trades in a blatant attempt to undermine employment conditions and jobs on Australia’s coastal shipping routes.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) today warned CSL will face increased scrutiny and union campaigning following their decision to introduce yet another foreign crewed vessel - the Diane - to shipping routes between Australian ports, effectively displacing local seafarers and their jobs.
Local seafarers have also been replaced on vessels Adelie and Acacia which were previously named the CSL Thevenard and the CSL Brisbane.
MUA assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said “CSL are in our sights they have used dodgy offshore tax havens to try and obscure ownership of these ships. They told the union and workers they had sold the vessels to a foreign entity. Inspectors from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have uncovered clear documentary proof on board that the vessels are owned by CSL Australia despite the fabrications of the company.”
“The increase in foreign shipping coupled with the removal of Australian seafarers from their jobs has seen CSL Australia’s local content massively reduce to around 28% of their operations. Effectively 72% of the company’s work in Australia has now been hived off to exploited foreign crews while Australian seafaring jobs have evaporated. This is completely offensive when the same vessels continue to operate on our own coast after our members have been sacked.”
“This has been a persistent attack by CSL. They have hidden the reality of vessel ownership and sacked Australian workers at the same time engaging highly exploited foreign crews to undertake the exact work and trading patterns previously undertaken by Australian workers. It is nothing but a rort and must be stopped or the industry will simply wither away. Unfortunately, the Turnbull Government supports this, even helping to facilitate these actions through the constant issuance of Temporary Licences despite the local tax-paying workforce being decimated.
“This is the first step in an ongoing campaign which will shine a light on CSL’s dodgy dealings,” Mr Smith said.
A new disturbing element to this decision by CSL was uncovered with the release of the Paradise Papers. It showed CSL using the services of disgraced law firm, Appleby, to obscure the ownership of the ships in secrecy jurisdictions.
The MUA calls on CSL to put Australian seafarers back to work on all vessels that trade on the Australian coast.