Maritime workers and their supporters will rally at 3pm today outside the Casuarina office of Federal Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Northern Territory Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor said he has written to Ms Griggs several times seeking to discuss Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s proposed changes to laws covering Australia‘s maritime sector.
“Mr Abbott’s proposal to deregulate Australian shipping would see Aussie seafarers replaced by workers on foreign vessels earning as little as $2/hr,” Mr Mayor said.
“Workers who live in Ms Griggs’ electorate simply want to talk to her about whether she will support Tony Abbott and Transport Minister Warren Truss on this dreadful piece of legislation.
“Workers simply want to explain how proposed legislation will destroy their jobs and as their local MP, Ms Griggs should meet with them.”
“These changes could directly impact around 2000 direct jobs and up to 8000 associated jobs across Australia – that’s 10,000 Aussie jobs on the chopping block.
“Following on from other poor decisions in car manufacturing and defence ship and submarine building, the Abbott Government’s blind hatred of unionised workforces has again trumped both their common sense and the national interest when it comes to shipping.
“Tony Abbott is also selling out the interests of Australian workers to foreign corporate control through so-called Free Trade Agreements.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership and China-Australia Free Trade Agreement are a real threat to Australian jobs, wages and conditions, and decent community living standards. Projects over $150 million in the ChAFTA will not be required to use Australian labour or do market testing.
“Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses in FTAs take away the Australian people’s democratic rights and sovereignty to make decisions in the best interest of ordinary people and the environment.”
Mr Mayor explained that after writing to the Member for Solomon several times, a group of workers and their families visited her office in June to express their frustration at nothing being done to put their case.
Ms Griggs was not at her office though she reacted by making unfounded claims that workers and their families were thugs and made false accusations about the protesters abusing her staff.
“These workers and their families feel like they have been treated unfairly. Ms Griggs is paid upwards of $200,000 per year to represent us and should have the decency to meet her constituents,” Mr Mayor said.
“The MUA has written to Ms Griggs requesting that she apologise to workers and their families but that request was met with an empty response.
“Today’s rally is to highlight the fact that Ms Griggs is failing her duties by blindly agreeing with the Abbott Government’s terrible policies for Australian Workers.”