Workers sacked by midnight text and email nearly three weeks ago by Hutchison Ports Australia will take their campaign to the streets in three capital cities today to join the #BigLittleProtest run by Vodafone Australia – which is half owned by Hutchison.
The 97 workers – who have still not been rostered on despite a Federal Court injunction granted because of a lack of adequate consultation with respect to forced redundancies – are fed up with Hutchison’s attitude in negotiations.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) will again meet with Hutchison management at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney today ahead of the Federal Court case that begins next week. The FWC talks have stalled due to the company’s failure to negotiate in good faith.
Hutchison Ports Australia sacked 97 people out of their total workforce of 224 in Brisbane and Sydney just before midnight on August 6. There were guards on the gates of the terminals the following morning and workers were not even allowed to clear their lockers.
International Transport Workers’ Federation President and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Hutchison’s conduct was outrageous – both in sacking the workers and their continued intransigence in negotiations.
“This conduct by Hutchison doesn’t pass the pub test. We’re outraged and the outpouring of community support for the sacked workers suggests the Australian public is too.
“Hutchison owns half of Vodafone – and putting aside the cruel irony of a telco-backed port operator sacking its workers by text – we’re hitting the streets to remind the public and the company that we’re still here and demand a better deal for these sacked workers.
“Vodafone wants the public to contribute to its #BigLittleProtest campaign and that’s exactly what they’ll get,” Mr Crumlin said.
Hutchison is owned by Li Ka-Shing, the 17th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $27 billion. Forbes magazine listed Li Ka-Shing as the 28th most powerful person in the world in 2014, ahead of the Presidents of Brazil, Japan and Egypt.