The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted a revised Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Ports following strong representations from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other international dockers’ unions.
The new ILO code is a significant improvement on the previous document ratified in 2005 and comes at the same time as a big win for the MUA on the domestic front with the announcement of a National Stevedoring Code of Practice (NSCOP).
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said both NSCOP and the ratification of a new code at the ILO would move the industry forward.
“This is another great result and unions and their members should be proud of what they have achieved,” Mr Crumlin said.
“Workers are gaining some real ground with strong consultation clauses to stop large corporations from acting unilaterally and throwing workers’ lives on the scrap heap.”
MUA's Bernie Farrelly was on the team in Geneva where marathon sittings were held to develop the new code:
A working group led by the ITF and affiliate unions aimed to strengthen a number of provisions.
These included worker consultation, participation and representation; cargo handling operations; occupational health and safety management systems; PPEs; women working in ports; and tackling violence and harassment.
The group also worked to ensure that the provisions on automation, an issue that was initially introduced by the employers, focused on protecting dockers working in semi-automated and automated terminals.
The ITF thanked affiliate unions that attended a recent meeting in Geneva including the MUA, BTB, CPSA, CC.OO, FNV Havens, ILWU, Liman-Is, Unite, and Ver.di.