On behalf of the 45,000-members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, I want to express our solidarity with the Maritime Union of Australia and applaud your efforts at an injunction in Federal Court alleging Asciano and its subsidiary, Patrick Stevedores failed to consult with the MUA before announcing a new contract to deliver 44 automated straddle carriers to Port Botany.
Dockers and their unions will all be challenged by technological developments in the stevedoring industry. Indeed, we have discussed this at ITF international forums on many occasions. Our position is clear, dockers’ unions should be part of any discussions around changes to working practices. In this case, we are appalled to note the apparent underhanded way that Patricks have chosen to push forward the agenda of automation in Botany Bay that will almost halve the workforce.
After the despicable way that Patrick’s behaved in 1998, leading to a major dispute in the dock, we can only surmise that this is another thinly-veiled attack on unionised labour in the Australian port industry. We know that your strength won the dispute in 1998 and we know that you can do it again, with the support of dockers around the world.
This letter is to let you know that we stand shoulder to should with you in your fight to preserve the rights of dockers and their unions to protect decent jobs, pay and health and safety standards as well as trade union rights that we have all fought so long and hard to preserve.
Harold J. Daggett
International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO