Liverpool Dockers: Lessons to be Learned from Pivotal Dispute

MUA National Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin has highlighted the importance of learning from past mistakes in a passionate speech delivered to delegates at the 20th Anniversary celebrations for the Liverpool Dockers.

Crumlin said it was because of the neo-conservative agenda that a target had been painted on the docks of Liverpool twenty years ago.

“If you’re going to send a signal to the international working class, start in Liverpool,” he said.

He pointed out that although the strike action was ultimately unsuccessful there was much to be taken away from the dispute.

“You know it’s a salutary lesson on what you need to do and what you can’t do,” he said.

“See sometimes failure is just as important as success, because if you didn’t fail like that, you wouldn’t learn from it and we wouldn’t be able to be in the position we are now.”

 MUA delegation outside of the Casa

Instead of dwelling on the past, it was important to look forward, Crumlin said pointing to Oxfam statistics that show the richest 85 individuals control the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.

“Is that sustainable? It’s inevitable almost when you see the elitism, and the corruption and the negligence,” he said.

The solution he offered to combat the entrenched inequality was for the working class to ‘reclaim its institutions’.

“We’re here to reclaim our communities, (not just) in Liverpool, (not just) in Sydney, (not just) in Charleston, (not just) in Los Angeles,” he said.

“We are here for the future, we want to reclaim this world and you’ve given us the courage and determination to go forward. Congratulations. Liverpool Dockers!”

Held at the Liverpool Dockers cultural heartland – the Casa- the MUA delegation was well received, particularly the contingent of sacked Hutchison workers who shared their story with the other attendees.

 Sacked Hutchison wharfie Craig 'Hank' Hancock tells his story at the event.