MUA Cork Delegation

The MUA sent a delegation of 14 to Cork, Ireland for an ITF conference to confront the current and future expansion of the four major Global Network Terminals (GNT), DPW, APM, HPH and PSA

MUA CORK DELEGATION SEPTEMBER 2009.

ITF GLOBAL NETWORK TERMINALS CONFERENCE

21ST SEPTEMBER - 23RD SEPTEMBER.

The MUA sent a delegation of 14 to Cork, Ireland for an ITF conference to confront the current and future expansion of the four major Global Network Terminals (GNT), DPW, APM, HPH and PSA.

Delegates included: Paddy Crumlin, Rick Newlyn, Trevor Munday, Peter Bruekers , Jim Boyle, Jim Plummer, Aaron Nable, Craig "Genie" Sheehan, Kevin Bracken, Jamie Newlyn, Brett Larkin, Jason Campbell, Janet Harris, Ian Jamieson.

The ITF had representatives from affiliate Dockers unions from all parts of the globe to determine an international program, and to develop outcomes that would be progressed together to build stronger Dockers unions around the world organising globally fighting for our rights.

The aims of the GNT Network are to:

  • Build Communications between workers in each GNT
  • Support Local organising, collective bargaining and developments of International Framework Agreements (IFA's)
  • Develop skills set and awareness of GNTs network members, and give them communications tools  to mobilise broader port memberships
  • Achieve broad support for GNT's work throughout ITF Dockers Secretariat & Affiliates
  • Disseminate campaign messages to potential  allies (community groups, industrial contacts)
  • Anticipate and deal with disputes & crises

Australia sent the largest delegation, fighting from the front and demonstrating our commitment in numbers, along with delegates and affiliates from Germany, Belgium, Argentina, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, London, Ireland, Singapore, Bahrain, Jordan, Brazil and the USA , which made up around 60 delegates.

The conference deliberated over a list of minimum standards that should be adopted amongst all these terminals globally. And groups were formed to decide major concerns for the union, and what we thought the majors issues were from these companies.

Similar results were obtained from all the working groups covering each of the GNT's.

Issues included; Safety, Wages and Conditions, Job Security and Casualisation, Union density, Productivity, Expansion and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

The conference was led by Paddy Crumlin and Frank Leys (ITF Secretary of the Dockers Section).

A presentation was given by the International HR Manager of Mearsk (APM) Tiemen Meester, who gave an overall presentation of APM's position, its effects from the downturn and the future developments to withstand the current financial crisis. He also gave an overview on the four GNT's combined, detailing their customers, their global TEU's, their profits/losses and their comparative sizes and employment numbers. APM's approach was to be 'the best' of the GNT's and stated that 'working together' works.

POC Database Training: Training on how to use the ITF POC & GNT terminals web page was delivered including how to post any issues or details of particular ports around the world including GNT operators. Valuable information can be found on the website relating to certain issues or particular companies. It was noted that the POC & GNT database is only as effective as the information provided and we were shown how effectively, we can not  only download facts on any terminal from around the world, but also through the correct procedures how we can upload all important and relevant information onto the site.

All the unions represented from around the world and from different ports pledged to gain more information on those ports with low or no union involvement and give any help to provide better working conditions and understandings for all.

The conference concluded with each Union represented committing to practical application to improve Safety, Union Density, Fairness & equality, and to provide the necessary resources particularly in the developing countries to achieve these goals wherever in the world  the Global Network Terminal Operators function.

The Conference then heard from 2 delegates from the MTL Terminals in Dublin entering their 13th week on strike. Their Union SIPTU and their fellow striking Comrades are facing legal injunctions and severe financial pressures. The company Peel Ports has a fighting fund of  2 Million Pounds to break the unionised Dockers . Peel Ports have targeted redundancies and brought in scabs & mercenaries, some of which were fellow workers who voted to strike. The company have attempted to divide and conquer the striking workers by offering a handful their jobs  back. This tactic has failed.

This story rang bells of the same struggles the MUA were faced with back in 1998. The entire delegation of the conference gave commitment to global solidarity and support to the members on strike.

At the conclusion of the conference we took a bus to the picket line in Dublin to show support to our struggling comrades who had now been out the gates for 13 weeks. We held our flags high and shared T shirts amongst each other as one. We  were told how much our visit lifted their fighting spirits right back up to where it was at the start of this protest. There are now MUA stickers, flags and t shirts amongst the picket to show our presence, and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to see our brothers and sisters back in the gates, with their conditions and wages returned.

Please contact Jamie Newlyn or myself for any information on the Dublin strikers and to please give your support to them via email or you tube. www.mtldockers.com

As 'Big Jim' Larkin, The Irish Union Leader once said, "The great appear great because we are on our knees... let us rise"