Maritime Union of Australia branches all around the country today rallied outside the offices of shipping contractor DB Schenker sending a clear message that the MUA will not sit idly by and allow blatant abuses and injustices to proceed.
The MUA has accused Chevron and its shipping contractor DB Schenker of attempting to undermine Australian seafarers, by using exploited foreign crew rather than building local communities through solid local jobs in the resources sector.
Through DB Schenker, Chevron has engaged the Rolldock Sun - a ship crewed by third-world labour - to assist its operations within the Gorgon Oil and Gas Project in WA when the work could be done by Australian-crewed vessels.
This is a deliberate act by Chevron and its contractors to undermine union operations in the offshore oil and gas industry.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith - who attended the Sydney rally - said he understood why the community was fed up with missing out on the benefits of the resources boom. He declared it was time to draw a line in the sand.
"It's no surprise that community members are outraged at the use of foreign crewed ships off the West Australian coast while Australian-crewed vessel sit idle," Mr Smith said.
"The community is fed up with seeing large multinationals such as Chevron exploiting underpaid third world labour, while Australians miss out on the benefits of the resources boom. This is about supporting jobs, communities and families.
"Whether it's Gina Rinehart or Chevron and DB Schenker, working people and their communities need to campaign to spread the benefits of the boom to all.
"There are ships currently at anchor with Australian seafarers on board who are willing and able to do this work.
"Chevron and DB Schenker are simply avoiding their social and industrial responsibilities by acting in this way."
There were also rallies against DB Schenker in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
SA Branch Secretary Jamie Newlyn reported that the rally in Adelaide was successful:
"Today's rally saw a good turnout of MUA members and solidarity from other unions,"
"Australia's in the midst of a two speed economy and if actions like DB Schenker's are allowed to continue the economies two speeds will both be in reverse" added Mr Newlyn.
In Brisbane, Queesnsland Branch Secretary Mick Carr also reported a fantastic turnout from the rank and file resulting in a postive outcome:
“We held a resolute position and did not move an inch until management agreed to meet, they locked the doors to the building and locked out one of their own employees in the process.”
Victorian Assistant Branch Secretary Bob Patchett reported positive talks with the companies management:
“Three DB Schenker managers spoke to the branch secretary [Kevin Bracken] and he painted a clear picture of what was going on, management were even in agreement that what Chevron are doing does not seem right.”
WA Branch Secretary Chris Cain said there were about 400 members at today's stopwork meeting, with three buses ferrying protesters to the rally.
"The turnout today was fantastic - seafarers and wharfies - the place was jam-packed," he said.
"Chevron are saying that it's not their issue but they can direct Schenker to employ Australians.
"There are two Australian vessels here running at 20 per cent capacity, they should be using them."
To watch a clip from the MUA Sydney branch occupying DB Schenker offices click here.
To see pictures from all rallies around Australia click here.