Offshore Rig Worker Unions Angered By Maersk Excuses

Maersk management cannot wash its hands of responsibility for the treatment of Filipino guest workers who worked on their rigs on the North West Gas Shelf for more than 18 months using dodgy work visas - and were paid a pittance.

The AWU-MUA Offshore Alliance is talking with the Minister for Justice, Brendan O’Connor, about the exploitation of guest workers – and his plans to introduce new laws on the misuse of guest workers in Australia  as forced labour.

Exploiting guest workers

“ We want to know whether Maersk or SurveySpec could be charged with benefiting from the labour of exploited workers under the proposed laws,” Paddy Crumlin, the National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, said today.

Members of the AWU-MUA Offshore Alliance are receiving this attached newsletter from Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the MUA, and Paul Howes, National Secretary of the AWU, responding to an email from Martin Flojgaard, Managing Director of Maersk Australia sent to the Maersk workforce claiming the union had not given the company a fair go.

If you or your workmates haven’t got the newsletter yet, please print this PDF off here and pass it around the workplace.

Maersk unions to raise behaviour of local management with Copenhagen HQ

As president of the International Transport Workers Federation, MUA National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin, will be raising the behavior  of Maersk Australia’s management at the ITF Maersk Network meeting in London shortly.

“The Filipino workers were under the direction of Maersk supervisors for more than 18 months on their rigs – but the company claims now they knew nothing of the rip-off pay rates,” Paul Howes, AWU National Secretary said.

“The company had plenty of time to demonstrate they believe in a ‘fair go’ – but until Alliance members stepped in they looked the other way.”

No excuses for abrogating responsibility to contractors

The letter to AWU-MUA Offshore Alliance members notes that Maersk has a clear responsibility to know that their contractors are employing skilled, trained and safe workers for their rigs, and that responsibility should extend to conditions of employment. No excuse.

And of course these workers were  not given a ‘fair go’ by the labour hire company Survey Spec who were responsible for engaging these workers in the Philippines knowing full well that the pay rates offered matched that of a teenager working in a suburban McDonald's outlet.

 “Alliance members can rest assured their unions are currently pursuing the appropriate back pay for these workers, and will continue to do so until they have been awarded due compensation,” Paul Howes said