ACTU Condemns Turnbull Govt Undermining of Oz Seafaring Jobs

The ACTU has questioned why Warren Truss’s Department would allow aluminium producer Alcoa to replace its current Australian crew with foreign workers.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Truss, granted Alcoa a temporary licence to ship cargo from Western Australia to Victoria on a foreign ship, with a foreign crew.

Currently, coastal shipping legislation dictates that ships operating on domestic trade routes have to be Australian flagged and crewed. The intent of the temporary licence is for ships usually engaged in the international trade, but calling into a number of Australian ports.

Forty crew aboard the company’s ship, the MV Portland, were told that their services would not be required and that the ship would be scrapped. But Alcoa still intends to use the route which takes alumina from WA to its smelter in Portland, Victoria and will hire an overseas workforce to crew the replacement ship.

The ACTU met with all unions concerned to discuss the future of the MV Portland and a resolution was moved at yesterday’s executive condemning Alcoa and demanding the re-instatement of the Australian crew. The ACTU has also written to Alcoa requesting an urgent meeting.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

“I am shocked that Federal Government would enable Alcoa’s move to shed even more jobs.”

“Any system which would rubber stamp a company’s request to sack Australian workers and replace them with foreign labour needs to be reviewed immediately.”

“This is just another example of the Turnbull Government showing its complete disregard for Australian workers.”

“I would ask Mr Truss and his department to void the licence which will replace hard-working Australian seafarers with oft-exploited workers from a developing country.”

Quotes attributable to Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin:

“It's an extraordinary turn of events.”

“This is an Australian workplace in the Australian transport industry that has safely, reliably and competitively delivering alumina to the company’s operations between Victoria and Western Australia for over 50 years.”

“Australian workers are being rewarded yet again by this Government in complicity with this company for their loyalty, hard-work and professionalism with the sack and forced to watch a foreign workforce be imported to do their job.”

“It's a national disgrace.”