Portland Unions and Community Rally to Defend Aussie Jobs

A rally is being staged in Portland in support of an Australian crew that were told more than a fortnight ago they would be replaced with foreign workers paid $2-an-hour.

Unions are asking everyone to show their support for these Australian jobs by attending the rally.

Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray, who will speak on Friday, said the way the crew of the MV Portland had been treated by the ship’s owner Alcoa and the Federal Government was a disgrace.

Alcoa was granted a Temporary Licence by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which will allow them to utilise a foreign ship with a foreign crew on a domestic trade route.

These Licences are only supposed to be used as stop-gap measure for foreign trading ships that would temporarily engage in domestic trade, not for exclusively domestic-trading ships such as the MV Portland.

The MUA is challenging the use of the Temporary Licence in the Federal Court and will likely be granted a hearing later in December.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions as to how Alcoa has been allowed to replace these local jobs with permission of the Turnbull Government,” Mr Bray said.

“This sets and awful precedent, not just for Australian seafaring jobs but for all jobs.

“Who is to say after they have gotten rid of seafarers they won’t move onto landside jobs and find loopholes to employ foreigners in other Alcoa positions in mining and refining.”