Thousands of Wharfies Globally Demand Better Conditions

The MUA joined workers from around the world out in force to highlight the issues faced by wharfies around the world. 


Every port in Australia had an action of some description with most ports taking to the streets to raise their grievances centred around job-security, safety and general worker’s rights. 

Dockers in ports on six continents took part of the union action day, including the thousands of dockers belonging to the International Dockworkers' Council (IDC), the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF).

Under the slogan ‘Defend Dockers Rights’ and using the hashtag #defenddockersrights, the event was hailed as highly successful. 


Dockers in the following countries were involved in activities: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Turkey, USA, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Jordi Aragunde, IDC general coordinator said: "This is the first time the world will carry out a collective action which highlights the contribution of dockworkers to the world economy, and which speaks to the professional risks involved in their work. This action will display the resolve of these works to defend not only the security of their jobs, but also their working conditions, dignity, and collective bargaining power." 

"In our industry, shipping lines are grouped into alliances and port operators join forces to develop uniform strategies to achieve the same goals in all ports of the world. We are now united workers who want to respond to our own needs."


ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “This day is a reaction to the fact that attacks on dockers aren’t going away, they’re escalating all the time all over the world. The international dockers’ community isn’t going to stand for poor conditions, automation without union consultation or downgrading of the professional status of dockworkers.”

Listen to Crumlin talking to Radio Labour here.

“This is longshoremen, dockers, wharfies in every corner of the world being clear about that and taking collective action to raise their profile and send a message to employers.” 

The MUA’s national officials scattered around the country to lead the actions.

Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith led the South Australian contingent in Port Adelaide.

“Congratulations need to be extended to the ITF and IDC for a truly inspirational day of international solidarity, that showed the capacity and the ability to organise wharfies worldwide,” Smith said.

“The MUA got behind the day and joined in to send a strong signal to the employers that we are prepared to to take them on and we are prepared to stand up to these global giants who are trying to encroach upon workers’ rights and living standards across the globe. Newcastle.jpg

“Finding unity is a precious thing of which great care must be taken to build and continue to develop into a powerful fighting force. 

“MUA Branches played a significant role, turning out in colourful and vibrant actions across the country to stand side-by-side with their comrades, brothers and sisters across the planet.