The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has been joined by the Rail, Tram & Bus Union (RTBU), as well as activists from the Victoria Trades Hall Council, APHEDA and Indonesian union SERBUK to protest at Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
OOCL, a Hong Kong-based container shipping and logistics service company with offices in 70 countries, has been the target of a campaign by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) due to its close links with disgraced Global Terminal Operator ICTSI.
The protests called out OOCL on the double standard between their Code of Conduct —that claims to respect safe and healthy working conditions, payment of living wages, freedom of association, and respect the rights and dignity of all persons with whom you deal — and the serious exploitation that is occurring at ICTSI ports within their supply chain.
The ITF has uncovered serious exploitation across ICTSI's global terminals. ICTSI, a Philippine-based multinational port operator, is fast becoming one of the most controversial companies in the maritime industry.
ICTSI’s workers are underpaid and overworked, harassed and coerced, and union members often face violence and intimidation in retaliation for raising workplace issues. ICTSI has now brought its anti-worker business model, that they have run out all over the world, to Australia.
MUA Sydney Branch Deputy Secretary Paul Keating said: “ICTSI’s crimes against workers and unions appears to be their business model.
"Their position to prefer dictators and despots will not be tolerated by the MUA. Any shipping company that aligns its business with this mob, will be met with a fight by our union and every other maritime union around of the world. OCCL, the MUA Sydney Branch put you on notice.”
Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), which operates at Webb Dock, Melbourne, is owned by ICTSI. OOCL currently has a contract to use the VICT terminal, and is considering expanding their business with the company.
VICT has undercut Australian industry rates and conditions. Broken promises related to pay and permanency, the company’s disregard for safety by attempting to override safety officers, and the sacking of union members has been met with resistance from workers’ unions, politicians and the local community.
ICTSI’s appalling global record shows a complete disregard for workers’ dignity, safety and fundamental labour and human rights. Many of these violations breach domestic law in countries where ICTSI operates and contravene international conventions.
OOCL’s Code of Conduct claims that it is “committed to honesty, integrity and fairness in its business conduct” and that the company adheres to “high ethical standards by respecting rights and dignity of all persons with whom we deal”.
Today we asked OOCL: is this a reputation one that you should be doing business with?
The company has agreed to set up a meeting in Hong KongMUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer said: "The MUA Sydney
Branch has demanded that OOCL sever its partnership with criminal global stevedore ICTSI after its VICT operations in Melbourne have been exposed as underpaying workers and attempting to make massive cuts to industry standards.
"ICTSI is renowned as the world’s worst stevedore and if companies, including shipping lines, are going to partner with them with the support of the Federal Government, then it will be left to unions and their members to advertise their hypocrisy regarding their labour standard benchmarks.”
New South Wales
Meanwhile, international media reports have picked up on the fact that a majority of non-insider shareholders in Filipino port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) have voted against the re-election of Directors Stephen A. Paradies and Jon Aboitiz at the company’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting on the 19th of April 2018.
This vote follows recommendations from the world’s largest proxy advisory service Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which supported the significant corporate governance concerns raised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
More than 320 million shares were cast against each of Directors Paradies and Aboitiz, representing more than 68 per cent of the non-insider shareholdings in the company, The American Journal of Transportation reported.
Major shareholders voting against the Directors included the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), one of the world’s largest institutional investors with more than $320 billion in assets under management. Similarly, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), Norges Bank and APG Asset Management all revealed that they voted against Directors including Paradies and Aboitiz.
Paddy Crumlin, ITF President and Vice-Chair of the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) Committee on Workers Capital (CWC) said: “Shareholders have sent a strong message to ICTSI that they must make changes to their Board. The ITF recommended shareholders vote against Directors Paradies and Aboitiz over their alleged contribution to major governance and operational issues at the company, and non-independence.
“ISS identified that ICTSI’s Board does not comply with the Filipino Government’s Securities and Exchange Commission’s Code of Corporate Governance for Publicly-Listed Companies.
“Failures identified include a lack of board independence, a failure to have a separate Chair and CEO, a lack of independent directors on the audit committee, and a lack of independent directors on the corporate governance committee.
“This vote again sends the message that ICTSI must put in place decent and sustainable governance structures in line with accepted international best-practice in order to avoid major operational issues, including protracted disputes that the ITF has observed across the company’s terminals, and relationships with censured regimes.”