Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation President Paddy Crumlin has embraced the celebration of May Day and congratulated working men and women across the world for their solidarity in the face of corporate greed and elitism.
In a video message to the MUA and ITF family, Crumlin, who is also the International President of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, paid tribute to the unionists who came before us and paved the way for victories such as the eight-hour day, sick and holiday pay and the right to form a union.
"Brothers and sisters and comrades it’s May Day. It ’s our day – International Workers’ Day – and our colour is red,” Crumlin said.
"Red because of the blood that has been spilt, because of the blood that runs through our veins and because the lowest common denominator of all humanity is human cooperation, our belief in each other and our willingness to reach out and get the job done, not just on behalf of one person but on behalf of all of humanity, all of the labour movement, of all of the ITF regardless of the sections that we come from.
"So let's celebrate it – the great achievements that May Day has given us – working men and women all over the the world – the old age pension, unemployment benefits, regular work, penalty rates , security of work – all of the things that have given us dignity – the right to bargain agreements, the right to be recognised to come together into unions and all of the other things we need to give us protection.
Peace is Union Business
See Paddy Crumlin’s peace message here:
With the current ITF Youth Delegation underway in Palestine, Crumlin made mention of the Middle East as well as other conflicts in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
"Peace is union business in the Middle East, peace is union business in Palestine,” Crumlin said.
"This is about workers’ rights in every country. We can’t stand by an allow that level of violence to continue to take place against these communities in defiance of all international laws.
"May Day is when working men and women from all over the world come together to celebrate peace – there can be no dignity and decency in the world if there’s not peace.
"We live in a dysfunctional world, we live in a world where elitism is increasing all the time, where the polarisation of wealth and power has never been greater, when there has never been more people in the world – 8 billion of them – and yet 4 billion have the same wealth as 15 or 20 individuals.
“And what do they do with that money and those resources? Do they put it into your infrastructure? No. They privatise your infrastructure. Do they put it into your communities? No. They take it out of your communities.
“In our world, all we can do is stand together so when we think about May Day, let’s think about all of those workers today, yesterday and tomorrow that will be murdered or incarcerated, their families bullied and pushed into refugee status, their rights and dignities removed.
"Let’s think about that because it’s part of our May Day legacy, it’s part of our May Day identity and that’s part of our May Day celebration – the fact that we can make a difference in those areas."
The ITF Youth Delegation Celebrates May Day in Ramallah City, Palestine. Photo: Ryan McGibbon Thompson
Inaugural Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union Indigenous Conference
The local Cairns Post newspaper reported that more than 90 members of the new union protested against the conservative Australian Government’s controversial work for the dole program badged as the Community Development Program (CDP).
Rally organiser and MUA Northern Territory Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor said the protest was against the CDP’s low wages for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“We’re having our first ever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conference so we’ve got people here from multiple divisions from all over the country that have come together,” he said.
“This is about CDP. It is a program that discriminates against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“It is targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program detrimentally affects our people in that it is less money than the dole.
“There are very harsh penalties, you can’t even be sick. There are many examples where it has hurt families.
“So this rally was in solidarity with them this morning.”
ACTU Change The Rules Campaign
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus visited Cairns on Wednesday to launch the Change the Rules campaign in the region, after taking part in the Indigenous conference earlier in the day.
McManus’ visit comes as issues polling conducted by ReachTel and the ACTU shows broad support for changes that will deliver more secure jobs and fair pay rises for working Australians.
The polling shows more than 70% support for changes to the law to expand the scope of bargaining, expand access to industrial action as a last resort and stop wage theft and casualisation.
The polling of the Federal Division of Leichhardt, covering the area from Cairns to Torres Strait, shows:
- 62.3% support expanding bargaining to industry or sector levels
- 58.4% support making it easier to take industrial action as a last resort
- 70.6% want legislative action to stop wage theft
- 57.7% support action to reduce casualisation
“People across Far North Queensland are telling us what workers across Australia have been telling us. The rules are broken and something needs to change,” McManus said.
“These people are telling the Turnbull Government that working people need stronger rights, that protections for working people have been eroded and that we are not getting the secure jobs and fair pay rises that we need.
“We can change the rules so the people have more secure jobs, fair pay and a better quality of life in Far North Queensland.
“Instead of addressing the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the community, the Turnbull Government is persisting with $65 billion in corporate tax cuts for big businesses and the banks.”
See Paddy Crumlin’s May Day message to dockworkers here:
The Hutchison Terminal at Port Botany has not operated for fourteen days. The MUA member involved in the incident on the 19th April 2018 remains in hospital with critical injuries.
Despite massive pressure, legal threats and intimidation workers have refused to undertake unsafe straddle operations in the terminal until the company implements changes to make the workplace safe. This has taken great unity, courage and organisation. Workers should be commended for their overwhelming commitment to safety. Our members remain available for other duties and look forward to a return to full operations as soon as the work can be made safe.
The MUA's safety concerns include:
- lack of traffic management, exceptionally narrow lane spacing of just 6.05m for a shuttle carrier which is 5.1m wide, and poorly managed vehicle flows which put workers at serious risk of death or injury from collision,
- inadequate training and instruction, and
- engineering flaws in shuttle carriers which leave workers at risk of ejection in the event of a collision.
The terminal is currently subject to three Improvement Notices (legal orders) from SafeWork NSW requiring the employer to address these issues.
Crumlin said this latest crisis is part of a global pattern of safety problems at Hutchison terminals. Dockers at Hutchison’s Jakarta port this week stepped up their own campaign for better safety, following the deaths of four workers at the terminal in just 18 months.
“The ITF is currently urgently seeking an urgent meeting with Hutchison global management in Hong Kong to establish a process to resolve this emerging pattern of global safety issues,” Crumlin said.
May Day Events 2018
Sunday May 6, 11am – 2pm
Victorian Trades Hall Council
Sunday 6th May 2018
Fremantle Esplanade 9am– 12 noon
Saturday 5th May from 10am – March and Change the Rules Rally
Trade Union Centre
14 Lowden Sq, Wollongong
Friday the 4th May, 6pm - May Day Toast
City Diggers Club
$45/25 RSVP 25/4/18 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 6th May from 11am
Hyde Park North
Saturday 5th May from 10 AM ·
Victoria Square, Adelaide · Adelaide, South Australia
Monday 7 May 2018 Monday - 10AM - May Day March
Corner of Turbot and Wharf Streets, Spring Hill.