World Spotlight On WA As Wharves Stop For Labour Conference Launch

Work on the wharves and ships will stop in Fremantle for four hours on Tuesday morning, February 22, as around 500 maritime workers and international labour leaders gather at the South Fremantle Football Club for the launch of the Maritime Union of Australia’s (MUA) West Australian state conference.

The conference is being launched in conjunction with the union's monthly meeting and will run over four days. It will be attended by union leaders from across Australia and around the world making it the biggest labour conference ever held in WA.

Union leaders from the US, Europe, Africa, America and the Asia Pacific are coming together with rank and file delegates from the states 14 ports, local representatives of all major unions and MUA delegations from around the country.

"That so many people are gathering from around the world and around the nation here next week is recognition of WA as the engine room of the nation's $200 billion offshore industry," said WA state secretary Chris Cain. "We are now the biggest and fastest growing branch of the Maritime Union and we are making a difference."

Jon Ford, WA Shadow Minister for mines and Petroleum and Fisheries will open the conference following a traditional welcome to country, by local elders.

Special guests include Paddy Crumlin, MUA national secretary and president of the International Transport Workers Federation, Steve Cotton, ITF London, Hanafi Rustandi, ITF Asia Pacific and Indonesian Seafarers' Union,

Zenzo Mahlangu, South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union , Willie Adams, and Ray Familathe from the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union, USA, Steve Todd, Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, UK, Joe Fleetwood, Maritime Union of New Zealand, Dal - Sik, Korean dockworkers union, Reg McAlister, Maritime Industrial Workers' Union PNG, Paulino De Costa, Timor Leste Maritime and Transport Union.

Local union leaders include Simone McGurk, UnionsWA, Dean Mighell, ETU, Joan Doyle, CEPU, Dave Noonan, CFMEU, Craig Johnson, formerly AMSU Victoria, Kevin Reynolds, CFMEU, Steve McCartney AMWU, Jim McGiveron, TWU and Steve Price, AWU.

High on the agenda for discussion at conference is internationalism, community campaigning, workplace safety, workers' capital, growth and the union's industrial agenda.  

Delegates will report on regional ports from Albany, Bunbury to Broome, with special industry sector reports including blue water, towage, offshore dredging and diving.

State conference follows a youth conference on Monday and culminates with the MUA West Coast Gala Ball at the Burswood Grand Ballroom on the Friday night

Media are invited to join the conference on the opening morning.

Where: South Fremantle Football Oval

When: 9am