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Published: 26 Mar 2020
Olympic Park: Maritime workers to take to the streets to protest NRMA throwing Sydney ferry workers into financial ruin.
A convoy of maritime workers will today protest outside the headquarters of motoring giant NRMA, angered by the company’s move to stand down more than 100 workers employed on Sydney ferry services without providing a cent in financial assistance.
The Maritime Union of Australia said unprecedented protest would involve a convoy of cars travelling to the headquarters to demand that the company reverse its decision to stand down these workers, throwing them into financial ruin during a time of crisis.
MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer said “we are not going to allow our members to be exploited and thrown on the scrap heap to suit some bottom line. We will campaign against these bottom feeders until we get the justice our members deserve.”
The MUA Sydney Branch is calling upon the NRMA to live up to their slogans of “we’re here to help” and “help is who we are”.
The convoy will arrive at the Olympic Park headquarters of the NRMA at 12pm today, Friday the 27th of March. The convoy will be made with each vehicle only containing an individual worker and their immediate family members or co-workers, ensuring appropriate social distancing measures were in place in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The MUA is escalating its campaign in the wake of a series of stand-downs of ferry workers on Sydney harbour, including by SeaLink which owns and operates the Captain Cook Cruises brand.
“Given they have some of Australia’s lowest paid workers in the formal economy we are demanding NRMA, Fantasea and Captain Cook Cruises step up to the plate and be a responsible business or we will help expose them for the rotten employers they are. These are morally bankrupt decisions that should be criminalised, yet the fair work act allows employers to destroy jobs and families at will” MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer said.
“If these so called money spinners or bust operators don’t want to provide these services, then they
should be publicly owned.”
The union said the NRMA, which operates Manly Fast Ferry and Fantasea Cruising, has made the decision to stand down almost 100 ferry workers without any form of assistance.
“After years of loyal service to the NRMA, ferry workers are now facing financial ruin due to the loss
of their jobs without any provision for financial assistance or special leave to help them through this incredibly difficult period.”
“This protest is just the very beginning. We will continue to escalate this fight until every single worker is treated with respect and decency that they deserve.”
MUA Sydney Assistant Branch Secretary Paul Garrett said the current crisis was forcing union members to develop innovative and unprecedented approaches to getting their message across.
“For workers whose jobs and livelihoods are on the line, the last thing we want to do is expose them to additional health risks, which is why we have come up with this innovative approach to get our message across,” Mr Garrett said.
“Protesters have a simple demand, and that is for the NRMA to stand by their workers during this crisis by providing special leave or other financial assistance that can help them through the next few months.”
Convoy protest converges on NRMA headquarters When: 12noon, Friday 27 March 2020
Where: Murray Rose Avenue, Olympic Park
Media contacts: Paul Garrett 0418 422 589 or Paul McAleer 0417 468 424