Communist Party of Australia

We acknowledge the Sovereignty of the First Nations’ Peoples.

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Issue #1539      14 March 2012

Victory at Botany for unions and unionism

MUA Picket at Port Botany March 10

A dispute that had spread from NZ to Australia in the maritime industry has been resolved with a tremendous victory for the workers and the unions today (Monday, March 12). The dispute started when the vessel Maersk Bran,i loaded by scabs in NZ, docked in Port Botany at 6.30am and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members refused to unload the cargo. The company Maersk has recognised the right of MUA members not to unload the cargo and has agreed not to go back to Port of Auckland till the union workers there have been reinstated.

A community picket formed on Saturday morning, March 10, and continued until Monday morning when the company resolved matters with the MUA. The union has declared this a tremendous victory. The community picket coordinated by Unions NSW drew a large crowd on Saturday and representatives from other unions and community groups including the CPA. Over the weekend at 2pm and 10pm on each day there were short rallies followed by a community presence and respect for the union picket.

The community picket at Port Botany was attended by members of the sacked workforce from Auckland. Their presence brought the reality of the Auckland struggle to Sydney.

The dispute in Auckland is several months old where the port authority is seeking to casualise the workforce. The authorities refused to negotiate with the union and then summarily sacked the 300 workers last week and employed scabs. On the weekend in Auckland a massive rally and march saw representatives of unions from Australia and USA supporting their colleagues in NZ, particularly the members of Maritime Union of NZ.

The combined unity of the national and international working class led to the victory at Botany and will lead to a similar victory in New Zealand.  

Next article – World Federation of Trade Unions – Statement on International Women’s Day

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