Construction Unions Rally – July 4 2012 Melbourne, Australia

9 07 2012


July 5, the Fin Review covered the rally and cited MUA Victorian Secretary Kevin Bracken’s call for an end to importation of international labour racist. In fact Mr Bracken was pushing for due process of all persons who wish to obtain work in Australia and an end to the 457 visa.

In fact Mr Bracken was calling for an adherence to the existing migration process that protects international workers from abuse by giving them citizenship of this country. He was also speaking for reinforcing skills in this country and said that those skills sould cease to exist in Australia if they were not taught to Australian citizens.

The 457 visa exists exists for companies wishing to extract maximum profit by cutting corners on migration in so called skill shortage areas. However international workers employed on 457 visas have often been subject to wages and conditions that fall far short of Australian conditions and are in breach of Australia’s Fairwork industrial relations law yet the Federal govt has been loathe to regulate the 457 system.

The May 25 announcement of an agreement that would allow Hancock Prospecting to import 1715 457 visa workers to their Roy Hill mine, Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has embarrassed the Federal government into some show of revision.

BOB BIRRELL, MIGRATION EXPERT, MONASH UNIVERSITY: Over the past few years, the Government has systemically rejected any proposals this that there should be labour market testing for 457 visas sponsored by Australian employers, and suddenly on Friday, the Prime Minister says that she now feels that Australian workers should be given an opportunity to apply for work that 457 visa holders intended to do. So if this was the case, it would be a massive change and administrative revolution in the 457 visa regime.

Not embarrassed enough though, to call a halt to the expansion of agreements like Roy Hill with other companies chomping at the bit to get a hold of those low paid workers.

The 7:30 report touched on the issue in May this year.

730 Report on Rhinehart's Roy Hill Mine migration agreement
(29/05/2012 copyright ABC)

KRUNO KUKOC, SENIOR IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL To date we have had four applications for EMA, we have four applications, one fully considered, assessed and before the Minister, three with us at the moment.

STEVE KNOTT, AUST. MINES AND METAL ASSOC.: The number of projects that meet that criteria of $2 billion or 1,500 employees is very small – there’s only about 10 to 13 projects in that category. So yes, there are other enterprise migration agreement programs being considered.

GREG HOY: It is clear from comments made publicly over the past week that it won’t be long before further enterprise migration agreements are announced. The multinational Chevron corporation will today neither confirm nor deny rumours that it’s Wheatstone and Gorgon gas projects off WA are the next in line for such agreements, followed by the Indian GVK and Adani coal projects in Queensland. Unions are angry at the lack of transparency.

And Gina’s position?

GINA RINEHART (from corporate video): Whilst continuing to limit sufficient guest workers, we are not only losing or delaying projects, but creating problems for the future by putting ourselves in an unnecessarily high cost base structure, from which we will be forced to struggle to compete internationally for decades ahead. Both unions and migration experts have long called for greater market testing of availability of Australian workers, including for the closely related 457 visas that have, or will, bring in tens of thousands more skilled workers than will now arrive under enterprise migration agreements.

Gina Rhinehart could not be more blatant in her stated wish to undercut Australian wages and conditions but foisting lesser conditions on 457 workers who do not have rights the same as Australian citizens.

It seems pretty clear too, that such agreements would intentionally undercut Australian Enterprise Agreements and are designed to rid the space of union representation.

Finally the Fin Review should be noted as shark infested media and should note: it is a racist migration scheme in which inherent under-privilege is linked with country of origin.


What is The Union Show?

7 12 2010

The Union Show broadcast on community TV C31 in Melbourne Australia from 2005 to 2009 and is a rich source of information on unions and issues affecting unions in this country. Whilst the program is no longer produced for television, the producers, United Productions maintain both a Union Show blog and the UnitedPro2010 YouTube channel as a means of disseminating union information that would otherwise be lost in time and in the morass of anti-union misinformation that is distributed by mainstream media.

An extensive archive of Union Show episodes is available for viewing at Current union information can be sourced at and at the UnitedPro2010 YouTube channel. There are many other web sources for union information that deal mainly in the written word. One of those sites and perhaps the venerable example is where you will find links to many other like-minded information outlets.

MUA in Mexico

15 08 2010

ITF congress closes with march through Mexico City

15 08 2010

The ITF’s forty-second congress – its biggest ever and first in Latin America – will close today with a march through Mexico City in support of Mexican workers’ rights. Delegates are leaving the conference centre and proceeding to the Zócalo square via Avenida Madero.

Some 1376 participants from 368 trade unions in 112 countries attended the event, which began on 5 August and which determines the policies of the ITF – a global union federation with 760 affiliated trade unions with 4.69 million members in 154 countries – for the next four years.

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft commented: “There’s never been a bigger or more successful ITF congress. These last two weeks have been filled with opportunities to come together, learn from each other, and forge new paths for the future.”

He continued: “It would be impossible to list all the highlights of this congress. There have been too many of them, from our first ever youth conference, to the highly successful climate change conference and the election of a new President for the organisation. Paddy Crumlin, General Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. But something I must mention is the way that our being here has helped us to stand alongside our Mexican colleagues, and join them in their defence of union rights, in their fight for decent conditions and, in the case of Mexicana Airlines, for their very jobs.”

He concluded: “As this congress comes to its end, we have committed ourselves anew to campaigning for fairer and safer work at sea, on land and in the air.”

Paddy Crumlin commented: : “I’m excited to be able to take on this new role and play my part in moving the work of the ITF, its hundreds of affiliated unions and their millions of members forward through the implementation of a comprehensive organising programme focused on trade union regeneration and revitalisation.”

Dockers demand worldwide lobby on health and safety

15 08 2010

Calls by dockers’ unions for a global union response to growing health and safety concerns in ports following several fatalities over the past year were renewed at the dockers’ section conference on Saturday.

Section chair Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, reported that there had been three deaths on the docks in the past six months in Australia.

Employers, he explained, had not been taking the issue seriously or responding adequately. The union had taken protest action stopping port activities for 24 hours.

Crumlin said: “Which ever employer it is, we should respond in the global movement and show that we won’t tolerate this. We must act as one.”

He added: “There should be comprehensive standards in occupational health and safety and minimum standards of training for dockworkers. And global network terminal operators must have minimum standards in all their operations worldwide.”

Ryosuke Kitahata from the National Federation of Dockworkers’ Unions of Japan explained how the union’s work with the ministry of land, transport and infrastructure had led to the introduction of a bill on container safety. It contains a number of provisions, such as control over the contents and weight of containers and guidelines on packing.

Kitahata said: “The ITF should create a movement for the safe transport of marine containers and policy for international standards on safe transport of countries.”

Frank Leys, ITF dockers’ section secretary, gave a presentation on the ports of convenience campaign. Several unions commented on the implementation of the campaign and stated that it was vital to increase dockworker power worldwide. They also suggested that more resources be allocated towards these efforts and that links between the flag of convenience and ports of convenience campaigns be strengthened. This would ensure that material benefits for dockers could be delivered more effectively and the issue of cargo handling by seafarers resolved.

Delegates observed a minute’s silence to remember Pedro Zamora, the Guatemalan dockworkers’ leader, murdered in 2007 in the port of Quetzal, and all other dockers who had lost their lives in the course of their work.

MUA elected to ITF womens committee

13 08 2010

Mich-Elle Myers, MUA women’s liaison officer elected to the International Transport Workers Federation’s women’s committee at ITF Congress Mexico City today

The election is international recognition of the union’s commitment to women’s rights.

“Being on the women’s committee advances rights for all workers however our focus is organising and protecting women,” said Myers.

“I am honoured that the women of the Asia Pacific have elected me. I hope to achieve equity for women in all areas of work, paid parental leave as well as improved facilities and conditions for women – MUA women and for the worlds transport workers.”

MUA National Secretary and ITF executive board member Paddy Crumlin said he was very proud that an MUA woman continues the work Port Botany waterside worker and former womens liason officer Sue Virago pioneered. “Mich-Elle’s election really does epitomise the MUA’s position of promoting women’s rights,” he said.

Paddy Crumlin is new ITF President

13 08 2010

Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) has just been elected President of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) at the global union federation’s world congress in Mexico City.

Triumphant: Paddy Crumlin with outgoing ITF President Randall Howard

The ITF represents over 4.6 million members of 760 trade unions worldwide and its President is tasked with helping hold the organisation to account between these congresses, which set its policy for the next four years. Paddy Crumlin, is the 22nd person to take on the post.

“I’m excited to be able to take on this new role and play my part in moving the work of the ITF, its hundreds of affiliated unions and their millions of members forward through the implementation of a comprehensive organising programme focused on trade union regeneration and revitalisation.”

For more details please contact:

At the ITF in London, Sam Dawson: Tel: +44 (0)20 7940 9260. Email:

Paddy Crumlin in Mexico City, Tel: +61(0)418 379 660. Email:

In Australia, Zoe Reynolds, MUA Media and Projects Officer. Tel:(612) 9267 9134.

Mobile (61) 417 229873. Email: