ETF calls for solidarity amongst the entire Tug and Towage sector to protect workers’ rights

17 Mar 2022

We stand in solidarity with Svitzer Australia workers during the current industrial dispute between Svitzer Australia management and ITF Australian affiliates – members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) and the Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU).

We urge Svitzer Australia management to immediately reach a resolution with our affiliate unions that respects Svitzer Australia workers’ rights and security. At the same time, we ask the Svitzer management team to treat our fellow Svitzer workers with due respect.

This situation has arisen following the attacks on pay and conditions that Svitzer tabled two years ago and the most recent attempt to undermine the unions’ bargaining position by applying the collective bargaining agreement terminated under Australia’s workplace relations laws. Svitzer Australia’s most recent actions fall well short of what we would expect from Svitzer and Maersk senior leaders.

We strongly condemn this anti-union action, and we encourage the reopening of an honest social dialogue with a meaningful partner engagement. The industry needs such an approach right now, especially considering towage delays in Australia may worsen the existing supply chain woes.

We call for solidarity amongst the entire Tug and Towage sector“, stated Estelle Brentnall, the ETF Head of Maritime. She added:

“When transport workers, and especially those working in the waterborne sectors have done everything at their own personal peril to ensure fluid supply chains during COVID-19 lockdowns, big shipping companies like Maersk and its Tug & Towage daughter Svitzer have done everything in their power to spiral down the working conditions of those very same crewmembers. Only through solidarity can we win this- we are stronger together. “

We believe the dispute must be ended as soon as possible, and the parts should be willing to take any efforts needed to avoid reaching a dead end, where the wages and working conditions might be stripped bare, and the collective bargaining agreement could be dismantled for the entire workforce. This is unacceptable for our transport workers!