Maritime News

ITF condemns “politically motivated” fines on sacked crew

13 April 2017

The ITF has backed the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in its protest against fines to be levied on nine seafarers who occupied their ship after they were told they were to lose their jobs to cheaper overseas crew.

Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman is seeking fines of AUD10,800 each for nine workers on the MV Portland employed by the Alcoa company. They were forcibly removed from the vessel in a night-time raid in January 2016 after they staged a sit-in to protest at their proposed sacking when the vessel made its final voyage to Singapore. Alcoa was replacing the Australian-flagged carrier, which had plied the route for 27 years, with foreign-flagged vessels employing crew on poorer pay and conditions. The Ombudsman is also seeking penalties of AUD54,000 against the MUA and says it should pay AUD500,000 in compensation to Alcoa.

Paddy Crumlin, MUA national secretary and ITF president, said: "Alcoa's actions have been condemned by the MUA, ITF and seafarer unions around the world as an abusive attack on Australian seafarers' legal and national rights to work.

 “… These hardworking Australian seafarers have been replaced by flag of convenience shipping which pays exploited foreign workers as little as USD2 an hour and registers ships in places like Liberia, Mongolia and Panama as part of one of the biggest tax avoidance scams on the planet.”

 The ITF Cabotage Taskforce condemned the penalties as “unbelievable”, and the moves against the sacked workers and the MUA as “politically motivated”. 

 




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