Solidarity with Dockers in the Port of Fremantle, Australia
Qube Dispute – Solidarity with Dockers in the Port of Fremantle, Australia
Further to ITF E-Circular No. 273/D/2021 of September 13, 2021, I wish to provide an update on the current Qube dispute in Fremantle, Australia – and ways in which you can show solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). I also want to thank those affiliates who have already reached out in solidarity to the MUA.
Qube is Australia’s largest integrated logistics company and the major player in the bulk and general stevedoring industry. They have exclusive contracts with both Wallenius Wilhelmsen and K-Line for roro type work.
MUA members on strike in Fremantle are in the middle of one of the longest, hostile, and most significant industrial disputes seen on the Australian waterfront in decades. MUA Qube members haven’t worked since Friday July 30th and are now about to start the 12th week of strike action. It is worth noting that six out of seven shift managers refused to do the work of the striking MUA members and have had their employment terminated.
This dispute is not about money. It is about the right to a safe workplace that prevents excessive hours of work and consecutive unsafe rostering of shifts that have resulted in significant fatigue and safety issues amongst MUA members.
This dispute is about giving workers an ability to plan their lives by having sufficient advance notice of shifts. Permanent workers at Qube in Fremantle have no roster and like casuals get notified by text at 1600 each day to be told whether they are working the next day and whether that shift is a day, evening, or night shift and whether it is somewhere between 8 and 12.5 hours. They are seeking to bring the notice forward by two hours to 1400. At a 1600 notification, casuals cannot take other work if they work across multiple jobs as most casuals do, parents cannot plan childcare properly and permanents struggle to plan at all.
MUA members are simply requesting a safe workplace free from issues of fatigue, and a decent work-life balance. The brutalised rostering and hours of work is reflective of the worst aspects of our industry, should certainly not be happening at Australia’s largest logistics company with a 2-billion-dollar revenue stream.
Since the strike action started on July 30th the MUA have had a further six meetings that have failed to deliver the fair policies they demand.
International solidarity has been very well received by MUA members at Qube and has provided strength and endurance in very trying times. As you can imagine ten-plus weeks on strike is incredibly hard and stressful financially for MUA members. They need our support.
Nevertheless, morale is high and there continues to be daily meetings on the picket line and updates on international support both from the ITF and global dockworker unions. Will Tracey, MUA WA Branch Secretary reads out each letter of support to members as they come through.
Qube have upped the pressure by bringing in more strike-breakers to work and vessels for both Wallenius Wilhelmsen, and K-Line are being worked by strike-breakers in Fremantle. The MUA send their gratitude to those dockworkers across the globe who have taken solidarity action against Wilhelmsen and K-Line vessels on behalf of the MUA – an act of International solidarity that unites Dockers.
Wilhelmsen and others have now had 7 vessels worked directly by strike-breakers. There has been international discussions and solidarity action in support of MUA members against Wallenius Wilhelmsen which continues.
Those seven vessels worked by strike-breakers in Fremantle so far during the last eight weeks are as follows:
|TONGALA||13/08/2021 10:20||14/08/2021 00:40||No. 12 NQ||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|FIDELIO||21/08/2021 19:49||23/08/2021 23:40||No. 12 NQ||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|MORNING PEACE||26/08/2021 02:10||26/08/2021 20:20||H Berth||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|THEMIS||02/09/2021 08:00||04/09/2021 00:35||No. 12 NQ||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|TITANIA||05/09/2021 01:00||06/09/2021 16:10||H Berth||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|MORNING CELESTA||09/09/2021 11:10||10/09/2021 04:00||No. 12 NQ||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
|MORNING CROWN||10/09/2021 08:10||11/09/2021 09:05||No. 12 NQ||Wilhelmsen Ships Service|
However, the MUA are now also targeting K-Line because they have had five vessels worked by strike-breakers in this port during this dispute.
These are the latest K-Line vessels to be worked by strike-breakers:
|K-LINE CAR CARRIERS IN PORT OF FREMANTLE SINCE 1 AUGUST 2021|
|LLOYD’S #||VESSEL NAME||IN PORT||OUT PORT|
|9510151||BLUE RIDGE HIGHWAY||22/09/2021 02:57||23/09/2021 21:00|
|9672416||GENIUS HIGHWAY||31/08/2021 02:10||01/09/2021 20:10|
|9277826||AMBER ARROW||13/08/2021 15:21||15/08/2021 07:33|
|9294367||GUANGZHOU HIGHWAY||07/08/2021 08:21||07/08/2021 20:20|
|9726695||GLOBAL HIGHWAY||07/08/2021 01:52||07/08/2021 23:32|
Please see below a link to the Facebook post and footage of one of the MUA rally’s explaining the dispute.
I encourage you to share this across your union social media platforms.
Given the gravity of this situation I reach out to all ITF Dockers affiliates to:
- Continue to show solidarity: letters and short videos should continue to be sent to Will Tracey at Will.Tracey@mua.org.au
- Where possible, offers of financial assistance will be very well received. If you wish to contribute, please contact Sandra Miro ASAP: Sandra.Miro@mua.org.au at the MUA Western Australia office and please copy in Will Tracey.
- Identify Wallenius Wilhelmsen and K-Line vessels working your port with a view to showing lawful and effective solidarity. For more information on tracking vessels and what legal support is most effective, please contact Paul McAleer in the ITF Dockers Section, Sydney Office: McAleer_Paul@itf.org.uk and Will Tracey.
The MUA Qube members, including the MUA WA Branch Executive in Fremantle, pass on their gratitude for your support.
Thank you, sisters and brothers.
We will win.
Paddy Crumlin Enrico Tortolano
ITF President and ITF Dockers Section Chair ITF Dockers Coordinator