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Maritime Union of Australia petition against cheap foreign labour for Australian jobs

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is seeking all members sign our petition (below) to lobby the Senate to oppose the Abbott Governments efforts to open the door for cheap foreign labour in the offshore sector. The Federal Liberal Party want to repeal legislation designed to protect Australian offshore workers and introduce MCV Visas. Under the MCV visa laws, there are no requirements for employers to demonstrate the unavailability of Australian workers. Australian workers will be left on the beach whilst cheap, subservient foreign workers take our jobs. There are no minimum rates of pay or conditions of employment. There will be a free for all. Sign the petition

https://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-secure-australian-maritime-jobs

This is not a campaign based on racism or xenophobia but a campaign to ensure we have the same right as workers in every country - the right to work. Abbot has used secrecy, force and deception to stop starving refugees desperate to come to Australia for a better life but has opened the door for employers to fly in foreign workers to take our jobs.

Unless we stop these bad laws, Australian labour will be locked out of the offshore sector (both marine and construction). Tony Abbot will not stop there. He will continue to de-regulate the labour market in other sectors of the economy including stevedoring, construction, transport, manufacturing and hospitality.

The MUA are encouraging workers (regardless of what union they are in or whether they are in a union) to sign the petition. In addition, the MUA is encouraging members to get politically active to ensure we have a political voice to protect our sovereign right to work in this country. Members who want a career in the maritime industry should contact the Branch and request an ALP form so they can join the maritime branch of the Australian Labour Party. We need to ensure that we get a voice in parliament to protect our job security, pay and conditions.

It is important that you circulate this petition to workmates, friends and family. The only thing that will defeat us is complacency.

In Struggle

Chris Cain
MUA WA Branch Secretary

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Comments

This petition doesn't explain that "workers in every other country" are generally not prevented from working on their "own" offshore construction vessels by another country's unions. The MUA seems intent on depriving its foreign comrades of work in this internationally mobile offshore working environment. There are many types of shipping in Australian waters. These include domestic shipping, international shipping, cruise ships and offshore construction ships hired to perform work related to construction, drilling and other maintenance of Australian offshore oil and gas fields on an ad hoc basis. This petition is dealing with the latter.

Foreign workers who might normally form an integral part of an offshore construction ship's working team anywhere else except Australia don't necessarily qualify for residence in Australia based on their temporary work in Australian waters; so they don't necessarily contribute to the permanent glut caused by mass migration of relatively wealthy people (by world standards) into Australia. Over 80% of Australia's migrant intake is NOT "starving refugees".

Foreign construction vessels typically comprise marine crew and construction crew (riggers, fitters, welders, etc). The MUA benefits from imposing the requirement to break up these crews when they enter Australian waters by imposing its own construction crews on the vessels' management. This practice can expose foreign construction vessels to unpredictable cost and schedule risk in Australia. The offshore industry generally has high safety standards. Displacing foreign crews with Australian crews does not necessarily improve safety. It could do the opposite if the Australian crews need to go through a learning curve that the displaced crews have already completed.

Saying "Abbott has used secrecy, force and deception to stop starving refugees desperate to come to Australia for a better life but has opened the door for employers to fly in foreign workers to take our jobs." is arguably misleading.

Does this petition seek to depict MUA members as having their human rights violated as if they are "starving refugees"?

The real issue here is not the small number of construction crew on foreign construction vessels that temporarily enter Australia; it is the mass migration of relatively wealthy opportunists who have a net negative impact on Australia's economy, thereby limiting the philanthropic foreign aid that Australia can provide to the desperately poor who do not receive sufficient help in their homelands. Many of those desperately poor are dying from preventable disease and malnutrition/starvation.

Foreign construction vessels entering Australia to perform essential services may be an exception that should reasonably be allowed to choose their own crews on safety grounds alone.

Imagine a situation where a foreign surgeon visits Australia to perform an operation that no Australian can perform. He wants to bring his anaesthetist with him, but because the operation is being performed on an offshore construction ship only anaesthetists who are MUA members are allowed to perform the work. So the surgeon has to work with someone he has not personally chosen for the work.

Imagine if all foreign construction vessels boycotted Australia because of this MUA restriction. Necessity would then defend foreign construction vessel rights to make their own hiring decisions without the interference of the MUA. Without the ability of these foreign construction vessels to enter and leave Australia when required, Australia's offshore industry would be severely disabled. Many believe that it is currently being disabled by the MUA.

Michael S.'s confused and self-contradictory contribution seems to propose that the MUA adopt a form of unconditional internationalism which may have been appropriate in Europe in the early 20th Century:

"... The MUA seems intent on depriving its foreign comrades of work. ..."

... but would be suicidal for the MUA to adopt in the race-to-the-bottom globalised world economy of 2014. Michael S. continues:

Also these foreign workers don't necessarily qualify for residence in Australia based on their temporary work in Australian waters; so they don't necessarily contribute to the permanent glut caused by mass migration of wealthy opportunists into Australia.

What point Michael S. is trying to make here escapes me. Australian seamen should hang their hopes on foreign crews, who have taken their jobs, "not necessarily" being given permanent residence in Australia?

The post continues on a confusing meander. Michael then complains that "the MUA benefits from imposing the requirement to break up [foreign] crews when they enter Australian waters and imposing its own construction crew on the vessels' management." Michael objects to how this requirement "exposes foreign contractors to unpredictable cost and schedule risk in Australia."

Michael claims that "The offshore industry generally has high safety standards." Then, contrary to that claim, he states, "Displacing foreign crews with Australian crews does not necessarily improve safety." ?

Michael then wanders off on a tangent into the debate about global poverty, refugees and the boat people. Then he asks rhetorically:

Does this petition misleadingly depict MUA members as having their human rights violated as if they are "starving refugees"?

No, Michael, the petition doesn't attempt to liken MUA members to starving refugees. Should we wait until the working conditions of Australian workers, including the waterfront workforce and seamen, have been reduced to Third World conditions (as is happening in the United States) before we deem them worthy of support?

Michael then argues:

The real issue here is not the crew on foreign contractor vessels that temporarily enter Australia; it is the mass migration of relatively wealthy opportunists who have a net negative impact on Australia's economy ...

Why can't you see that these two issues are, in fact, part and parcel of the ruling elite's attempt to destroy the living standards of all Australians who now enjoy decent living standards, whether they are middle class professionals or workers, such as members of the MUA?

Michael continues:

Foreign contractor vessels should arguably be allowed to choose their own crews. Imagine if all foreign contractors boycotted Australia because of this MUA restriction. Necessity would then defend foreign contractor rights to make their own hiring decisions without the interference of the MUA. Without these foreign construction vessels Australia's offshore industry would be severely disabled. Many believe that it is currently being disabled by the MUA.

Foreign shipping companies would (arguably(?)) be justified in boycotting Australia if the MUA were not to allow shipping bosses to choose the cheapest and most servile crews to work in Australian waters?

I have observed unions opposing things like the 457 Visa worker program, but I have also noted that the same unions are still beholden to appropriating misinformation from the radical left.

The CFMEU in Brisbane attacked Australia First actvists in Brisbane, due to the incorrect belief that AF supported Campbell Newmans laws on associations, attacked demonstrators at the behest of the far left who gave them this information(I believe Andy Slackbastard?). Many CFMEU members did not support this action and I'm reasonably confident that this action was not representative of the union, but it still happened, which is odd. Why does an organisation which represents working people have such ties?

But I've heard far left radicals in the past tell me about how they can get, or have gotten, the unions to do "dirty work" against their political enemies. While the comment was about the MUA, there do appear to be ties between the upper echelons of the union movement and internationalists, and one has to look closely at whats actually going on.

Union members need to take a closer look at their leadership.