Seafarers Protest Against Loss of Jobs and Ships at Australian Parliament

Unemployed maritime workers from around Australia decide to stage a protest ahead of the Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday to demand urgent action from the Morrison Government to strengthen the Australian shipping industry.

Seafarers Protest Against Loss of Jobs and Ships at Australian Parliament
The protestors from the MUA on the lawn of Parliament House in Canberra, Australia (NMU)

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said that since the election of the Coalition Government in 2013, “More than half the Australian ships that transported cargo between Australian ports are lost, taking with them quite 500 direct seafarers jobs.”

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It has been urging for several years now, for the government to limit the presence of vessels flying the so-called flags of convenience by introducing cabotage laws for its coastal waters.

Namely, cabotage laws have been identified as the best potential solution to ensure jobs for domestic seafarers and prevent foreign seafarers from being exploited as they tend to be underpaid and often faced with sub-standard working and safety conditions.

“Unemployed seafarers will hold a Jobs Embassy on the Parliament House lawn from 7:00 AM, before being joined by supporters and fellow maritime workers for a rally at 11:00 AM“ MUA said.

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The National General Secretary of MUA, Paddy Crumlin, said, “This campaign isn’t almost getting Australian seafarers copy the gangways of Australian ships, it’s about the importance of a robust shipping industry to the economic success of an island nation”

The ‘Save Australian Shipping’ campaign has been ongoing for years as jobs in the industry continued to erode. In February 2019, union workers staged a similar protest on the lawn in front of Parliament after 80 Australian seafarers were laid off from two vessels that carried iron ore from Port Hedland in Western Australia to steelworks in Port Kembla. At the time, union leaders said without cabotage laws, the practices of replacing Australians with lower-cost foreign labor were legal and would continue.

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