New Zealand maritime workers back Australian tug crews in Svitzer dispute

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is backing Australian maritime crews facing a lock out from their multinational corporate employer.

The entire Australian seagoing workforce of Svitzer Towage is being locked out from Friday 18 November, which will result in major disruptions in the supply chain.

Svitzer is a fully owned subsidiary of multinational shipping conglomerate AP Moller Maersk and receive federal funding for providing essential towage services in major Australian ports.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says New Zealand maritime workers are following the situation closely and had offered support and solidarity to affected crew members in Australia.

He says Australian management are attempting clawbacks of wages, reducing job security, and undermining safety standards, for their Australian tug crews.

“These tug crews do an amazing job, including the rescue of ships in dangerous conditions, such as the stricken Portland Bay in July this year.”

Mr Harrison noted Svitzer’s Danish parent company is expected to deliver more than $30 billion in profit to its shareholders this year, after achieving a record profit last year of $21 billion as they benefited from unprecedented shipping prices during the pandemic.

He says the Maritime Union is extending its support to the three Australian unions involved in the dispute – the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE), and the Australian Marine Officers Union (AMOU).

Transport unions from around the world are currently meeting in Zagreb, Croatia, and will be forming a united global response to the actions of Svitzer.

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