In a mark of international solidarity, a delegation of Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) unionists and rank-and-file workers has arrived in Hong Kong to join the Kwai Chung dockworkers on the picket line.
MUA National Secretary and President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Paddy Crumlin, said Australian maritime workers have been deeply disturbed by the abuses of workers by Hong Kong International Terminals’ (HIT) subcontractors and wanted to express their support. The delegation also includes an ITF representative.
“Following my visit to Hong Kong last week in support of the Kwai Chung dockworkers, my union has sent representatives from around Australia to stand side-by-side with these workers on the picket line,” Mr Crumlin said.
“Transport and dockworkers around the world are shocked by the treatment of the Kwai Chung dockworkers under these contracting arrangements.
“Australian along with other international dockworkers and transport workers feel strongly enough not just to donate to the cause but to support these workers by standing arm-in-arm.
“HIT – which is a subsidiary of the global network terminal operator Hutchison – needs to make sure that workers are treated decently and paid fairly including in their subcontracting arrangements.
“To see hardly any increase in pay for more than a decade is just one part of the problem – the other part relates to the disgraceful treatment of these workers. It's employment more akin to slave labour.
“These abuses must stop and HIT in particular needs to show that they are committed to ending the exploitation of outsourced dockworkers in their subcontracting arrangements.
"Hutchison is a decent employer of dockworkers in Australia and in other countries around the world and they need to provide consistency by recognising that the treatment of these workers in Hong Kong is not acceptable.”
The Union of Hong Kong Dockers commenced strike action on 28 March as a result of inhumane treatment at work, including requiring some dockworkers to urinate out of windows, defecate and eat in their 6 foot-by-6 foot cabins so their work .would not be interrupted