Waterfront workers today are protesting at major ports and stevedoring headquarters around Australia to demand a national safety code, following the death of 56 year-old Newcastle wharfie, Greg Fitzgibbon last month.
A 20 tonne pallet of aluminium ingots on board the Weaver Arrow crushed Mr Fitzgibbon on September 23.
A day later, despite Mr Fitzgibbon’s death, major employers such as Patricks, Qube and DP World moved to block a stevedoring code of practice that would make the Australian waterfront a safer place to work. The major employers have been joined by Shipping Australia, a lobby group representing foreign shipping companies, who don’t employ a single worker on the waterfront, yet are blocking a fair safety code and trying to drive down safety standards.
MUA Assistant National Secretary, Warren Smith said:
Tragically, we saw the reality of the danger of working on Australian wharves just lastmonth. Despite the tragic death of Greg Fitzgibbon, Qube, Patricks and DP World seem to think it’s acceptable to drag their heels on workplace safety. Working on the Australian waterfront is dangerous work, something these corner office crusaders would not understand. These companies simply refuse to behave reasonably. Every day of delay puts our members’ lives at risk.
The tragic death last month of Greg Fitzgibbon ought to be a wake up call. Australian wharfies deserve the highest possible standard of safety. We will continue to campaign until we have a safer waterfront.