EARLIER this week, the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada president James Given concluded a successful trip to Australia, where he brought a message of solidarity and support for Australian seafarers, according to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)
During his visit, president Given participated in demonstrations against government inaction to protect domestic maritime jobs, an MUA spokesperson said.
SIU president Given’s visit came on the heels of Canadian seafarers "demonstrating in solidarity with their Australian brothers and sisters".
In February, over 100 SIU of Canada members rallied outside of the Australian embassies in Ottawa and Toronto, calling on the Australian Government to strengthen important cabotage laws which are crucial to protecting jobs.
“The SIU of Canada along with international resources through the International Transport Workers’ Federation are unwavering in their support for Australian Seafarers,” said Mr Given, who is also chair of the International Transportation Workers’ Federation (ITF) cabotage taskforce.
“We are mobilizing across the globe to combat this negligence,” Mr Given said.
During his trip to Australia, Mr Given addressed members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), which has been working tirelessly in Australia to prevent further layoffs and strengthen domestic labour protections. SIU president Given solidified the international maritime union community’s commitment to Save Australian Shipping.
“The leadership of the MUA has initiated a strong local campaign but the Global Union movement must now flex our muscle to assist," Mr Given said.
The SIU of Canada is calling for a world day of action to support Australian seafarers.
“The time has come for a coordinated action across the globe in order to highlight the blatant disregard for Australian seafarers,” Mr Given said. Further, the ITF will remain active in Australia and continue its efforts to strengthen Australian cabotage law. At home, the SIU of Canada is committed to continuing its efforts with Canada Steamship Lines to get Australian seafarers up to the gangway.
“When we support our brothers and sisters, our industry becomes stronger. It is our duty as maritime leaders to protect our workers and protect our industry,” Mr Given said. “The whole of the global union federation is watching Australia right now, and we will not back down.”
About the SIU of Canada
The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts.