The Guardian July 10, 2002


Union battle with CSL back on

by Janice Hamilton

Maritime unions and the Canadian Shipping Line (CSL) were back in the 
Australian Industrial Relations Commission in Sydney recently, as the CSL 
Yarra re-appeared on the Australian coast under another name and flying 
a "flag of convenience". The ship is now known as Stadacona.

The CSL Yarra was the centre of a 16-day dispute in Port Pirie in 
May over company attempts to replace the Australian crew with foreign 
seamen. Its sister ship the CSL Pacific already plies the Australian 
coast flying the Bahamas flag with a Ukrainian crew working on low wages 
and conditions.

All three maritime unions, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the 
Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU), and the Australian Institute of 
Marine Power Engineers (AIMPE) have moved to rope in the owners or 
operators of the CSL Pacific (alias Torrens) under the award. 
The vessel has been trading around the Australian coast for the past year.

The first hearing before the full bench of the Commission was held in 
Sydney in early June, with CSL arguing that flagging out its ships was no 
different than Australian textile companies moving offshore.

Union lawyers, however, claimed that CSL was involved in a corporate ship 
shuffling exercise to subvert the Award and avoid the Commission's reach.

Last week maritime unions provided a special "welcoming" committee for the 
Bahamas flagged Stadacona (the renamed CSL Yarra) when it 
arrived in Brisbane.

CSL paid off and repatriated the Australian crew when it arrived in Noumea 
in early June and took on a foreign crew and hoisted the pirate "flag of 
convenience".

The company has now antagonised unions even more by bringing the ship back 
onto the Australian coast in total disregard for the interests of 
Australian seamen and traders.

The Federal Government has facilitated this attack on seamen and the 
destruction of Australian shipping.

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