International Solidarity

Australian Workers Film Guide


Begins with an interview with Paddy Crumlin discussing internationalism, not just organising but also being on the frontline. He speaks of union alliances with the ILWU, for example. American union officials will not permit Australian ships to be unloaded in the US, ships which have been loaded in Australia by “scab”, non-union labour. International maritime union sector makes sure that contracts are honoured. The Maritime Union in its quest to secure the rights of its members, has developed proud relationships with the International Transport Workers Federation and the SIU. Similarly, the NZ Maritime Union has spent a lot of time and money trying to defend workers. Without overseas union help they could not have financed their struggle. 

The film also reminds its viewers of the union’s long-standing fight for human rights and its opposition to war. They were there in 1954 Vietnam, in 1967 the union opposed the government and the wharfies refused to load military equipment to vessels headed to Vietnam. The government was forced to hand over the job to the navy. Similarly with South African oil sanctions. Australian unions also donated for Cuban assistance. In the Napier dispute, were workers were kicked out because they were union members, and the police made sure that “scab” labour went through the picket lines, the union was crucial in defending its workers. In the Strasburg dispute of 2007 in France, the workers were water bombed and gassed by police forces, while they were trying to stop the European Parliament from passing a directive against workers. Australian and other workers from around the world, convened there to voice their opposition to the proposals. The package was eventually defeated in the Parliament. There was always a danger of these proposals finding their way to Australia under a Howard administration.  

Special Notes/Achievements

Part of a collection of short videos presented at the Maritime Union of Australia’s 2008 International Solidarity Conference.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 28 mins 8 secs

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Film Cinematographer: Fabio Cavadini, Russ Hermann, Didg McDonald, Jamie McMechan, Viron Papadopoulos, Cooper Silk,

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