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Published: 31 Mar 2023
31 March 2023
To coincide with Svitzer parent AP Moller Mærsk's March Annual General Meeting, a delegation of representatives from the MUA joined with comrades from global transport unions FNV Havens (the Netherlands) and 3F Transport (Denmark) and the ITF’s Maersk Network to bring the Svitzer campaign to the doorstep of the world’s largest shipping company in Copenhagen, Denmark.
With a front page and full page ad in Jyllands-Posten published by the MUA on the day of the AGM warning shareholders about the misconduct of Svitzer’s Australian managers, Danes were left in no doubt about the reputational harm being caused down under by their management team.
Picking up on the ads were other media outlets, who wrote about the ‘fiercely critical’ advertisement published in an otherwise conservative newspaper that reports on finance and business news.
“The shipping giant Mærsk receives harsh criticism from trade unions for its subsidiary Svitzer's conflict with the workers in Australia,” wrote Business Editorial journalist, Emil Bo Rask, in Denmark’s oldest newspaper, Berlingske.
"The citizens of Denmark must realize that although Mærsk is a national icon and are good corporate citizens in Denmark, they are not anywhere else in the world," Assistant National Secretary Jamie Newlyn told the newspaper.
At a press conference on the doorstep of Maersk headquarters, Mr Newlyn demanded that Danish shareholders in the global shipping behemoth call Svitzer’s Australian managers into line.
“Svitzer and Maersk’s behaviour is an attack on the principles of collective bargaining and is contrary to the social values of both the Australian and Danish people. These managers should be called to heel by their Danish parent company or shown the door,” Mr Newlyn said.
Speaking to the 3F Transport Union's own newspaper, Jamie Newlyn explained that: "Maersk has had billions in profits in recent years, and Svitzer is an incredibly profitable subsidiary. They can afford to pay our members a decent salary. By fighting the Union and refusing to negotiate, Maersk fails to meet its own ethical guidelines and stated values".
Jyllands-Posten and Berlingske between them represent a significant proportion of the Danish newspaper market, making it impossible for the Danish investor class to have ignored this issue during the Mærsk AGM.