MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
Trade unions across the globe protest union busting antics of Danish energy giant Ørsted
20 September 2023
Hundreds of trade unions from across the world will join together in protest against union-busting measures taken by renewable energy company Ørsted.
Over 215 unions from 100 countries have signed an open letter to Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted, calling on Nipper to directly intervene and resolve the issues between Ørsted US and US maritime unions.
Unions affiliated to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) will today (20 September) deliver the letter to key Ørsted offices, as well as holding protests in key ports in North America, Europe, Australia and the UK.
Ørsted US has failed to negotiate in good faith, breaking promises to workers and union members represented by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) in New London, Connecticut. Ørsted has also signed twenty-year contracts with anti-union shipping companies – a direct violation of Ørsted’s own Code of Conduct.
A company that prides itself on its green credentials, Ørsted is disregarding the workers involved in delivering its services. Seafarers and dockers are vital to Ørsted’s supply chain and ensuring the smooth delivery and continued service of Ørsted’s offshore wind projects globally.
Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary, ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair Paddy Crumlin said, “ITF stand united against what is essentially union busting. We don’t believe that companies like Ørsted can call themselves green on one hand, while being prepared to exploit workers on the other. Climate justice and worker justice must go hand in hand. Today we are planning protests wherever Ørsted have a presence, so they can expect to hear from us loud and clear that union busting is not welcome.”
Harold Daggett, President, ILA said: “Ørsted cannot claim that this is a jurisdictional dispute between unions. It has blatantly entered into a project labour agreement with the building trades unions even after the ILA made Ørsted aware of the scope of longshore work jurisdiction. Ørsted must respect the core work jurisdiction of longshore workers in its wind turbine operations and its failure to do so cannot be tolerated.”
In addition to joining the global day of action against Ørsted on 20 September 2023, Maritime Union of Australia members rallied in July at the Australia Wind Energy conference where Ørsted was presenting to industry, government and regulatory stakeholders about future wind projects around the Australian coastline. The MUA called on company officials there to respect the ILA jurisdiction on the United States' East Coast and put the company on notice about respecting workers and their unions when commencing future projects in Australia.
While the MUA welcomes growth of new renewable energy zones such as those announced in the Hunter, Gippsland and Southern Ocean areas in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the development of renewable energy infrastructure must be done in a way which delivers secure, safe and rewarding long-term employment for workers in the maritime, energy and offshore resources sectors.
Ørsted are proponents of a new offshore wind cluster in the Gippsland region of the Victorian coast, with a proposal to install 5.6GW of generation capacity. Their proposal trumpets over 6000 new jobs in Victoria.
Not only must Ørsted respect dockworkers and negotiate agreements with the US East Coast dockworkers' union, the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the MUA is calling on Ørsted to sign union agreements with all unions with coverage of work required in the development and ongoing operation of offshore wind in Australia, including the MUA, the Electrical Trades Union, the Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the CFMEU Construction Division.