The National Interest

Royal Commission evidence confirms MUA commitment to local jobs

Tuesday 30 Sep 2014

Industry evidence given at yesterday's Royal Commission hearings into the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has recognised the union's efforts to train Australian workers.

The evidence is detailed in witness statements from the hearings, which were released today.  Many of the details were omitted in today's media coverage of the Commission. 

Read the extracts from the witness statements here.

The statements reveal multiple industry witnesses supported the legitimate role that the Maritime Employees Training Limited (METL) played in training Australians with maritime industry skills.  

METL is a Registered Training Organisation with an independent Board consisting of both union and industry representatives.  As a part of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations with employers, employees agreed to contribute part of their wages to METL.  Under separate arrangements, employers also contributed to the organisation.

MUA WA Branch Secretary Christy Cain said the Royal Commission's hearings into the MUA had backfired.

"Tony Abbott's Royal Commission into unions is designed to weaken public support for the union movement, providing cover for the Federal Government's attempts to reduce workplace conditions and bring in overseas workers," he said.

"However, the only thing uncovered in yesterday's hearing into the MUA is our union's rock solid commitment to ensuring Australians are trained with the skills necessary to work in the offshore oil and gas industry, and the positive partnership we have established with industry to make this happen.

"The content of the witness statements are inconsistent with today's media coverage and it is very unfortunate that the community may have been misled into thinking the MUA has done something wrong.

"However, we stand by our actions one hundred per cent and an examination of the witness statements supports our view.

"The training of Australian workers for the offshore industry is important to ensure that the industry has the skills it needs, without having to bring in foreign workers.  

"The MUA will continue to fight for the right of Australians to work in their own country and we won't be intimidated by the Abbott Government or its politically motivated Royal Commission."

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