Workers’ Liberty supporter Bob Carnegie is again standing for the position of Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Queensland Branch Secretary in this year’s Quadrennial elections.
In what will hopefully be a case of “the early bird catches the worm”, Bob began his campaign on March 7, just one day after nominations had opened, by visiting job sites in the north of Queensland.
This is not Carnegie’s first crack at the Queensland Branch Secretary spot. In the last MUA Quadrennial elections of 2011, Bob was defeated by only two votes (504 to 506) by incumbent Mick Carr. As Carr is retiring this year, Carnegie will be vying for the position alongside current Queensland Deputy Secretary Trevor Munday and two other candidates.
This time round, Bob has teamed up with running mate and well respected unionist Paul Petersen. Paul was a “wharfie” (docker) and an outspoken delegate for ten years before being sacked by stevedoring company Patrick in 2009. He has stuck with the MUA and has retrained to become a seafarer.
Bob and Paul have already made numerous visits to job sites, held meetings in town halls and caught up with members after work in local pubs. Their itinerary has included visits to Gladstone (March 7 to 9), Brisbane (March 12 to 18), Mackay and Hay Point (March 25) and again in Brisbane (March 28 to 30). All of this is no mean feat. Queensland is three times the size of France. From north to south, the Queensland coast is over 2,000 km (1,250 miles) long, and has ports dotted up and down its length.
Their message on the need to turn the MUA Queensland Branch into a genuine rank and file organisation has struck a chord with members. Bob and Paul’s campaign policies include the need for elected officials to regularly visit job sites in Brisbane and other ports; the full and effective defence of any MUA delegate facing the sack; an unwavering battle against casualisation; fighting for a 30-hour week with no loss in pay in the stevedoring sector (which is facing massive job losses due to automation); and genuine union democracy, including the rotation of elected officials so that they serve no more than two four-year terms in the same position.
The union-run postal ballot begins on April 28 and closes on June 15. Results are to be declared before July 1.
UK speaker tour
Bob Carnegie, who has been at the heart of every major workers' struggle in Brisbane, Australia, for more than three decades, is coming to the UK to talk about his experiences and lessons for organising workers.
Bob will be speaking at the Fire Brigades Union conference in Blackpool on 13 May, in Bristol on 15 May, in London on 16 May and 21 May, in Liverpool on 18 May and at PCS union conference in Brighton on 20 May.
More information here.