Egyptian coal carrier docked at Port Kembla
The industrial dispute aboard an Egyptian coal carrier docked in Port Kembla has increased in the wake of striking crew members blamed shipping company officials of making threatening calls to family members back home.
The coal carrier has been docked off Wollongong when 11 crew refused to continue sailing with the company, Egyptian-owned and have takenstrike action after they were deprived of food and drink for 12 hours a day at sea as reported by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
The Illawarra Mercury reports that they told Australian International Transport Workers' Federation representatives their wages had been halved and they had been prohibited from accessing food and water between 7pm and 7am daily.
Four of the men took the company up on its offer of an immediate flight back home.But seven of the men have remained and are refusing to leave until they get their wages.
Maritime Union of Australia branch secretary Gary Keane has been in contact with the men and said they were sceptical of a recent promise by the company to have their owed wages paid either today, tomorrow or the next day.
"These guys quite literally have no money in their pockets," Mr Keane said.
An Australian Immigration Department spokesman said the sailors "remained on valid maritime crew visas".
According to Illawarra Mercury, Mr Keane said workers for the company had been involved in a similar industrial dispute earlier this year in Gladstone, and called on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to do more to make sure companies followed the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention.An AMSA spokeswoman said the department was "working with the International Transport Workers' Federation and the ship's master and agent in relation to this issue".
Image Source: Illawarra Mercury
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