That’s from Rosalind Muir from the Rail and Maritime Union of New Zealand (RMTU) at the closing of the Maritime Roundtable, an ITF activist event that’s been taking place in Montreal, Canada this week.
One hundred and thirty seafarers and dockers from more than 50 countries around the world have been brought together to focus on campaigning and organising skills and to improve their understanding of key maritime campaigns like Flags of Convenience.
Viktoriia Kuzmina from the Dockers’ Union of Russia said: “I’m taking away from this 100 new friends, all of whom have different experiences, speak different languages, but who all have a common goal - to defend workers’ rights.”
Participants said they found the week inspiring and empowering, but there was recognition of the need to translate the new skills and education into something practical for their unions at home. Harv Grewal from the ILWU in Canada summed it up: “This has been a brilliant experience and we’ve learnt a lot. But we have a big responsibility now, to take this back and make action happen.”
Participants took part in a rally on Wednesday in support of event host union Seafarers’ Union of Canada which is currently fighting CETA, a trade agreement that would open up the countries maritime industry to foreign operators. See more on the rally >>
Videos, pictures and reports from the week shared on social media have reached more than 20,000 people so far. Take a look by searching #MRT2016 on Facebook and twitter.