Hundreds of trade unions from across the world joined together on 20 September in protest against union-busting measures taken by renewable energy company Ørsted.
Having declared a global day of action in support of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) dock workers in New London, Connecticut, support from trade unionists from across the world was overwhelming. Here is a roundup of some of the protests. Let us know if your protest isn’t covered here.
ILA members from across the East Coast protested at the State Pier were joined by workers from other unions, coming from up and down the east coast to join the rally. One ILA Local 1411 branch member affected told the local press, “This is a worldwide issue, one that affects thousands of jobs,” he said. “This is about Ørsted and its partners not recognizing the jurisdiction of dock workers.”
There were also protests at the ports in Baltimore, Great Lakes, at the Danish Consulate in Los Angeles, in Texas, at Vestas in Portland and at the Ørsted office in Boston where the message was, ‘Ørsted keep your word, ILA will be heard’. ILA members were supported by members from unions including ILWU, MMP and MEBA.
There were rallies on both the east and west coasts of Canada where the ILWU Canada rallied in ports in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The day of action started off with transport union members from the Maritime Union of New Zealand sending the message of support: ‘MUNZ members are standing with our brothers and sisters in the ILA!’.
Members from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) stood in solidarity with US maritime unions, sending a clear the message, ‘Ørsted need to hear this message throughout today’s global day of action; companies which want to develop clean, sustainable energy around our coast must also engage with their workforce ethically and respectfully.’ Members of the MUA Sydney branch sent the message ‘your fight is our fight, and we are with you all the way.’ The MUA South Australian branch also said, ‘dock work should be performed by appropriately skilled and trained dockworkers’. The MUA Western Australian Branch, said they, ‘stand in unwavering solidarity with the ILA in their struggle for waterfront jurisdiction against Orsted.’
As Denmark is home to Ørsted (which is majority-owned by the Danish government) Danish dockers union 3F were out in force to protest. In Esbjerg the protestors sent a clear message that Ørsted should operate within its own code of conduct.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin addressed a rally of Ver.di trade unionists and leaders from ITF maritime unions gathered in Berlin to send a message to Ørsted from 20 million workers worldwide: ‘There is only one future in transitional energy, and that is respect. Respect for the workers. Respect for the communities. Respect for everybody that is creating a better, and cleaner, and more sustainable world. You have a responsibility.’
ACV Transcom Maritime Aviation members were protesting in Ostend at Vestas headquarters. A local Vestas manager came out and allowed protestors to explain the reason for the world wide day of action. They were told their message would be communicated to headquarters.
Both Marc Loridan, Federal Secretary of BTB Ports, and Monique Verbeeck signed the open letter and sent a letter to Ørsted’s Head of Sustainability Rasmus Nikolaj Due Skov to protest against the union busting activities of the company.
Dockers from Unite the Union were supported by comrades from the RMT at a protest outside the Ørsted’s London headquarters, where they handed in the letter to a representative of the company. Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary said in a message of support: ‘Ørsted’s engagement with trade unions in the USA, UK, Germany and elsewhere borders on dishonest. This culture of union busting has to end through a stable culture of sectoral collective bargaining rights, at Ørsted in Connecticut and across the global offshore wind industry. Offshore wind farms must be progressive from a worker as well as environmental perspective and RMT stand in support of the ILA and every other trade union member around the world in struggle at Ørsted.’
The message of the day was clear - there can be no climate justice without worker justice