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‘With great profit comes great responsibility’: Unions grill Maersk over labour violations at Copenhagen AGM

ニュース 記者発表資料 28 Mar 2023

28 March 2023, Copenhagen

Trade unions representing employees of the world’s largest listed shipping company are in Copenhagen today to take their labour message direct to Maersk headquarters as the company records a record $29 billion profit.

Unions from as far afield as the Netherlands, the United States and Australia will give their review of the Maersk Group’s performance on key labour issues in the past 12 months across the company’s operations, including:

  • Nine Maersk workers and contractors were killed at work in 2022
  • Maersk’s tug division Svitzer attempting to cut workers’ pay by 47% in Australia
  • Svitzer is also undermining wages and conditions in Argentina via subcontracting
  • Maersk is breaking its own values by refusing to collectively bargain with unions
  • Maersk reduced use of the word ‘union’ from its Annual Report in 2023
  • Researchers recently found Maersk pays a much lower rate of tax than workers do

“By refusing to collectively bargain with unions, Maersk is breaking its own values which commits the company to upholding this important human and labour right,” said Jacqueline Smith, Maritime Coordinator for the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The ITF is a federation of transport workers’ unions representing Maersk employees and contractors who are seafarers, dockers, tug and towage, and logistics workers.

“We remain concerned that Maersk allows country managers like those running Svitzer Australia and Svitzer Argentina, to make a mockery of Maersk’s values. You can’t have one set of values for when you’re marketing a brand as progressive on labour and climate change in Europe, and another set of values for how you really treat your workers on the other side of the world. Customers, just like unions, expect consistency across the global business.”

The company’s annual general meeting is remote-only this year, with the explanation given that the $40 billion company was unable to organise an in-person meeting amidst its internal restructuring. As a consequence, unions are being invited by Maersk management to hand over their concerns in writing to the company, rather than speak to their labour statement, as happened in previous years.

ITF Maersk Network Coordinator Kulsoom Jafri said unions expected more consistency from AP Moller – Maersk, than could be seen in the last year from Maersk and its subsidiaries.

“Even though the company has shifted their AGM online this year and prevented shareholders, including unions with shares, from speaking to our concerns in the normal way, we have come to Copenhagen to deliver our message in person,” she said.

“Maersk needs to know that in good times and in bad, the voice of labour is constant. We will always be here to be a critical friend: holding them to account for their performance and conduct toward the working people who keep their supply chains moving,” said Smith.

Danes expect consistent rights approach

Karsten Kristensen, chair of the ITF’s Maersk Network of unions and Deputy Chairman of the Transport Group at Danish union 3F, said shareholders and the public in Maersk’s home country expected the flagship company to be sharing its success with its workforce and amongst the wider community.

“Today’s AGM reveals in black and white that Maersk Group made $29 billion US dollars profit in the past year. This is a tremendous amount money. That success needs to be a shared success, both with its workers and with society,” Kristensen said. 

ITF Maersk Network chair and Deputy Chairman of Transport Group at Danish union 3F, Karsten Kristensen. He says one death is too many, yet nine Maersk workers and subcontractors have died in 2022.

“With great profit comes great responsibility. These are the good times, when Maersk has no excuse but to live up to its values in every corner of the globe. In Denmark, and overseas.”

Kristensen’s comments are made in light of recent news that the company pays a far lower rate of tax than workers in many of the countries in which it operates, including Denmark. Research by tax transparency centre CICTAR found a worker earning an average income in Denmark pays 13 times the rate of tax paid by Maersk.

“For yet another year we are dismayed to hear from our Australian colleagues that Svitzer Australia’s management continue to be a law unto themselves, committing the most unacceptable attacks on collective bargaining – all in the name of ‘Maersk’.”

MUA Assistant National Secretary Jamie Newlyn has been in Copenhagen as part of the ITF Maersk Network. Maersk-owned Svitzer has concluded pay rises for employees in the United Kingdom, but further south the company is still attempting to terminate the collective workplace agreement that MUA and other tug workers rely on in Australia.

Maersk needs to listen to labour voice now more than ever

“How is that Svitzer, Maersk’s tug and towage division, can negotiate a fair pay rise of more than 10 percent with its workers in the United Kingdom, yet in Australia, they are trying to tear up the long-held collective agreement of its workforce altogether?” asked Kulsoom Jafri, ITF Maersk Network Coordinator and maritime lead campaigner.

“The consequence of doing so would be to push these workers, heroes of the pandemic, onto the bare legal minimums of the Award – doing away with their minimum crewing numbers and endangering lives.”

“With the future of the shipping sector uncertain; now more than ever, Maersk needs to be listening to the voice of labour when we raise concerns.”

“The company has bought billions in assets, acquiring companies in industries where its managers have much less knowledge than the workforce. We have come to Copenhagen this year, like every year, because the tens of thousands of Maersk employees speak for ourselves. And we demand consistency from AP Moller Maersk,” said Jafri. 

About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost-20 million women and men who move the world.

28. marts 2023, København

Fagforeninger, der repræsenterer ansatte i Mærsk, verdens største børsnoterede rederi, er i København i dag for at bringe klare budskaber direkte til Mærsks hovedkvarter i anledning af koncernens generalforsamling og virksomheden rekordstore overskud på 29 milliarder dollars.

Fagforeninger fra Holland, USA og Australien giver Mærsk en kritisk gennemgang af Mærsks præstationer på centrale arbejdsmarkedsspørgsmål gennem det seneste år på tværs af virksomhedens aktiviteter. Blandt andet:

  • 9 ansatte hos Mærsk og Mærsks underleverandører dræbt ved arbejdsulykker i 2022
  • Mærsks slæbebådsafdeling Svitzer forsøger at skære arbejdernes løn ned med 47 procent i Australien
  • Svitzer underminerer lønninger og vilkår i Argentina ved at bruge underleverandører.
  • Mærsk bryder sine egne værdier ved at nægte at forhandle kollektivt med fagforeninger
  • Forskere har afdækket, hvordan Mærsk betaler en meget lavere skat, end Mærsks ansatte gør

"Ved at nægte at forhandle kollektivt med fagforeninger bryder Mærsk sine egne værdier. Værdier som ellers forpligter virksomheden til at overholdevigtige menneskerettigheder og arbejdstagerrettigheder,” siger Jacqueline Smith , der er Maritim Koordinator for Internationalt Transportarbejder Forbund (ITF).

ITF er en sammenslutning af transportarbejderforbund, der repræsenterer Mærsk-ansatte og ansatte hos Mærsks underleverandører. Især søfarende, havnearbejdere, søfolk på slæbe- og bugseringsskibe samt logistikarbejdere.

"Vi er fortsat bekymrede over, at Mærsk tillader landechefer som dem, der driver Svitzer i Australien og Svitzer i Argentina, at drive gæk med og omgå Mærsks egne værdier. Man kan jo ikke have ét sæt værdier, når man markedsfører sit brand i Europa som progressivt på arbejdsmarkedet og i forhold til at stoppe klimaændringer og et andet sæt værdier på den anden side af kloden, i forhold til hvordan man i virkelighedens verden behandler sine ansatte Kunder forventer, ligesom fagforeninger og ansatte, at tingene hænger sammen på tværs af Mærsks globale forretning."

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ITF Maersk Network Coordinator Kulsoom Jafri said unions expected more consistency from AP Moller – Maersk, than could be seen in the last year from Maersk and its subsidiaries.

Mærsks årlige generalforsamling var kun online i år. Mærsk forklaring er, at virksomheden trods overskud på 40 milliarder dollar ikke er i stand til organisere en fysisk generalforsamling på grund af intern omstrukturering.

Derfor blev fagforeninger opfordret af Mærsk-ledelsen til at forklare deres bekymringer skriftligt til virksomheden i stedet for at tale på generalforsamlingen, som det er sket i tidligere år.

"Selvom Mærsk har flyttet deres generalforsamling online i år og derved forhindrer aktionærer, herunder fagforeninger med aktier, i at forklare om vores bekymringer på normal vis, er vi kommet til København for at levere vores budskab personligt," siger Jaqueline Smith.

“ Mærsk skal vide, at i gode tider og i dårlige tider er arbejdernes stemme konstant. Vi vil altid være her for at være en kritisk ven, der holder Mærsk til regnskab for koncernens præstationer og adfærd over for de mennesker, der med deres arbejdskraft holder Mærsks forsyningskæder i gang,” siger Jaqueline Smith.

Danskerne forventer en konsekvent rettighedstilgang

Karsten Kristensen, formand for ITF's Maersk-netværk af fagforeninger og næstformand for 3F Transport, supplerer og forklarer, at både aktionærer og offentligheden i Mærsks hjemland forventede, at virksomheden deler sin succes med både sin egen arbejdsstyrke og bredt ud i samfundet.

"Dagens generalforsamling afslører sort på hvidt, at Mærsk Group opnåede et overskud på 29 milliarder dollars i det seneste år. Det er et enormt beløb. Den succes skal være en fælles succes. Både for Mærsk, for Mærsks ansatte og for samfundet,” siger Karsten Kristensen.

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ITF Maersk Network chair and Deputy Chairman of Transport Group at Danish union 3F, Karsten Kristensen. He says one death is too many, yet nine workers and subcontractors have died in the employ of Maersk Group in the last year.

”Med stort overskud følger stort ansvar. Det er nu gode tider, hvor Mærsk ikke har nogen undskyldning for at leve op til sine egne værdier. I Danmark og i alle andre hjørner af kloden”, siger Karsten Kristensen.

Kommentaren kommer i kølvandet på de seneste nyheder om, at Mærsk betaler en langt lavere skat end arbejdere i mange af de lande, den opererer i, herunder Danmark. Forskning foretaget af skattegennemsigtighedscentret CICTAR viste , at en arbejder, der tjener en gennemsnitsindkomst i Danmark, forholdsvis betaler 13 gange mere i skat, end Mærsk betaler.

"I endnu år er vi endnu engang chokerede over, at vi må høre fra vores australske kolleger, at Svitzer Australiens ledelse fortsat laver regler for sig selv og der begår de mest uacceptable angreb på kollektive forhandlinger – alt sammen i "Mærsks" navn”, siger Karsten Kristensen.

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MUA Assistant National Secretary Jamie Newlyn has been in Copenhagen as part of the ITF Maersk Network. Maersk-owned Svitzer has concluded pay rises for employees in the United Kingdom, but further south the company is still attempting to terminate the collective workplace agreement that MUA and other tug workers rely on in Australia.

Mærsk skal lytte til de ansattes stemmer mere end nogensinde

"Hvordan kan det være, at Svitzer, Mærsks slæbe- og bugseringsafdeling, kan forhandle sig frem til en retfærdig lønstigning på mere end 10 procent med sine arbejdere i Storbritannien, imens man i Australien forsøger de at rive langvarige kollektive overenskomst i stykker for dets arbejdsstyrke,?” spurgte Kulsoom Jafri , ITF Maersk Network Koordinator og kampagneleder.

"Konsekvensen af at gøre det, er at man skubber disse arbejdere, pandemiens helte, ned på et absolut minimum af juridiske krav – herunder minimumsbesætninger ombord, der bringer liv i fare."

”Når fremtiden for shippingsektoren er usikker, har Mærsk nu mere end nogensinde brug for at lytte til de ansattes og deres fagforeningers stemmer, når vi rejser bekymringer. Mærsk har købt aktiver for milliarder, og Mærsk har opkøbt virksomheder i brancher, hvor dens ledere har meget mindre viden end de ansatte. Vi er som hvert år kommet til København i år, fordi de titusindvis af Mærsk-ansatte skal have en stemme. Og vi kræver handling og konsekvens fra Mærsk”, uddyber Kulsoom Jafri.


Internationalt Transportarbejder Forbund (ITF) er en demokratisk, medlemsstyret sammenslutning af transportarbejderforbund. ITF kæmper hårdt for at forbedre arbejdslivet og forbinder fagforeninger og arbejdernetværk fra 147 lande med det mål at sikre rettigheder, lighed og retfærdighed for transportarbejdere. Medlemsmæssigt repræsenterer ITF næsten 20 millioner kvinder og mænd, der som ansatte i transportbranchen flytter verden.


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