SEA CHANGE FOR MUA WITH STATE BRANCH ELECTION UPSETS
The Maritime Union of Australia has had two upset results in its state branch elections, with revolutionary socialist Bob Carnegie taking the Qld top spot and long-term incumbent Vic branch secretary Kevin Bracken being overthrown by a “ticket for change” group.
‘PROUD SOCIALIST’ CARNEGIE RECALLS ‘LOST’ MILITANT TRADITION
In Qld, long-time union activist Carnegie defeated three other candidates for the branch secretary role, including deputy secretary Trevor Munday, after incumbent Mark Carr decided not to run. Munday has been in the position for 15 years.
Carnegie had lost the branch secretary vote in 2011 by two votes.
He told Workforce Daily his victory was “certainly” a surprise to the union hierarchy but wouldn’t have been a surprise to workers on the ground, where he was understood to be a popular candidate.
He said he ran his campaign “pretty light on the ground with finances”. “I won on the strength of my reputation,” he said.
The long-time activist is known for a lifetime of defending the rights of injured workers as well as union members. In 2012, he helped hold together a 63-day dispute of 600 construction workers at Qld Children’s Hospital in Brisbane (WF 22/8/13).
Carnegie told Workforce he came from a “lost time of union working class militancy”.
“I come from a very solid revolutionary socialist background which I’m very proud of. I’ve very proud of the fact that I believe society should be based on human need not human greed.”
“That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be an outbreak of class war immediately on the Australian waterfront or anywhere else,” he said.
However, he wanted workers to feel that “their union is them, not something foreign but something that they can feel is part of their everyday life”.
He insisted he was not the “product of the ALP” but said the branch’s affiliation with the ALP Left would continue and that he had a “very pragmatic” approach in dealing with the party. He said would not exceed two four-year terms to avoid “careerism” and support “rotational leadership”.
Carnegie said issues for the union including fighting outsourcing and casualisation in the industry as well as battling to have 100% Australian crews on Rio Tinto ships transporting bauxite to Gladstone. He said currently the company required only 54%.
Source: WorkForce Express.