Dockers' mate

February 13, 1998

Striking wharfies on one of Melbourne's docks were pleased and surprised last week to receive their first visit from a foreign union official - none other than David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, in town for a conference (page 13).

His lordship (we anticipate) went down to the wharves to let the workers know their struggle was being watched closely by unions in Britain. Triesman told them he carried expressions of support from the Trades Union Congress for their actions. The Maritime Union of Australia is opposing plans by the National Farmers Federation to establish a non-union site on the docks. He said the situation in Australia, where a conservative government has attacked the union movement and appears to back the NFF, bore a dreadful resemblance to Britain in the Thatcher era.

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