Back in the gate: 10 years on! MUA here to stay family fun day

The Sydney Branch of the MUA invites all it’s CEPU friends and comrades and their families who assisted on the picket lines to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the return to work of Patrick workers with a free family carnival day with rides, activities, live music and food.

Branch Secretary Jim Metcher with then Branch Official, Ed Husic, standing in support with the MUA during the 1998 waterfront dispute

It is hard to believe that 10 years has passed since the Howard Government, Patrick owner Chris Corrigan and others engaged in their criminal conspiracy against the MUA to shed the Australian waterfront of Unionised labour.

On April 7 1998, hundreds of guards and dogs stormed the wharves under cover of darkness as Patrick boss Chris Corrigan sacked his entire workforce of 2000 men and women nationwide with the aid of balaclava wearing goons and savage attack dogs. The Australian industrial relations landscape would never be the same again. This vicious attack on wharfies was undertaken with the complete support of the then Howard Government.

What followed was a monstrous battle to stop this criminal injustice perpetrated solely because the 2000 sacked wharfies were members of a Union. The reactionary attempts to eradicate waterfront Unionism failed because the Australian people rejected such inappropriate tactics that were fundamentally at odds with the aspirations of the Australian people who treasure the concept of a “fair go”.

In May 1998 Patrick wharfies across the country walked back in the gate to the jobs that were rightfully theirs. The criminal conspiracy was defeated by the MUA with the aid of massive community support and international solidarity efforts, and after 10 long years we can finally say that Howard is gone but the MUA is Here to Stay! Chants of “MUA Here to Stay” could be heard at every port in the country and the slogan “MUA Here to Stay” has become synonymous with the victory against Howard and Corrigan.

10 years after the event, workers on the waterfront and those in the progressive community still remember those fateful days. The victory against Patrick was a victory for all working people and it still to this day resonates amongst so many thousands of people who rejected such vicious tactics from the employer and Government. Some families were brought closer together by the dispute. Many were torn apart. Many of the children that sat on the pickets with their mums and dads are now adults themselves and the experiences and outlooks of that time formed the views of a generation of Australians.

CEPU members are invited to share a special day of celebration of the struggle and ultimate victory against the 1998 Patrick Conspiracy. Details are below:

Where Brett Park, Day Street Five Dock (Off Victoria Road)
When Saturday 31 May 2008
Time 11am – 4pm
Cost Free
For more info Amber McGowan 02 9265 8438

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