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Australian Waterfront Dispute of 1998: John Coombs and Chris Corrigan outside a 2UE radio station studio waiting to be interviewed

Date: 1998
Overall: 305 x 405 mm, 0.034 kg
Image: 240 x 325 mm
Display Dimensions: 305 x 405 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00003031
Place Manufactured:Port Botany

User Terms

    This photograph by Jeremy Piper was taken during the Maritime Union waterfront dispute at Port Botany in 1998. John Coombs (left), Maritime Union of Australia leader, and Chris Corrigan, Patrick Stevedore's General Manager, were forced to wait together for 10 minutes before separate radio interviews at 2UE. They did not acknowledge each other.
    SignificanceThis photograph illustrates the Maritime Union of Australia's (MUA) picket at Port Botany and is significant in documenting aspects of the 1997-98 maritime dispute.
    HistoryThe maritime dispute began in September 1997 with a failed attempt by US mining company Freeport McMoran to use non-union labour in the port of Cairns. It was followed by an aborted attempt in December 1997 to train a non-union, waterfront labour force in Dubai. That attempt was followed on 28 January 1998 by Patrick Stevedores leasing Webb Dock in Melbourne to the National Farmers Federation's P&C Stevedores to train non-union labour. On 7 April 1998 Patrick Stevedores dismissed all union members on its wharves and contracted P&C Stevedores to replace them. The Maritime Union of Australia picketed Patrick's wharves around Australia and sough injunctions against their dismissals. A series of court cases resulted in MUA members being reinstated. Redundancies and new work practices were then negotiated.

    The issues continued with dissatisfaction amongst Sydney wharfies with new work practices, moves by P&O to introduce similar work practices and a continuing view within the Commonwealth Government that the MUA are an obstacle to the changes it wants.

    Jeremy Piper worked on the picket at Port Botany for about five weeks from 9 April 1998. He was doing free-lance work for The Australian newspaper, working eight hour shifts. However, he developed a strong interest in the dispute and worked well beyond that time taking photographs for himself. Piper spent around 40 percent of his time working for the newspaper and 60 percent of his time as an individual on the picket line.
    Related People
    Photographer: Jeremy Piper

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