If Svitzer Australia proceeds with its planned lockout tomorrow, it will cripple Australia’s supply chain and wreak havoc on the country’s economy.

The media would have you believe that it’s all the fault of a bunch of greedy, good-for-nothing tugboat workers.

What they won’t tell you is that Svitzer has launched similar attacks on its tugboat operators in the UK and the Netherlands.

It has done so at the behest of its parent company, multi-billion dollar shipping conglomerate AP Moller Maersk, headquartered in Copenhagen.

Every year, Svitzer ‘Australia’ pays little to no tax in Australia, funnelling its hundreds of millions of dollars in profits back to the parent company Maersk in Denmark.

The company is happy, however, to pocket generous funding provided courtesy of the Australian taxpayer for the towage services it provides at every mainland port in the country.

At the very least, the government should demand the return of this money if the lockdown goes ahead tomorrow as planned.

Australian tugboat workers are being forced by Svitzer (Maersk) into accepting a massive cut in real wages, despite two years of no pay increases at all.

The company also wants changes to their working conditions which will diminish safety standards, including reduced manning levels and greater use of casual labour.

All this amidst soaring inflation and massive corporate profits by the global monopoly shipping carriers.

Maersk has profited greatly from the chaos in shipping during the pandemic.

Last year the company posted a record-high of $US16.6 billion, an increase of nearly 68 percent over the same quarter the previous year.

Despite this, Maersk has hiked its own freight rates, smashing freight forwarders, importers/exporters, retailers, farmers and other SMEs.  At one point, freight rates were increased 200-300 percent on some routes.

A Florida based furniture importer, recently filed a case against Maersk with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in Washington DC.

“Maersk has fleeced the world economy during the pandemic without qualm or remorse to reap its historically-record profits, while consumers, shippers, and the world suffer from 40-year-high inflation driven in large part by the ocean carriers’ pricing tactics,” the OJC filing stated, adding:

“In blunter language, Maersk price gouged, as it took full advantage of the global crisis to extort as much money as it possibly could from shippers. This can be achieved because a small cartel of carriers – organized into three cozy alliances – rule the oceans. Their dominance is anchored in large part on federal antitrust immunity granted by the Shipping Act.”

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