News | Sunday, 30 May 2010

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Muscat meets Maltese port-workers in Melbourne

Labour leader Joseph Muscat was yesterday in the port of Melbourne, in Australia, where he met former Maltese port-workers who were employed there.
The meeting was organised by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The party said the encounter was a “sign of respect” to the contribution of Maltese and Gozitans towards the port and the development of industrial relations.
Around 15% of the workers in the Melbourne port are believed to be of Maltese origin.
The MUA invited its former president Jim Beggs to address Muscat’s visit. Beggs was reported as saying that in his time, half of the workforce at the port had been Maltese, and that this had led him to visit Malta and understand the origins of these workers.
Beggs added that Maltese workers were hard-working and at the forefront of the trade union movement.
Beggs is currently writing a book which features an entire chapter on the Maltese port-workers of Melbourne.
The MUA also had Maltese offcials, such as Joe Sacco, who was also present for Muscat’s visit. Throughout his meetings, Muscat and the Labour delegation met Paul Howes, the secretary-general of the Australian Workers Union. The PL said that the delegation discussed the situation on workers’ rights in Australia.
The AWU was also led by Terry Muscat, another Maltese immigrant which the PL said was considered to be “one of the most respected trade-unionists of all time in Australia.”

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