ITF report instigates call for investigation into awarding of ICTSI contract in Australia

A new report launched today by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has prompted calls for both the Federal and Victorian governments to commence an immediate inquiry into the contract won by International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) to operate the Webb Dock terminal at the Port of Melbourne.

ITF President and Chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section Paddy Crumlin said that the launch of the new report ICTSI Exposed raises critical questions which must be investigated into the governance, due diligence and disclosures during the tender process that led to the awarding of the contract to ICTSI.

The report was launched at Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra by ALP Senator Glenn Sterle (Chair of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee and Deputy Chair of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee), ITF President Paddy Crumlin, Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union National Secretary Michael O’Connor and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’Neil.

ICTSI Exposed details how ICTSI has built its business by exploiting workers in port after port, reinforcing a business model of deliberately prioritising countries where human and labour rights are most at vulnerable and by partnering with some of the worst anti-democratic regimes implicated in crimes against humanity," said Crumlin

Leaders of Australia’s labour movement, have called on both levels of Government to act and investigate how a company with this reputation, and this history, was awarded a contract to operate such a critical infrastructure asset in Australia.

The ITF report documents how ICTSI profits from partnerships with dictators implicated in crimes against humanity including Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We’re talking about a company unafraid to partner with corrupt and sanctioned regimes implicated in war crimes and genocide. Regimes that have subjected thousands of civilians to acts of murder, rape and torture. Regimes that attack the basis of our own union principles, the right free speech and protest without fear or oppression,” added Crumlin.

“We know that ICTSI was dealing with the Government of Sudan while subject to United Nations and United States sanctions, and that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir had active criminal changes laid against him by the International Criminal Court throughout the tender process and when the contract was awarded.”

“This raises serious questions about the due diligence process and what consideration was given to ICTSI’s relationships with despotic regimes and subsequent threats to security standards on the Australian waterfront.”

The report also uncovers how ICTSI’s business model exploits workers and opportunistically price gouges some of the poorest communities in the world.

“ICTSI’s appalling international record shows a complete disregard for workers’ dignity, safety and fundamental labour and human rights all over the world. ICTSI exploits, overworks, harasses and intimidates its workforce, prioritising profit over workers’ safety and fundamental rights,” said Crumlin.

“From day one ICTSI imported its aggressive anti-worker business model that they have run out all over the world into Australia, undercutting local wages and conditions, attacking and sacking labour activists and deceiving workers by failing to deliver on promised pay increases and permanency.”

Today, the ITF is asking the Australian public to join Australia unions in demanding an investigation to determine:

  • How a company with the international reputation that ICTSI holds was ever eligible, or even short-listed, win a tender to operate critical port infrastructure in Australia?
  • What consideration was given to ICTSI’s dealings with anti-democratic and international sanctioned regimes, like the Al-Bashir regime in Sudan in the due diligence process?
  • Was the Sudan deal disclosed to the Victorian Government as part of the tender process?
  • Did the Victorian Government consult with relevant Commonwealth security agencies considering the relationship between ICTSI and the Government of Sudan?
  • How did ICTSI satisfy “community benchmarks” given its appalling international reputation when it was awarded the tender to operate the VICT terminal at Webb Dock in Melbourne?

For more information contact
Luke Menzies, International Transport Workers’ Federation
menzies_luke@itf.org.uk
+61 (0) 433 889 844