/* Written 4:17 PM Sep 7, 1999 by apakabar@Radix.Net in igc:reg.indonesia */
/* ---------- "[INDONESIA-L] SMH - Protests Start" ---------- */
----- Forwarded message from apakabar@Radix.Net ----- From firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 17:13:24 -0600 (MDT) From: apakabar@Radix.Net Subject: [INDONESIA-L] SMH - Protests Start with Ships
By BRAD NORINGTON, Industrial Editor
Unions imposed bans on Indonesian shipping yesterday at the start of a protest campaign against the failure of the country's military to halt carnage in East Timor.
Leaders of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) pledged their "moral support" for the plight of the East Timorese by announcing bans on all ships in Australian waters found carrying Indonesian exports and imports.
Further industrial action - following a special meeting of the ACTU executive this morning - is expected to hit Indonesia's Embassy in Canberra and consulates in capital cities. Telecommunications, mail deliveries and garbage collection will be targeted.
Strike action is also being considered against Indonesian companies, notably Garuda Airlines. However, the Australian Services Union appeared reluctant to support a Garuda protest because employees in Sydney face being stood down without pay.
The MUA's assistant national secretary, Mr Paddy Crumlin, said his union had identified at least two vessels in the port of Brisbane, and one in Newcastle, that faced bans.
Mr Crumlin said the union was proceeding carefully because it wanted to target Indonesia, not unduly hurt local companies.
He said that the MUA had acted quickly because of its long affinity with the East Timorese fight for independence. The union believed it was time for Australia to exercise moral leadership.
Australian unions have also contacted their international counterparts, seeking industrial action from other countries to apply maximum pressure on Indonesia.
The ACTU president, Ms Jennie George, said the actions of the Federal Government so far were seriously inadequate, after it had taken Indonesia at its word that the East Timorese people would be protected.
The ACTU has joined churches and welfare groups in urging the Federal Government to support the immediate dispatch of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
The secretary of the NSW Labor Council, Mr Michael Costa, said today's ACTU meeting should endorse a union campaign against the Indonesian Government but not individual businesses.
"This shouldn't be a case of going through the phone book to find businesses with links to Indonesia - that just antagonises people," Mr Costa said.
Until yesterday, unions had not adopted a high profile in the general protest campaign against militia violence in East Timor but had lent strong organisational and funding support to activists.