Dock workers at every port across Australia will stop work for one hour on Wednesday to remember a colleague crushed to death on the job.
Nick Fanos (foto), a 49-year-old father of two, died on March 28 while loading containers onto a ship at Port Botany in Sydney.
He was crushed between two containers – the second Australian stevedoring death in less than two months.
To honour Mr Fanos, branches of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) will hold stop-work meetings between 10am and 11am AEST on Wednesday to move a resolution calling on the federal government to start a national stevedoring safety taskforce.
The stop-work meeting will coincide with his funeral at St Stephanos Greek Orthodox Church at Hurlstone Park, in Sydney, which four busloads of workers from Port Botany will attend.
Mr Fanos’ nephew Spiro Tzouganatos, a barrister, wrote to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday calling on the government to establish national safety standards on wharves.
‘In a modern workplace, the incident that killed my uncle should not happen,’ the letter said.
‘There should be a code of practice and mechanisms in place that make this horrific situation practically impossible.’
A spokesman for Mr Rudd said the prime minister would respond to the letter privately and not through the media.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the death of another dock worker, Brad Gray, in Brisbane in February showed there were serious occupational health and safety standards on wharves.
Since 2003, six stevedoring workers have died on Australian wharves.
‘The latest tragedy shows that deregulated performance-based arrangements are clearly not working,’ Mr Crumlin said in a statement.
The union wants Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to meet with major stevedoring companies to establish a national safety taskforce.
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