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Company threatened by the Waterfront Workers Union

Media statement 14 November 2000
For immediate release

Company delivering benefits to South Island ports threatened
by the Waterfront Workers Union

A South Island company bringing increased competition and better services to South Island ports has received threats from the New Zealand Waterfront Workers Union.

Mainland Stevedoring will shortly begin loading logs onto a log carrier, first in Bluff and later, Port Chalmers and is actively recruiting local staff. The company will also operate in the ports at Nelson, Picton and Timaru in response to its customers’ needs.

Mainland’s Stevedoring Manager, Jim McDougall, said today the company was keen to employ local people but it would take time to train them in the company’s operating and safety procedures. Until that was done, the workforce in the South Island ports would be supplemented by the North Island operations.

“As soon as we have completed recruitment and training, all our staff will be local. Staff receive market rates of pay, or better, and they are union members, legitimately choosing to belong to the Amalgamated Stevedores Union, rather than the Waterfront Workers Union. The Amalgamated Stevedores Union is registered under the Employment Relations Act 2000,” Mr McDougall said.

“Our parent company, a New Zealand family-owned business, has invested heavily in world-class IT vessel management systems. The sophisticated software, developed in-house, tracks cargo from dockside to destination. But, more than that, it optimises cargo space by showing how cargo should be stowed. This maximises accuracy, reduces costs and enhances safety because there is no need to move cargo around unnecessarily.
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“Regrettably, the Waterfront Workers Union is threatening to stop us from working, even though it has no lawful right to do so. We believe the waterfront is no different from any other aspect of New Zealand business life and must be subject to competition.

“If the Waterfront Workers Union succeeds in preventing us from carrying out our legitimate business, monopolies will prevail and New Zealand will be the poorer for it.

“Exporters and importers will be denied the right to choose who loads and unloads their ships, and there will be little or no incentive for businesses like ours to invest in technology and new job creation.”

Mainland Stevedoring is one of very few New Zealand owned and operated stevedoring companies. Most of the others are foreign owned. Like its parent company, its focus is on creating jobs for highly skilled, well paid staff, by investing in the latest technology to maximise benefits to customers and, ultimately, the local communities in which it operates.

“We are professionals who pride ourselves on doing a good job and we have a long term commitment to the region. We know we can use our innovative systems to make the loading of ships more efficient in this region,” Mr McDougall said.


Issued on behalf of Mainland Stevedoring Limited by Busby Ramshaw Grice.
For further information please contact:

Anita Busby
Telephone: 0-4-472 8993 (business)

Kevin Ramshaw
Telephone: 0-4-472 8993 (business)

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