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Mainland left with no option but to load carrier

Media statement 20 November 2000
For immediate release

Attention News Editor


Mainland left with no option but to load log carrier

Delaying tactics by Bluff members of the Waterfront Workers Union left Mainland Stevedoring Limited with no alternative but to load the log carrier Eastern Forest using stevedores from the Amalgamated Stevedores Union, the company said today.

Mainland Director Greg Dickson, said the company had spent many hours talking to national and local representatives of the Waterfront Workers Union in an attempt to overcome the Bluff workers’ opposition to any other stevedoring company doing the work.

“It’s been extremely frustrating,” he said. “We’ve been accused of being
unreasonable at the same time that we’ve sat down and offered a long-term arrangement which would provide the union with continuity of work.

“The Eastern Forest has been lying at anchor since Friday. In the business of shipping that’s long enough to test the patience of a customer. We would have liked to continue to negotiate and we are grateful for the assistance of Invercargill MP Mark Peck and Mayor Tim Shadbolt in attempting to facilitate agreement.

“However, for this shipment, we had no alternative but to go ahead and use workers from the Amalgamated Stevedores Union to do the work. This shouldn’t preclude talks continuing because we intend to secure more work. To that extent, the issue isn’t going to disappear.

“At the end of the day, we find ourselves asking the simple question, is it unreasonable for an exporter to employ the stevedore of its choice to load a ship? If you believe the Bluff representatives of the Waterfront Workers Union, the answer is yes.”


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Mr Dickson said Mainland had offered concessions to achieve a long-term arrangement for Mainland’s involvement at Bluff and Port Chalmers. The main points were:
 Mainland would operate a small team of local workers.

 The company would engage permanent labour on a cross-hire basis from the existing stevedoring workforce, subject to agreement on terms.

 All workers would be subject to Mainland’s terms and conditions of work and the company’s safety procedures negotiated with the Amalgamated Stevedores Union.

“This offer would have provided continuity of work for the Waterfront Workers in both ports. The Waterfront Workers in Bluff have privately indicated they don’t like the offer while publicly maintaining they’re not being given time to consult with their members.”

Mr Dickson said the union had indicated it wanted absolute first right to load the ships Mainland had been engaged to load. It had also refused to accept the terms and conditions of employment Mainland had negotiated with the Amalgamated Stevedores Union.

“Of great concern to us is their rejection of our use of radio controlled loading procedures in preference for their own, outdated hand-signalling techniques which greatly increase the risk of injury.”

Mainland Stevedoring is a subsidiary of International Stevedoring Operations, a family-owned New Zealand company based in Tauranga. The company has invested heavily in world-class IT vessel management systems. It uses sophisticated software to load ships and track cargo from dockside to destination.

“Our planning systems can only add value to southern ports and communities,” Mr Dickson said.

Ends

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

Greg Dickson Kevin Ramshaw
International Stevedoring Operations Busby Ramshaw Grice
021 917 002 025 507 420


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