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Logs Dispute A Swamp Of Luddite Emotion

Employers may have to resort to court injunctions if the waterside workers' union does not accept it is in the wrong and stops unlawfully picketing, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"Employers are appalled that a company going about its legal business can be subjected to intimidation aimed at forcing it to deal with a third party with whom it has no contract or employment relationship," said Peter Tritt, EMA's Manager of Employment Relations.

"The employers involved have not acted illegally or without justification. Mediator Walter Grills found all the waterfront workers union claims were rubbish.

"Giving way to the union's demands, or even adopting the mediator's recommendations report, would drag the new Employment Relations Act into disrepute.

"The situation points to employers having to seek injunctions to stop a union unlawfully interfering with their business.

"The sorry episode in Nelson casts a strange light on New Zealand's future. It is a serious attack on the rule of law, and delivers a major setback to New Zealand's ability to deploy the new technology needed to restore better living standards.

"Mainland's locally developed technology is at the core of the fiasco. Its log imaging software allows ships to maximise their available hold space. This new technology gave the company the competitive edge that won it the CHH logs loading contracts.

"Legal rights and responsibilities, and technical innovation are being overwhelmed in a swamp of Luddite emotion and spurious claims."

Further comments: Peter Tritt tel 09 367 0921

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