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Bluff workers say we will defend our livelihood

Media Release
MONDAY 22 September 2003

Bluff workers say we will defend our livelihood and our community against attacks

Bluff waterfront workers say their Sunday 21 September dawn picket of Mainland Stevedores was a success for New Zealand workers.

Maritime Union Bluff Branch Secretary Ray Fife says Bluff workers will not let their livelihoods be ruined by a company trying to drag the industry a hundred years backwards.

"Casualization is destroying New Zealand jobs, families and communities, and Bluff is not going to standby and watch it happen here."

Mr Fife dismissed claims that union members had damaged a van at the picket.

"Our members are responsible, family people who are interested in secure work, decent conditions and the long term future of our port, not vandalism."

Mr Fife says Mainland¹s claim it was employing local workers at Bluff was another sham.

"I¹ve been working here for over twenty years and I don¹t recognize any of them."

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says Mainland¹s claim of providing Œfreedom of choice¹ was a "smokescreen for their divide and rule plan for workers."

"Most New Zealanders will be able to translate Œfreedom of choice¹ into what it really means in plain English ­ freedom of choice for the boss to rip off workers, stuff up their community, and walk away from the wreckage with a big bag of cash."

Mr Hanson says "the real thugs are the people trying to casualize our workforce."

"Casualization means not knowing when or if you are working, living on the end of a phone, working unsafe hours, having family life ruined and having no ability to financially plan your life ­ this is a line in the sand issue for us."


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