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Strike for permanent jobs "just the beginning"

Thursday 26 August 2004

Maritime Union says strike for permanent and secure jobs "just the beginning"

The Maritime Union has swung its national support behind its Auckland Waterfront Branch in their dispute with Ports of Auckland on the status of part-time and casual workers.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says that the fight for secure and permanent jobs remains the number one priority for the Union.

"Casualization has worked like a cancer spreading though our industry, and we can no longer stand by and watch secure jobs be replaced by the insecurity of casual jobs. The Auckland strike is just the beginning and has the complete and unconditional backing of maritime workers throughout New Zealand."

Mr Hanson says that some waterfront workers in New Zealand have spent over ten years as casual workers in the same port, a situation that he describes as obscene and economically regressive in a nation with growing maritime trade.

"The Maritime Union will increase the pressure through industrial means on any employer who treats its workers as a disposable commodity rather than as human beings."

Maritime Union Auckland Waterfront Branch President Denis Carlisle says the branch issued a 14-day strike notice on Wednesday 25 August after the Ports of Auckland refused to back a fair and open process for moving casual staff into secure, permanent positions.

"Unless the Port gets its act together, we have 260 members ready to
shut down the wharves for four days starting 7am, Wednesday 8 September," says Mr Carlisle.

He says the Union simply wants to ensure all workers can move through an agreed process into secure, permanent jobs as permanent workers retire and trade grows.

"Casualization is wrecking the lives of workers. There is no ability to plan your financial future, your family time or even have a personal life when you are on call and have no secure hours of work," says Mr Carlisle.

Mr Hanson says successive Government¹s and their agencies had been aware of casualization problems on the waterfront since 1991 and despite efforts by the Union to work through the problems with Government and employers, the situation had only worsened and industrial action had become inevitable.

ENDS

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