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Workers Protest At Port Of Napier

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday 15 December 2007

Over 100 workers have gathered outside the gates of the Port of Napier today to protest the loss of secure jobs this morning from 6am.

Mediation between the Maritime Union and Port Company will take place this morning.

Moves by the Port of Napier to contract out stevedoring work threaten 25 permanent and 60 casual jobs, with workers to be thrown on the scrap heap just before Christmas.

65 maritime workers have arrived in Napier from other ports and ships to support their fellow workers, all members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

A further delegation of six Australian maritime workers have flown in from Australia in a solidarity action by the Maritime Union of Australia.

Local Labour list MP Russell Fairbrother has joined the workers at their protest in support of local jobs.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the actions of the Port of Napier management are aimed at creating an insecure and divided workforce, resulting in a plunge in safety, professional standards, wages and conditions.

"This dispute is a national and an international dispute, because what the Port Company is trying to do in Napier threatens maritime workers everywhere."

The actions of the Maritime Union have the support of the other waterfront union, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, as well as the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

Mr Hanson says the Port of Napier risks being identified as a "port of convenience" by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), which could have major implications for its viability.


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