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Port of Napier management "feeling the heat"

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday 16 December 2007

Port of Napier management "feeling the heat"

The Maritime Union says Port of Napier management are feeling the heat after workers were threatened by trespass notices this morning.

A round the clock picket has been running since 6am Saturday at the gates of the Port of Napier.

Around 120 workers have been at the protest for secure local jobs, including delegations from around New Zealand ports and a delegation of six from the Maritime Union of Australia.

The workers have been threatened with trespass notices by Port of Napier and Ontrack, who own land on the Napier waterfront.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says management are trying to shut down democratic debate because they are afraid of public opinion.

He says it is disgraceful that two public owned enterprises, the Hawkes' Bay Regional Council-owned Port of Napier and the State-owned enterprise Ontrack, are trying to remove the public who own them from a peaceful and democratic picket.

"Who are these managers serving? The workers here make up the community who owns these assets, and it is about time these public owned companies started acting as socially responsible organizations."

Mr Hanson says there have been no arrests on the picket and the only dangerous incident occurred when a vehicle carrying non-union workers refused to stop for a police officer on Saturday morning.

"The port company don't want to be publicly reminded that their actions will directly lead to job losses with local workers right over the Christmas period. They're not going to shut us up and workers will continue to defend their right to secure jobs."

Mr Hanson says the picket has received good support from the Hawkes' Bay community and will continue over the next several days.

Mediation between the Maritime Union and Port Company will carry on next week.

Moves by the Port of Napier to contract out stevedoring work threaten 25 permanent and 60 casual jobs at Hawkes' Bay Stevedoring Services.


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