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Waterfront Dispute Is Potentially More Serious

Waterfront Dispute Is Potentially More Serious Than Vet Strike

Friday 16th Feb 2001 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Economy

“The breakdown in the mediation talks is both alarming and predictable,” said ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble.

“The Waterfront Workers’ Union have never been interested in mediation. Their claim in law is without merit,” Hon Richard Prebble said.

“Mainland Stevedores are entitled to work log exports at Nelson and employ any New Zealander they choose.

“This dispute is not about local jobs for local people or casualisation. It is an old-fashioned demarcation dispute.

“Mainland Stevedores staff are well paid, skilled and many are local.

“The Waterfront Workers’ Union’s real agenda is to establish a single union monopoly on every wharf in the country. If the union succeeds, the cost to the country will be many times the vet strike. The country can not afford to go back to the days when wharfies got paid more than doctors and worked an 11 hour week.

“The Waterfront Workers’ Union’s objective is to disrupt the port so that the Labour-Alliance Government regulates the port again, giving them a monopoly.

“The Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson has been actively assisting the union. Her statement in parliament that she would call a conference over the dispute if mediation fails was exactly what the union wanted.

“This dispute is the direct result of Wilson’s Employment Relations Act. Opposition MPs warned the minister that the vets would be first to strike and a demarcation dispute in the wharves would be second,” Hon Richard Prebble said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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