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Critical threat to waterfront industry from ERB

Media release

NZ Stevedoring Employers Association

28 May 2000

Critical threat to waterfront industry from new labour law

The waterfront industry faces a critical threat from the new employment law, according to the NZ Stevedoring Employers' Association.

The Association, representing New Zealand's 25 port and stevedoring companies, says ports will again become a prime target for strike action if the Employment Relations Bill is passed in its present form.

Association Chairman Stuart Hughes says waterfront unions will be able to hold ports - and the country - to ransom if the Employment Relations Bill is not significantly changed.

"Ninety eight per cent of New Zealand's exports pass across our ports. Past history with waterfront unions shows they 'come in behind' strikes in other sectors, and prevent products from leaving the country," Mr Hughes said.

"That mindset has clearly not changed, as shown by the recent threat by Trevor Hanson, General Secretary of the Waterfront Workers Union, to support industrial action at Progressive Meats by preventing product from leaving the wharves."

The Association says the following must be done to prevent widespread economic damage to the economy resulting from waterfront strikes:

* Do not give unions ('registered unions') monopoly rights

* Allow employers to replace striking workers

* Make the following forms of strike action unlawful: strikes in support of multi-employer agreements, secondary strikes, strikes over government policy, strikes over work coverage and demarcation

The Association presents its submission on the Employment Relations Bill to the select committee in Auckland tomorrow morning.

NZ Stevedoring Employers' Association submission to select committee When: 10.10 am Mon 29 May Where: Centra Auckland Airport Hotel Contact: Stuart Hughes ph 025305084 Jon Baxter ph 09 3660055

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