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Bluff waterfront scene of double industrial action

Bluff waterfront scene of double industrial action in next 48 hours

Bluff workers, local townspeople and supporters from as far north as Port Chalmers will be picketing the log boat 'Northern Light' from the early morning on Saturday 19 July at Southport in Bluff.

The 'Northern Light' is being worked by Mainland Stevedoring and their bussed in employees.

The Maritime Union says the heart of the issue is about decent wages, working conditions and a sustainable industry, all of which are being put under threat by rogue operators such as Mainland.

The Maritime Union picket comes at the same time as members of the other waterfront union the Rail & Maritime Union (RMTU) picket the waterfront in support of a pay rise for their casual members at Southport.

Members of both Unions are supporting each other pickets in what is an unprecedented double industrial action in New Zealand's southernmost port.

"Mainland thought they could introduce their divide and rule tactics in the Deep South, but weren't expecting the continued resistance to their methods," says Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson.

"The Maritime Union has resisted Mainland and resisted casualization in ports throughout the South Island and we welcome the opportunity to work with other port unions against casualization and eroding conditions."

Maritime Union Bluff Branch Secretary Ray Fife says local union members are defending local jobs and the local economy in a case of "Southern Solidarity."

Mr Fife says they will continue resisting out of town stevedores Mainland "as long as it takes" in order to defend local jobs and conditions.

"We don't like how Mainland treat workers, the way they do work and how they impact on local communities," says Mr Fife, who has worked on the Bluff waterfront for over twenty years.

"If Mainland become established here, we know what the effect will be on Bluff workers and the local economy, and we are not going to let that happen."

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