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Auckland stopwork meetings

Friday 7 May 2004

Seafarers and wharfies hold Auckland stopwork meetings for national maritime campaign

The Maritime Union is holding two stopwork meetings for its two Auckland branches as part of a national campaign for secure jobs.

Auckland Branch Local 13 (representing waterfront workers) will hold a stopwork meeting at 7.30am, Monday 10 May, at the Maritime Club, 68 Anzac Avenue, Central Auckland.

Auckland Seafarers Branch will hold a stopwork meeting from 8.30am, Monday 10 May, at the Seafarers Centre, 114 Quay Street, Central Auckland.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson and National Vice President Joe Fleetwood are speaking to members at both meetings.

>From noon, seafarers and wharfies will be heading to the bottom of Queen Street and the downtown shopping area to hand out publicity material and gain signatures in support of changes to maritime and employment laws.

Mr Hanson says the New Zealand economy depends on a vibrant maritime industry, but the industry was currently being torn apart by casualization and insecure jobs.

"Just as an example, in the last few days, we have heard reports of how maritime employers are going to import cheap labour to work not just on fishing boats, but in processing plants on the waterfront ­ where does this leave New Zealand workers, wages and conditions?"

Mr Hanson says vulnerable workers are suffering from the effects of casualization and contracting out, but the maritime industry was being hit particularly hard.

"The basic goal of our campaign is to ensure that New Zealand has a permanent, skilled and secure maritime workforce, through sensible regulation of the waterfront and a cabotage system that gives priority to New Zealand ships in the coastal trade."

Mr Hanson says New Zealand¹s biosecurity, reputation with trading partners, and the safety of ports are all under threat from the failed free market policies that are making New Zealand ports work against each other rather than with each other.

ENDS

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