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Maritime workers support distribution workers

Maritime workers throw weight behind distribution workers

Joint Media Release Maritime Union of New Zealand and Rail and Maritime Transport Union

The two unions representing port and maritime workers in New Zealand are discussing direct action to support locked out distribution workers at Progressive Enterprises.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says failure to get the dispute resolved will mean the union members will immediately begin reviewing their options to deal with Progressive cargo coming into New Zealand ports.

"The Australian CEO of Woolworths, who own Progressive, gets paid over $8 million a year. Progressive Enterprises can afford full page ads to attack their workers. But they refuse to give them a moderate pay increase and have locked them out."

He says the company's attacks were not only aimed at its employees, but they already are threatening NZ suppliers with their bully tactics.

Both New Zealand unions have been in joint discussions on solidarity actions with Australian unions including the Maritime Union of Australia, the Rail Tram and Bus Union, and the Transport Workers Union, and solidarity donations are already arriving from major Australian Unions.

A full-time Maritime Union official has been delegated to work alongside the National Distribution Union, the New Zealand International Transport Federation (ITF) co-ordinator and the ITF head office in London.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union National Secretary Wayne Butson says the New Zealand public are behind the locked out workers.

"These workers are on extremely low pay which they can't raise a family on."

He says Progressive should rethink its position before it does permanent damage to its brand and reputation amongst New Zealand consumers.


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