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Conference of the Maritime Union

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Maritime unions from around the Pacific are represented in Wellington this week for the second three-yearly conference of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has welcomed delegations from the All Japan Dockers Union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) from the west coast of North America, and the Maritime Union of Australia, who have made presentations at the conference on industrial and political issues.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says several key themes have emerged from the Conference.

"We have committed to the fight for secure permanent jobs in a safe environment, for cabotage and a rational policy in the shipping and ports industry, and for fair trade not free trade."

Mr Hanson says one serious concern emerging from the Conference was the exploitation of labour through the movement of short-term, casualized labour between and within countries under so-called "free trade" deals.

He says that the need for cabotage and the right to strike in support of other workers or political issues were other issues of interest for delegates.

The Conference was opened on Tuesday by Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson and addressed on Tuesday by CTU Secretary Carol Beaumont and Green MP Sue Bradford.

Delegates put questions to the speakers about issues such as cabotage and the concern of the Maritime Union about current free trade negotiations and the impact on jobs and conditions. NZ First deputy leader Peter Brown will speak at the Conference today.


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