Maritime Union supports US Anti-war stoppages
Maritime Union of New Zealand media release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 2 May 2008
Maritime Union supports major port stoppages in USA and Iraq against war
The Maritime Union of New Zealand has congratulated maritime workers in USA and in Iraq for work stoppages on May Day (1 May) against the Iraq War.
More than 25,000 longshore workers at 29 west coast ports in the USA called an end to the war in Iraq on May 1 by staying at home. The workers were members of the ILWU, the waterfront union on the west coast of the USA, which has strong links to the Maritime Union of New Zealand.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the action was supported by workers in many nations.
He says that maritime workers have always been strong supporters of internationalism and workers uniting across the world.
"The maritime industry is a global industry and maritime workers understand the importance of global solidarity. We have always been opposed to war, whether it was before World War Two when New Zealand waterfront workers refused to load pig iron for Japan, or when we took action against nuclear warships in New Zealand ports in the 1980s."
The General Union of Port Workers in Iraq said it would shutdown the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Alzubair for one hour on May Day in solidarity with the action of all West Coast ports by members of ILWU.
In a letter from The General Union of Port Workers in Iraq to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the United States, the union said "The courageous decision you made to carry out a strike on May Day to protest against the war and occupation of Iraq advances our struggle against occupation to bring a better future for us and for the rest of the world as well."
"We are certain that a better world will only be created by the workers and what you are doing is an example and proof of what we say. "
The Iraq union also condemned attacks on union rights in Iraq and the privatisation of oil and gas.
US Labor Against the War group report a broad cross-section of Iraqi union leaders have also sent messages of appreciation on the USLAW website "for the solidarity demonstrated by organised labor, working people and all peace-loving people of the world in support of their efforts to end the foreign occupation of Iraq and the sectarian violence that occupation has spawned."