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SFWU and parties call for fisheries inquiry

SFWU, Maori Party, Labour and Greens to call for fishing industry inquiry

The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota will be launching a petition tomorrow [Tuesday 18 May, 9am] in Nelson, calling for an inquiry into aspects of the New Zealand Fishing Industry.

The petition, which has the support of the Maori Party, the Labour Party and the Green Party calls on the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the New Zealand Fishing Industry's relationship with foreign fishing companies, foreign crewing of Joint Ventures, chartered and New Zealand fishing vessels, and its effects on sustainable fishing practices, employment, and the relevant communities within New Zealand.

"At present there is a lot of resentment towards some of the big fishing companies due to the callous, uncaring and disrespectful attitude shown to their employees and other New Zealand Companies who are being pushed out of the industry in favor of Foreign interests," says SFWU Assistant National Secretary Neville Donaldson.

"In the last three years over 1500 workers employed on land and at sea have lost their jobs in the Seafood industry in New Zealand, with treats of even more redundancies still to come yet, this in an industry that promised to create employment for New Zealand workers,"

The Service and Food Workers Union says this loss of employment has been the result of companies looking simply at the dollar returns on their quota without a second thought for the workers who have been sacked or the corporate social responsibility that goes hand in hand with the privilege of harvesting their quota in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (NZEEZ).

New Zealand workers are currently being replaced by foreign workers employed on the minimum wage, but the fishing industry have called on the Government to remove the requirement to pay minimum wage in future to foreign workers.

"This is appalling. Nobody should be employed on less than the minimum rates in the fishing industry quoted in the code of practice in International crew co-operation." says Neville Donaldson.

"This is an industry which also fails to show that its fishing practices are sustainable and creditable internationally which in turn has the potential to undermine product value and the reputation of New Zealand as a creditable provider of seafood."

"We call upon the House of Representatives to carry out a full inquiry and ensure that all concerns are properly reviewed and that New Zealand companies are acting appropriately in relation to sustainable fishing practices, achieving the highest possible returns on product in the International market place, meeting corporate social responsibility obligations, and consolidating and or creating employment opportunities for New Zealand workers."


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