Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

ITF president weighs in on fisheries dispute

ITF president weighs in on multi-million dollar fisheries dispute as New Zealand Parliament delays action


International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin has met with key stakeholders in Auckland, New Zealand, about the ongoing campaign to secure NZD30 million in unpaid wages for fishers in the region.

The ITF has contributed to Slave Free Seas’ campaign to claim outstanding wages in the vicinity of NZD30 million through the New Zealand courts.

Mr Crumlin met with senior union representatives from Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, the Slave Free Seas advocacy group and the Merchant Service Guild as part of the Regional Maritime Federation meeting.

The Regional Maritime Federation brings together maritime unions from Australia, New Zealand and PNG to try to build trade union capacity in the region.

Mr Crumlin, who is also Maritime Union of Australia national secretary, said it was imperative that fisheries workers get better wages and conditions in an industry in which 24,000 people die across the world each year.

"Slave Free Seas acts on behalf of fishers where they have no representation and legal redress,” Mr Crumlin said.

"We commend the initiative of Slave Free Seas as we try to break apart the industrial model upon which commercial fishing is built because it is akin to modern day slavery."

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Joe Fleetwood said the New Zealand Parliament needed to pass its fishing slavery laws as a matter of urgency.

"The bill has now been pushed number 27 on the parliamentary bills list, placing it in real danger of not being addressed before the upcoming national election,” Mr Fleetwood said.

"This is outrageous. The New Zealand Government is missing in action when it comes to protecting the rights and welfare of fishers in our region."

It is almost two years since the government concluded a ministerial Inquiry into the use of foreign charter vessels after national and international accusations of slave labour in New Zealand waters.

The legislation to implement the recommendations, including a requirement that all vessels be New Zealand flagged by 2016, is yet to be passed.

New Zealand’s use of cheap labour on fishing boats was scathingly labelled ‘21st Century slavery’ in a US State Department report released in mid-2012.

It cited conditions of forced labour, including debt bondage, imposition of significant debts, physical violence, mental abuse and excessive hours of work aboard vessels in New Zealand waters.

The issue was mentioned more recently in the Global Slavery Index and will continue to be an embarrassing topic of discussion until the Government gets its act together and passes the necessary law.

Slave Free Seas is a team of the world’s foremost experts on modern slavery, including international lawyers specialising in human rights and maritime law, world-leading academics, and advocates from the private sector.

While still involved with the legislative changes in the New Zealand fishing industry, the group's focus is on the development of a global legal toolbox to effectively end labour exploitation and abuse wherever it occurs in the fishing industry across the globe.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The
America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s...

Elite sport used to feel more like a collective, shared experience. It was our team, composed of people who lived and worked like us. Now, not so much. More>>

 

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog