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Events At Southern Ports Concerning For Exporters

Media release 25 November 2000

Recent events at Bluff and Port Chalmers have indicated some of the tensions in the new industrial relations scene, says Employers' Federation chief executive Anne Knowles.

"Over the last week we have seen aggressive picketing and inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of the 1970s," Ms Knowles said. "Along the way, some simple truths have been overlooked.

"The first is that companies are free to compete against each other for business.

"The second is that restrictive work practices won't safeguard jobs in Otago, Southland or anywhere else. Being productive and competitive is a better strategy than protectionism.

"Rhetoric about 'casualisation' is also wide of the mark. All ports use casual labour, because of the nature of the work. It is also not uncommon for ports to bring in workers from other centres to meet peaks in demand. Attempts by some in the union movement to portray these practices as unusual or sinister are unfortunate.


"Exporters need to be able to move their products across wharves without impediment. Events at Southern ports will have given them some concern."

Ends

Contact Anne Knowles 021 425868


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