Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

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


A cashless Christmas for foreign fishing crews

Friday 22 December 2006

A cashless Christmas for foreign fishing crews far from home

A second group of Ukrainian crew members aboard the arrested vessel Aleksandr Ksenofontov in Dunedin are at loggerheads with employers and have approached the Maritime Union seeking help.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the situation with the fishing vessel is a classic example of the problems still coming to the surface in the fishing industry.

Mr Hanson says around 14 senior crew members, believed to be officers, have approached the Dunedin police and the Maritime Union claiming their contract has been broken.

An inspection of their documents showed their pay had been slashed to a fraction of the hours worked, after heavy taxation under Russian law and large payments to the employer were all taken out of their pay.

"The employers want to pay these workers off with $300 for months of work at sea, with the rest of the money coming when they return home at some unspecified date, which could mean never."

Mr Hanson says the Aleksandr Ksenofontov has had ongoing issues since being tied up at the Dunedin wharves several weeks ago.

"This type of situation is exactly why the Government introduced new regulations in the fishing industry, yet it seems some of the industry players are still doing things the old way."

He says the vessel had its first crew leave after a pay dispute, with several of those crew still in New Zealand involved in the dispute process.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"Now a second group of officers are obviously facing a similar problem."

Mr Hanson says a new crew had been brought in who were onboard the vessel, and he would not be surprised if a similar situation developed with them.

He says the vessel was also arrested in a separate dispute over repair work.

Mr Hanson says the concern of the Maritime Union is that overseas crews are being returned home with promises of future payment that were impossible to enforce.

"Our concern is with some of the dubious practices that may go on in the home country where this labour is recruited."

He says the "out of mind, out of sight" attitude with foreign crews was still prevalent, with crews involved in disputes often hurriedly sent home before their claims could be inspected under New Zealand regulations.

Mr Hanson says the industry was watching to see how the situation was resolved under the new improved Government regulations of the fishing industry.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Government’s Smokefree Laws Debacle

The most charitable explanation for National’s behaviour over the smokefree legislation is that they have dutifully fulfilled the wishes of the Big Tobacco lobby and then cast around – incompetently, as it turns out - for excuses that might sell this health policy U-turn to the public. The less charitable view is that the government was being deliberately misleading. Are we to think Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is a fool, or a liar? It seems rather early on in his term of office to be facing that unpleasant choice. Yet when Luxon (and senior MP Chris Bishop) tried to defend the indefensible with the same wildly inaccurate claim, there are not a lot of positive explanations left on the table.... More

Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

Green Party: Petition To Save Oil & Gas Ban

“The new Government’s plan to expand oil and gas exploration is as dangerous as it is unscientific. Whatever you think about the new government, there is simply no mandate to trash the climate. We need to come together to stop them,” says James Shaw. More

PSA: MFAT Must Reverse Decision To Remove Te Reo

MFAT's decision to remove te reo from correspondence before new Ministers are sworn in risks undermining the important progress the public sector has made in honouring te Tiriti. "We are very disappointed in what is a backward decision - it simply seems to be a Ministry bowing to the racist rhetoric we heard on the election campaign trail," says Marcia Puru. More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.