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Police spy scandal - Union may call stopwork

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 19 December 2008

The Maritime Union may call a national work stoppage to hold stopwork meetings of its members to discuss the police spy scandal.

The Maritime Union was one of a number of Unions reportedly named in emails about union actions sent by police informer Rob Gilchrist to his handler in the Special Investigation Group.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Maritime Union is supporting calls for a high level Commission of Inquiry into the Police's Special Investigation Group.

He says the Union is demanding an apology and would seek damages from the New Zealand police, and is calling its branches to prepare for industrial action unless a full apology and explanation is made.

"We are a democratic union with open doors and we are absolutely astounded to find out through the media that information about our union has been gathered through a Government spy."

Mr Hanson says he considers the publication of the Maritime Union's name in this way has damaged the name of the Union and legal advice would be sought.

He says workers will not permit their Unions to be treated as criminal organizations by the State.

Mr Hanson says if an informer was paid in cash to supply information to police about legitimate union business it would bring into question the credibility and motives of the New Zealand police.

"If the police are serious about tracking groups who threaten the wellbeing of ordinary New Zealanders, would they pay informers to spy on employer groups wanting to attack wages and conditions?"

"Who exactly decides who goes on the spy list, who authorizes these decisions, and what accountability and procedures do such special investigations have to ensure they are not corrupt or politically biased?"


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