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Auckland Save our port rally: ITF speech

9 March 2012
Auckland Save our port rally: ITF speech

ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) dockers’ section secretary Frank Leys will tell dockers, their families and supporters rallying in Auckland tomorrow that 400,000 dockers worldwide are backing them in their struggle to save jobs.

His message comes just days after the ITF was forced to declare Auckland a ‘port of convenience’, following its CEO’s decision to make over 300 dockers compulsorily redundant (see www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/7124).

Speaking at the Save our port rally, which commences at 16:00 on Saturday 10 March*,Frank Leys will say:

“You, the workers of the Ports of Auckland asked for a fair deal.

In return you have received privatisation, casualisation and job insecurity from a management that has shied away from good faith negotiation and instead embraced confrontation with its own workforce.

This dispute is a major turning point for trade union relations in New Zealand just like Liverpool in the UK, Patrick’s in Australia and Ports Package 1 and 2 for Europe. We are standing on the edge of a change which would mean disaster for future generations of workers. Employment with no security, no benefits and no rights to trade union protection. We can’t let that change happen.

We live in a society where bankers can empty the vaults of the state to feed their own greed and it is the working class who have to pay to fill the deep holes that are left behind. The liberal governments have looked the other way and the only solution for the problems that are now on the table is more deregulation in order to liberalise and in order to privatise.

Unions around the world are portrayed as the cause of trouble and the cause of discontent amongst workers, but the reality is that unions are fighting for a fair deal for their members in this unbalanced society. Unions don’t fit the liberal agenda and that is why big business and government are so keen to see the back of them. But we won’t let that happen.

Dockers have always been in the vanguard of the trade union movement. That is why they and their members are now being targeted by the European commission, by multinational conglomerates on the West Coast of the US and now here in Auckland.

Four hundred thousand dockers want the workers of Auckland to know they are not alone in this fight. They will not stand idle when their brothers and sisters are under siege. They are protesting in their ports, they are contacting their New Zealand embassies, they are letting the world know that this fight is far from over and when you take on dockers at the Ports of Auckland you take ondockers all over the world.
We stand by your side in this dispute and your call for a fair deal will not be silenced.”

*For more details of the rally see http://www.saveourport.com

For more about the international support for Auckland’s wharfies see www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/solidarity-3502.cfm

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