Maritimes Issue 10 • July 2005
Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand
Solidarity on the waterfront Fishing Industry Crisis
Election 2005 Toll Conference
Full Steam Ahead with
UNION POWER Kent dispute • Bottom trawling • Port Roundups • Union Training 1
Industry problems have clear solutions by Trevor Hanson General Secretary I told a recent meeting of the Maritime Safety Authority the voluntary regulation of stress and fatigue problems by employers are not enough to protect our members. Due to the extreme competition within the maritime industry, standards will continue to sink to the lowest common denominator as the most aggressive operators attempt to maximize their profit. Most operators agree to some level of stress and fatigue prevention, but there is continual pressure to “get the job done” with the inevitable conclusion of a preventable workplace accident taking place. The situation is one where lip service is given to the rules and regulations, then everyone goes ahead and does what they want. A light handed enforcement of health and safety standards that relies on voluntary compliance has failed in our industry. The inherent fear of loss of contracts ensures the rules are set aside, and health and safety will always come second to the pressures of a competitive environment. These problems increase as the demands of “just in time” logistics, 24/7 labour requirements with shift work and irregular work patterns have a heavy impact on and off the job for workers. The answer is to press for regulations with more teeth, that are enforced strongly, in order to set a new tone in the industry. But the other vital part of keeping control of health and safety on the job is through an informed and active membership and delegates. I realize there are numerous pressures to cut corners, but once we go down the path of caving in to every demand by employers and letting ourselves become isolated, then sooner or later someone will pay with an injury – or worse.
Training In both Sea and Waterfront areas there are insufficient trained employees, in particular gear and machinery operators, to meet the requirements of our industry.
This problem has been widely discussed in the industry and general media, with the general consensus we are reaping the result of decades of short-sighted, greed driven, right wing economic policies. Vital areas such as training were left to the “free market” with the result that nothing happened. We now have a labour shortage, and massive pressure to import labour while tens of thousands of New Zealanders remain unemployed or trapped in lowskill work. The Maritime Union says urgent attention must be focussed on the lack of younger trained Seafarers coming through. We are aware that both the employers and the Government are beginning to examine the current situation, but only because of the dire situation we find ourselves in. The Maritime Union position is that the process of training Seafarers needs to be hastened. We do have expectations of New Zealand Seafarers having the right to be employed in the immediate future particularly on coastal hubbing shipping. I predict that within the next decade, a major change in transportation and logistics will take place as oil reserves are outpaced by demand and environmental problems increase. The cost effectiveness and environmental advantages of shipping will probably lead to a resurgence of the industry. Further developments such as the recently released design of a high-tech wind/solar powered ship by Sweden point the way to the future.
National register The Maritime Union has continued to urge the establishment of an independent register of all Seafarers and Waterfront workers. This should be nationally based and funded by employers. The register should contain all current Seafarers and Waterfront workers’ details including qualifications and training. The administrators should have a set of rules in respect to health and safety, in particular hours of work. This would serve many purposes,
especially taking into account the rationalization of ports brought about by shippers increasing their vessel size and decreasing ports of call. It would provide a common set of qualifications amongst all registered employees. This would allow workers to enter the industry with a career in mind, in the knowledge that their qualifications would allow them to change ports if work in their current port declined. The other area of benefit would be excellent records for security, with increasingly stringent measures taken by our major trading partners. This would not prevent employers from recruiting new entrants, but it would ensure workers are trained to industry standard, making them available to the industry as a whole. This would again reinforce a long term, strategic approach to the industry giving stability to both employers and workers, that is fair to all.
Where to from here? The Maritime Union has continually raised these issues since the era of Port Reform in 1989. Many of the injuries and fatal accidents that are still occurring in the industry are the direct result of the fragmented and deregulated development of the industry since that time. The majority of current problems are the responsibility of overseas owned shipping companies, who make their demands with absolute assurance that the New Zealand employers will fulfill their requests no matter what the cost. The burden falls directly on our members – particularly in the area of casualization and insecure employment, stress and fatigue, and the uncounted social consequences, the cost of which falls on the wider society in which we all live. The 2005 election will give members a chance to ensure that we make progress towards a stable and secure society, rather than succumb to the dog-eat-dog world of short-sighted greed that was a hallmark of the 1990s. A guide to the election for members is included in this edition of the Maritimes.
Time to focus our minds by Phil Adams National President
Election Year The big upcoming issue that should focus all of our minds is the 2005 election. It is vital that all members take note that we need to return a centre left Government. Under our MMP voting system the next Labour-led Government will also need support from minor parties to form an effective Government. We would like to see left-wing proworker parties in there. The Maritime Union does not tell its members who to vote for but we certainly recommend a vote for Labour or another left party such as the Greens or Alliance. This edition of the Maritimes has information on the maritime policies of the political parties for you to read. I do not need to stress enough that if a National Government gets back in there will be another round of direct attacks on workers and maritime workers will be right in the firing line. This is because we stand up for ourselves and have fought back against casualization and other anti-worker tactics. Across the Tasman, the Australians re-elected the Howard Government which has already moved to attack maritime workers. Do not think the same thing can not happen here. One thing that worries me is that every time elections come around people hear this call for “tax cuts.” This sounds great in theory. But in practice what does it mean? The “tax cuts” have to be paid for out of cutting the vital services that we take for granted. Education, health, housing, unem-
ployment and sickness benefits will all be chopped. These things should be provided for by the community for the community. Large companies with big profits and those on high incomes get the benefit from tax cuts, not the workers. Working people should stick together and protect our collective interests. That is the Maritime Union way of doing things. United we stand, divided we fall, is the message we should remember in 2005.
Health and Safety on the Job One issue that needs to be looked at is the need for health and safety on the job. We have recently seen fatalities and accidents in the industry and need to ensure we remain aware and vigilant on the job to make sure we look after ourselves and our workmates. The Maritime Union is continuing to build our health and safety and training systems to make sure we are up to speed. Make sure you make the most of any opportunities to attend union training or become a delegate. The Union is also continuing to work for better laws and regulations to protect workers. Unfortunately in today’s greeddriven industry if profits can be made by cutting corners then workers suffer the consequences. Toxic chemicals such as methyl bromide continue to cause concern to us, and recently we had a scare with radioactive material in Port Chalmers. We all need to take care while working dangerous cargoes and stay informed. Better to be safe than sorry.
Edition 10, July 2005 Contents Trevor Hanson Report................ 2 Phil Adams Report..................... 3 Kent Dispute........................... 4 Ferry Incidents........................ 5 Toll Conference....................... 6 Fishing Industry Crisis................ 7 Bottom trawling....................... 8 Vice President’s Report.... .......... 9 ITF News................................ 10 Delegate Training .................... 14 Election Special....................... 16 Seafarers’ Conference............... 19 Port Roundup.......................... 20 Tridale Dispute........................ 21 Seafarers’ Strategy Conference..... 23 Letters.................................. 30 Seafarers’ Retirement Fund......... 31 The Back Page......................... 32 ‘The Maritimes’ is the official national magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand, published quarterly. ISSN 1176-3418 National Office: PO Box 27004 Wellington New Zealand Telephone 04 3850 792 Fax 04 3848 766 Email: email@example.com Web: www.munz.org.nz Edited and designed by Victor Billot Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Board: Trevor Hanson, Phil Adams and Joe Fleetwood Thanks to the photographers including Terry Ryan, John O’Neill, Garry Parsloe, Corrine Paraore, Mike Lysaght, and others. Cover photo – New Zealand and Australian wharfies at ITF training, Newcastle, Australia, including Grant Williams (MUNZ Local 13 Auckland) and Adam Law (MUNZ Local 10 Port Chalmers), May 2005 Photo by Michelle Battin of the Maritime Union of Australia
‘The Maritimes’ is the official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand. All correspondence to: ‘The Maritimes’, PO Box 27004, Wellington, New Zealand. Email email@example.com Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters: 12 August 2005 for next edition 3
Maritime Union members aboard the MV ‘Kent’ during the dispute in May 2005, left to right Mick Finlay, Frank Page, and Forrest McDougall (photo by Kent Blechynden, courtesy of Dominion Post)
Kent Dispute by Tony Mowbray Wellington Seafarers Branch The issue of manning levels came to a head on the board the MV Kent after the introduction of new MSA requirements for extra men on the bridge. It became a dispute on the grounds of health and safety. Strait Shipping has done everything possible in the past to keep ratings from working our traditional roles as lookouts and helmsmen. After the company refused to recognise these rules, as part of a navigational
watch and with new regulations in force, we were in effect being driven to the bridge to fill positions we’d been denied in the past –without an effective increase in manpower to cover existing duties. This seems ironic given the history of this company but trying to increase the workload was no surprise to us. On arrival in Wellington on the evening of Wednesday 4 May 2005, the pin was pulled with notices issued by the company on the crew. The company immediately suspended the crew and ordered them off the
ship, in effect a lockout in the making. The crew were asked by the Master at the time of the written notice whether they would sail, and the reply was “no.” With Wellington Seafarers’ Secretary Mike Williams’ prompt arrival at the ship, the intentions of both parties were laid out. It ended with the crew staying put and the ship not leaving the berth. It was now a matter of seeing what developed. With myself being on leave for the cycle, I received a phone call from our delegate Taff Hicks from the ship to inform me of what had happened. After my offer to come in immediately it was decided to wait and get in first thing Thursday morning. On Thursday 5 May 2005, I arrived at the ship at 0530 to be informed that the crew were requested by the company to front at Head Office for disciplinary action, to take place at noon. Barry Millington arrived at about 1000 and was closely followed by Mike Williams, who had been getting things rolling with our lawyer Peter Cranney and briefing Trevor Hanson, both of whom arrived not too long after. A letter giving 100% support from the Santa Regina’s crew, delivered on her scheduled arrival was appreciated by us. Peter was run through rosters and looked at the company’s safety manuals. We all had input informing him of issues concerning manning levels and hours worked to bring him up to speed. We were not leaving the ship and if management wanted to meet they were to come to the ship which they did at about 1230. Negotiations began, Mike Williams, Taff Hicks and Forrest McDougall representing the crew. This continued throughout the afternoon with the crew not swaying to counter offers and sticking firmly to our original demands.
A settlement reached in our favour Late that afternoon, a settlement in our favour was reached. A 28 day right of appeal is in place for both parties because of the immediate implementation of the regulations. This is the first time a Strait Shipping vessel has been “stuck up” and over such a serious issue as that of health and safety, and following the tragic incident in Picton we take pride in our stance. We would like to thank Mike Williams, Trevor Hanson, Barry Millington, Peter Cranney and the national council for all their representation and support.
Ferry incidents cause concern A series of accidents and mishaps aboard Cook Strait ferries has fuelled concerns about safety and resulted in a damning official report about two potential disasters in 2004. Since the start of 2005, further incidents on both Toll and Strait Shipping owned ferries on the Cook Strait have occurred, which has led to the involvement of Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC). The Interislander ferry Aratere had a near miss with a tanker carrying highly flammable chemicals on 10 April 2005. The MSA received “close quarter” reports from the Aratere and a CentrePort pilot aboard the tanker Bow de Jin after the early morning incident inside Wellington harbour. It was just another blow for the problem-plagued ship, but more was to come. Lifeboat problems on Monday 6 June led to the Aratere being recalled to Picton. Crew members were carrying out a regulation safety drill in Queen Charlotte Sound when they encountered problems with a hook used to reattach a lifeboat to the ferry. The Aratere was turned around and took its 270 passengers back to Picton, where they were put on the next sailing of the Arahura.
50 safety reports on Aratere The Aratere has been the subject of almost fifty MSA reports since it was brought into service in 1999. Another Interislander ferry, the Arahura, has also been investigated after it lost power in the Cook Strait on Sunday 24 April this year. The ferry lost power near the the Tory Channel and came to a stop at the narrow and rocky entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. There were 676 passengers on board at the time, during a rough crossing of the Cook Strait, and emergency services were put on full alert. After regaining limited power, the Arahura carried on its journey and docked in Picton about three hours late where a problem with one of the pistons was repaired. After testing and a safety audit, the Arahura was put back into service. It has not suffered from the same number of problems as the Aratere which has been dubbed “El Lemon”. A report from the MSA on previous incidents was released on 16 June 2005.
The MSA found that poor bridge management and navigational practices, neglect of collision regulations, and an over reliance on electronic navigation aids were the cause of a near grounding, and a near collision, both involving the Aratere in September 2004.
“Systemic failures” The reports also highlight a number of “systemic failures” by the management of Interislander, including a lack of documented procedures and formal contingency plans, crew training, and procedures to monitor navigation practices. Immediately following the first incident, MSA imposed a condition that Aratere be manually steered through Tory Channel and in Wellington Harbour and other pilotage waters. On 29 September 2004, the Aratere was sailing through Tory Channel with 292 people on board when it narrowly missed grounding on a rock off Arapawa Island. The ship was operating on “automatic track-keeping mode”, but despite its chief officer informing the master it was substantially off-track, it was not until the Aratere had deviated 100 metres off course that they intervened by turning it hard to port. It was still travelling at around 20 knots when it narrowly missed grounding on a rock situated to the south of Whekenui Bay. The MSA found that bridge recordings had revealed several other people including children were on the bridge at the time, but Toll Shipping had not told investigators that other people on the bridge may have been distracting crew. Two days after this near grounding, the Aratere cut across the bow of another ship in Wellington harbour. Aratere and the Strait Shipping freight ferry Kent were entering Wellington harbour when Aratere overtook the Kent on her starboard side, as agreed. But when Aratere’s stern was just past the bow of the Kent, Aratere began turning back to port before clear of Kent, in breach of maritime rules, with only 130 metres to spare. The MSA has censured the master of the Aratere for the incident.
However, the problems with ferries have not been limited to the Toll Shipping owned Interisland line.
Santa Regina involved in incidents The Bluebridge ferry Santa Regina has been involved in two serious incidents, one that involved the death of a yachtsman. Yachtsman Norman McFarlane died and a woman was taken to hospital in severe shock after a collision between their bridgedecker and the Santa Regina on the evening of Monday 2 May 2005. Following the incident, the MSA ordered more crew on the bridge of ferries. Strait Shipping attempted to make crew carry out extra duties on top of their current workload, which resulted in a standoff between employers and the crew on the Kent who were members of the Maritime Union. An article on the Kent dispute appears in this issue of the Maritimes. The run of near misses continued when the Santa Regina nearly grounded on rocks at East Head, on the exit of Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds, on the evening of Thursday 9 June. But the incident was not reported to the MSA until Monday 13 June, five days later. The MSA reacted strongly, suspending the master for 14 days, with MSA director Russell Kilvington described the incident as “extremely disappointing.” The incident was referred to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC). TAIC chief investigator John Mockett told media it appeared a strong spring tide had pushed the vessel off course and it had come “very close to rocks.” There were 89 passengers and crew on board at the time. The Maritime Union has called for stronger safety regulations and appropriate crew levels on the ferries.
Unionists from Australia and New Zealand at the June 2005 Toll Conference, Wellington, New Zealand (photo thanks to Derek Craig of AMEA)
Toll Conference unites transport unions Transport unions from both sides of the Tasman have joined forces to deal with multinational operator Toll. 90 union leaders and delegates attended the two day conference held on 14–15 June 2005 in Wellington to build a united strategy for Unions in Australia and New Zealand. The move has been described as a “watershed in the evolution of Australasian trade unionism” by CTU president Ross Wilson. He said it was the first time Australasian unions had combined to develop a strategy which focussed on a single multinational employer. The Conference was opened by Transport Minister Pete Hodgson. Mark Rosenthorne and David Jack-
son fronted up to the Conference from Toll to give the views of management. Union’s gave short presentations on their experiences with Toll, with contributors including the Maritime Union of Australia, the Transport Workers Union of Australia, the Maritime Union of New Zealand, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union of New Zealand, the Aviation and Marine Engineers Association and the Merchant Service Guild. Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson gave an overview of Toll’s dealings with MUNZ, including their stevedoring operations in Auckland, Tauranga/Mt Maunganui, Napier, and Lyttelton, and their ferry operations on the Cook Strait.
Contact the Maritime Union National Office Telephone: 04 3850 792 Fax: 04 3848 766 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Office administrator: Valentina Goray Email: firstname.lastname@example.org General Secretary: Trevor Hanson Direct dial: 04 801 7614 Mobile: 0274 453 532 Email: email@example.com National President: Phil Adams Direct dial: 03 4728 052 Mobile: 0274 377 601 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Vice President: Joe Fleetwood Mobile: 021 364 649 Email: email@example.com Assistant General Secretary: Terry Ryan Mobile: 021 186 6643 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ITF Inspectorate: Kathy Whelan Direct dial: 04 801 7613 Mobile: 021 666 405 Email: email@example.com Communications Officer: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482 219 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A report was also given on FUMP (Freight Union Mapping Project), an Australian initiative where University of Newcastle researchers are carrying out an analysis of Toll’s operations and potential areas for membership growth. The second day of the Conference was opened with an address by Simon Des Baux of the Asia-Pacific office of the ITF, before unionists split up into group workshops. All those attending were split into small groups, mixing up sectors, unions and countries, to discuss particular union issues they had experienced with Toll. Discussions covered areas such as union recognition and rights, terms and conditions of employment, health and safety, collective bargaining and interunion cooperation. Over the last decade Toll has experienced enormous growth, and in the last sixteen years has acquired 43 companies now under the Toll banner on both sides of the Tasman, and describes itself as an “integrated logistics solution.” The bulk of its revenue comes from its road and rail holdings, but Toll has considerable interests in warehousing, distribution, sea, air and stevedoring operations.
Amalgamation talks continue The joint executive of the Maritime Union (MUNZ) and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) met in May and June 2005 in amalgamation talks. The current plan for a proposed new union structure will be put to a national vote of members of both Unions later in the year. A working party comprised of executive members of both Unions has been identifying key issues for both Unions. The most recent meeting of the two executives took place in Wellington on 16 June 2005 following the inter-union Toll Conference that was attended by transport Unions from throughout Australia.
It’s official: abuse and exploitation in our fishing industry The Maritime Union says the release of a Government report in May 2005 into employment conditions in the New Zealand fishing industry has confirmed its worst fears. The Department of Labour report outlined a number of serious allegations about the treatment of foreign crews in New Zealand waters. These included crew being assaulted with pieces of wood and hammers, crew being beaten and being forced to work despite suffering from injuries. Pay could be as low as US$140 per month, with 40 cents in every dollar paid to overseas “agents” in some cases. It was alleged that Captains would hold crews’ passports to prevent them from leaving. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the report has shone light on dark places in regard to the treatment of overseas crews. ”We are disappointed at the Government response to the report considering what is actually going on onboard some of these trawlers.” Mr Hanson says it is obvious that overseas crews are being abused, exploited and underpaid. Interviews with overseas crew members by Government labour inspectors reveal a chilling picture of “sweatship” conditions in a globalized maritime free market. ”The overseas crews are being underpaid, having their meagre wages further stripped back by agents’ fees, and they are often beaten and threatened into a state of fear and silence.”
Mr Hanson says the New Zealand Government should immediately act on the report to ensure that all workers in New Zealand waters can expect to be treated with the basic standards of a civilized society. ”The Maritime Union says the Government should be enforcing the law, not consulting and negotiating with employers who are breaking the law.” The report was completed in December 2004 and was supplied in advance to employers, but Unions involved in the industry received the report in May along with the media and public. Mr Hanson says New Zealand crews are being forced out of the industry due to a Third World economy operating off the New Zealand coast on fishing trawlers. ”The report states clearly there is no strong reason to doubt information from Indonesian crew members that the conditions onboard amount to little more than sweatshop ones.” “The environment, local jobs and workers’ rights have been thrown in the trash to ensure a short-term, ugly and greed-driven system benefiting a few.” The Maritime Union says the industry needs to be strictly regulated to improve working conditions, ensure local jobs and protect the long term sustainability of fish stocks for future generations.
Pink Panther Plan won’t solve ship jumping crews The Maritime Union describes a “Pink Panther Plan” to hunt ship jumping crews with private eyes as questionable. Following the May 2005 release of the report into conditions of overseas crews aboard fishing vessels in New Zealand waters, the Department of Labour announced it was hiring private investigators to find crew members who had jumped ship off fishing vessels. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says that private investigators may be in favour of the plan as it will ensure an endless income stream for them in the future, but it would not solve ship jumping. “The simple reason that crews of foreign vessels are jumping ship is that they are underpaid, exploited and abused, and they are being sourced by overseas from disreputable agents who extract a major part of these unfortunate individuals’ wages for themselves.” He says the Department of Labour should focus on the real issue. ”Instead of bringing in snoops to harass workers, the Department of Labour should be doing its job by protecting workers and putting inspectors on board fishing vessels.” The Maritime Union says the Government must ensure that before a foreign vessel fishes on the New Zealand coast it must comply to a set of regulations – and failure by any foreign vessel to meet these conditions simply means they don’t work on our coast. Mr Hanson said ship jumpers also come off “Flag of Convenience” ships that carry the vast majority of cargo on the New Zealand coast. International shipping companies operate as price-fixing cartels, causing great harm to New Zealand as an exporting nation, as well as in some cases underpaying their crew. “The only long term solution to our shipping crisis and crew jumping is a much greater level of regulation and public control of our shipping.” The Maritime Union says an incident in March 2005 when a group of Chinese fishermen jumped overboard in Wellington Harbour should be setting alarm bells ringing. The Chinese fishermen jumped overboard with their suitcases while in the middle of the harbour – within sight of the head office bureaucrats on Lambton Quay who are ignoring the plight of seafarers and fishermen.
Greenpeace activists disrupt the setting of a bottom trawl net by attaching an inflatable liferaft. The bottom trawl vessel is the ‘Ocean Reward’ owned by New Zealand company Talley’s Fisheries (photo copyright Greenpeace/Malcolm Pullman)
In the late 1970s, New Zealand’s seamount fishing was concentrated on only one seamount. Now almost 250 seamounts are fished and Government agency NIWA says 85% of undersea mountains in the New Zealand region have been bottom trawled. To catch the remaining fish it takes more effort, more time, more money and longer distances to hunt them down.
that all deep-sea fisheries present in 2003 will be commercially extinct by 2025. As target fish populations plummet, the fishing industry looks at the best way to cut costs of their fishing operations. Slashing workers pay is top of the list, as New Zealanders refuse to work hard for long hours in dangerous situations for little money. So now fishing companies are increas-
through over-fishing, which is being used as an excuse for reducing wages and conditions.” “Overfishing has wrecked their profits and now they are trying to fix the problem by slashing workers’ wages – it is a disgraceful indictment of the industry,” he says. Protecting remaining stocks would have a bad effect on industry workers,
Sonar fish finders help locate remaining orange roughy populations. As deep sea trawlers wipe them out, they move further from land, sometimes out into international waters. Our orange roughy trawl fleet increased to expand into international waters between 1988 and 2001, first into the Tasman Sea and the Southwest Pacific, then the Southern Indian Ocean, and ultimately into the North Atlantic. During that same period, the orange roughy catch in New Zealand waters plummeted by around 75%. One global review of deep sea fishing concluded that deep water fish populations are “typically fished down, often within 5-10 years, to the point of commercial extinction or very low levels.” Some marine biologists are predicting
ingly employing foreign labour - often for as little as they can – to catch New Zealand fish quota. A recent New Zealand Department of Labour paper on fishing workers reported, “It is an established fact that the industry is at a low ebb and catches are well down . . . New Zealand workers are not as well off as they used to be, but this is because of the declining industry”. One Kiwi fishing company laid off nearly 50 New Zealand workers in 2004. The Government later approved 40 workers from Indonesia and the Philippines two-year work visas as replacement crew only months later. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the fishing industry should hang its head in shame for the damage it had caused to fish stocks
but failure to do so means even more drastic effects for future generations. New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild South Island administration officer Louis Hart had been on board numerous foreign boats and said living conditions and hygiene standards were often “socially unacceptable in our country.” Some foreign crew are made to work long hours and sometimes paid less than $US200 a month. Mr Hart says the Government is ”perfectly aware that a large number of the 2500 employment permits for foreign fishing crew are for vulnerable fishermen from the poorest countries in the world.”
Greenpeace website: http://greenpeace.org.nz/campaigns/oceans/ default.asp
Vice President’s Report by Joe Fleetwood National Vice-President I attended the “Globalising Solidarity” conference recently with a Maritime Union of New Zealand delegation. This was the second International Pacific Rim Mining and Maritime Union Seminar, and was held from 22–26 May 2005, in Los Angeles. Maritime Union Assistant General Secretary Terry Ryan and I attended the ILWU Coast Committee for Education, to compare ideas and techniques on educating our union members on the past, present, and the ongoing struggles. Internationalism is seen as a high priority, along with the importance of global solidarity.
Union Education It was agreed to create a combined union education training committee to visit the USA locals (union branches). This group is made up of the ILWU coast committee and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. The main topics discussed were the ITF training program. This includes full time trainers, an “induction” package for new members, information on “neo-liberalism” (also known as right wing big business politics), running grievances, how to achieve stability at local levels, and the importance of internationalism. We stressed the importance of monthly stop work meetings, and onthe-job meetings, with union journal delivery to homes, more visits by officials, the challenge of different cultures, health and safety, and inter-port and trans-Tasman tournaments. The time is now to train and organize.
Murder of trade union organizer The conference was dedicated to a good man and defender of working class principles and struggles. Ko Moe Naung (38) of the Seafarers’ Union of Burma was the union organizer for the region of Ranong. He was arrested 19 May 2005 at 8pm, and found three hours later, tortured to death by members of the Burmese Army regiment 431. The atrocities committed upon workers in the impoverished countries of the world must be challenged by all workers.
Rogue Employer An international delegation from the ITF, MUA, Japan, ILWU and MUNZ confronted the ANZDL line that flag out under CP ships. We told them to apply pressure to NYK charterers, and owner Leonard and Blumberg, to contact the ITF and sign the expired agreements onboard his vessels. ITF coordinators for this campaign Dean Summers and Shoji Yamashita delivered a firm message – we do not want to target ANZDL vessels, however, we will not go away, and there is no place to hide. We await reply from the company.
Women in Unions Our sisters stressed the need to have their voices heard and to have their issues addressed. Womens’ issues are workers’ issues: we need to work with our sisters of the working class to continue to promote womens’ and gender issues in our respective unions. Solidarity, sisters!
Security We all agreed to fight the introduction of “chipped” identification cards, locally and internationally. The sinister technology the employers and Governments try to thrust upon us is mind-boggling to say the least. Global operators are invading our basic rights under the guise of Maritime Security and anti-terrorist legislation.
Blue Diamond Workers For 90 years, the 700 workers of Blue Diamond Almond pickers and packers have been non-union. Over the last 15 years they have received an average wage increase of 18 cents per hour. Many workers pay family health insurance of $420 per month. Another example of worker exploitation and corporate greed, but the workers have had enough. They are now in talks with the ILWU, and all going to plan, they will become the newest members of the ILWU family. Workers are realising the need to be protected by good collective agreements which provide decent living wages and conditions, and a career path that leads up, not down.
All unions will continue to support and organize workers in need.
Veterans It was great to see so much participation from the Veterans of the ILWU. They were commended for their dedication to the class struggles. We have inherited a strong and militant past, and must ensure we build a strong and progressive future.
Solidarity A joint tarpaulin muster between MUNZ and MUA rank and file was gathered, and the handsome sum of $6,000 was raised and given to our Chilean comrades in true union fashion.
Congress The ITF 6th Congress is to be held in Durban, South Africa, in mid-2006. Health permitting, this will be opened by former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Conclusion The 2nd Pacific Rim, Mining and Maritime Conference was a great experience, to say the least. There were so many class acts in the form of working-class leaders from many unions and like-minded societies. Workers are struggle based, always have been and always will be as long as corporate greed runs our world. We must identify the enemy, and not turn on ourselves. If we attack each other, we cannot deliver one global voice for world labour. Actions speak louder than words; we must act on our discussions, otherwise the Conference will be nothing but a failure. I believe the workers of today are up to the challenges that lie ahead for us all, and I know we will achieve our goals if we remember the theme of the seminar: “The Workers United Will Never Be Defeated.” On a personal note, I would like to thank the whole of the ILWU family for their hospitality, and the warmth that was shown to us all. You are true friends of the working class. Thank you, and much respect. Kia Kaha, tatau tatau: Be strong, we are all one.
ITF News By Kathy Whelan ITF Co-ordinator I have worked for seafarers for 34 years, primarily New Zealand seafarers. Twelve years ago the International Transport Workers Federation sought to utilize my services and I became their New Zealand Coordinator. I monitor the health, welfare, social, safety and industrial conditions of foreign seafarers coming into New Zealand ports. In my role as the ITF New Zealand Coordinator I have seen some hard hitting stuff and heard many a heart wrenching story from Third World seafarers from underdeveloped countries. I was told one such story recently. The 26 year old small general cargo
vessel Global Island is known to us here in New Zealand under its former name Hirma. It had been in East African waters for a few years operating as a feeder vessel. Around July 2004 it was laid up in Mombassa, and it was picked up in December bound for drydocking in Dubai. Enroute to the dry dock it sank off the coast of Somalia on 1 January 2005, and the German Master and a Kenyan seaman were lost presumed drowned. Four Kenyan crew members and the Tanzanian Chief Officer were rescued by the US Navy after a harrowing 33 hours on a liferaft. The Mission to Seafarers in Mombassa have asked for help from the ITF in New Zealand. Why? Because none of the rescued seafarers have received one single cent in wages.
The five survivors of the Global Island on board the USS Hue City, which rescued them. The Global Island sailed from Mombassa on 25 December 2004, ran into heavy weather, thought to be effects of the tsunami (which killed more than 200 people in Somalia), and sank off the coast of Somalia on 1 January 2005. The survivors were 33 hours in a life raft before being rescued by USS Hue City. The vessel then searched for the two missing men, and after two days gave up the search and headed for Kenyan waters, where the men were transferred to a Kenyan Navy ship, and landed in Mombassa on 5 January.
So, whatâ€™s it got to do with New Zealand? The vessel is managed by a New Zealand company called Tradex Pacific. How much is owed to the seafarers? A total of US$13,677 and fifty cents. Despite many requests to the owner,Tradex Pacific in Auckland, their consistent response is that they cannot pay the crew their due wages until they receive insurance payments. It has been nearly 6 months since the vessel sank and although the crew have received some money for loss of personal effects, their wages remain outstanding. This is not an unusual story as such, but it is in the context that this is a New Zealand employer. The industry is becoming a rogue industry when a company from a (supposedly) civilized country such as New Zealand, can exploit Third World seafarers to this degree. Two of the crew members lost their lives and the surviving five spent nearly two days on a life raft waiting to be rescued. At the end of their ordeal, what did they get? A helicopter ride to the shore courtesy of the US Navy and no wages â€“ courtesy of their New Zealand employer, Tradex Pacific. We encourage you to contact Mr Ben Evans of Tradex Pacific, whose offices are situated at 20 Sulphur Road, Beach Road, North Shore, Auckland, phone 09 480 5546 and fax 09 358 1593, to ask that this company pay the crew the wages that they are owed.
Graham Bragg: ITF inspector
Greetings from Australia. I am a Unionist and MUA member, an Australian, and my hobbies include cooking (chief cook). I am the father of four (two sons, two daughters) and a grandfather. I joined the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) and the industry on 17 June 1965, and was employed as a waterside worker. Entry to the industry then was through the Union, where you were nominated and seconded by members. I was nominated by my father and one of his gang members and comrades, after which you fronted at a meeting and were accepted by the branch. After this you were sent to the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority (ASIA) which was a federal Government body in which all watersiders were registered, and after a full medical check you were accepted into the industry. My first job was with my dad’s gang in which I was advised in the rights and wrongs of being a union member. In those days all the members were casual, one of the conditions in the good old days was that the Union had a condition that after two years you could transfer to any port you wished. I took this up and transferred to a number of east coast ports and saw the difference in conditions from port to port at the delegate and branch level structures. I think this is where I first became interested in union activity. Some of the cargoes handled in the good old days were hard, dirty and dangerous like: Quarter Beef (working on uneven cargo) Lamp black (an ingredient of the process of making tyres – after working on this cargo it would keep coming out of the pores of your skin for some time, meaning no clean pillow cases or sheets)
Topping up wool bales (cargo hook required) Sheep skins (cargo hook required) Asbestos (you were not advised of the dangers) Steel cargoes (dragging the heavy steel chains that were used as slings was back breaking work) Hides (which were rotten at times) Carrying bag cargoes such as sugar, flour, rice, meat meal – the weight per bag of these cargoes in most cases was well above the workers’ body weight Drum cargoes such as cyanide etc. And of course Tasman newsprint, all carried in the union boats from New Zealand Under the union structure of the WWF all ports were a branch and organized their own affairs at a local level, of course under the close guidance of the national officers. I represented the union and members at job and branch level up until 1991, after which I was elected Townsville Branch Secretary of the WWF. This position was not full time, it entitled me to two days in the office, and the secretary was given first preference to idle time by the company, which in most cases saved the union members funds in regard to wages. On 1 July 1993, the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) which by then included the Clerks Union and the Foreman’s Union, amalgamated with the Seaman’s Union of Australia to form the most powerful Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). Under the MUA rules and the new branch structure the North Queensland Branch was formed in which I was respected by the national officials and offered the position of joint branch secretary (watersiders’ section) under the amalgamation process, where there were joint branch secretaries. I continued as joint branch secretary under the amalgamation process until 1997 when I was elected North Queensland Secretary which was based in Townsville Port. I continued on as North Queensland Secretary through the Patricks Dispute, when the branch secretary position under the amalgamation process was reduced to an honorary branch secretary as the company I was employed by for
a large number of years (both under the Government allocation system and the permanent company system) advised the Union they would not employ me after all these years – in other words I was blacklisted. I was then offered a position of ITF inspector. I had been doing ITF work since 1993, when I first got involved in the ITF flag of convenience (FOC) campaign. I have been the ITF inspector for the ports of Queensland since 1998. Some highlights in my position of ITF inspector would have to be seeing the look of joy on the faces of crew whom you assist whatever their concerns may be, which is just about an everyday occurrence. I have to mention the respect of my union the MUA, the ITF in London and the ITF Asia-Pacific office, the All Japan Seamen’s Union and the All Japan Dock Workers Union in inviting me to Osaka to assist the great unions there in the FOC week of action campaigns in Osaka and Kobe ports in 2003. We assisted their members in the Australian style of inspections, it was a great exchange of experience for all. Another highlight of recent times (April 2005) was a young Philippine seafarer who was given assistance by this office to find employment. He phoned the office to say he was in port and wished to meet me after all the exchanges of correspondence and assistance to him and his family,. There were a few tears of joy for both of us, it really is a small world. I would be remiss if I did not thank all the volunteers who greatly assist the office in this work. International solidarity as seen in recent disputes will beat the owners and the operators both on shore and at sea every time. Thanks to comrade Kathy Whelan ITF co-ordinator for New Zealand for the opportunity to write for the ITF section in the “Maritimes.” All the best to all Maritime Union of New Zealand members. Smooth sailing. In solidarity, Graham Bragg, ITF inspector.
Kiwi wharfies part of international campaign for workers Maritime Union Local 13 member Grant Williams attended an ITF training course in Australia in May 2005, along with Port Chalmers Local 10 member Adam Law.
by Grant Williams I was privileged to be chosen to attend an ITF Flags of Convenience Inspectorate training course in Newcastle, Australia at the beginning of May 2005. The opportunity to learn, to represent MUNZ and Auckland Local 13 was an honour. I’ve been asked to share some of what I learned on the course. The ITF is the International Transport Workers’ Federation, an international federation of democratically governed trade unions of transport workers. The ITF represents all categories of transport workers: road transport, inland navigation, railways, seafarers, port workers, fishing industry, civil aviation and tourism services. The ITF was founded by seafarers’ and dockers’ unions in Europe in 1896 and derives its strength from remaining firmly under the control of its member unions. The ITF has three major functions: • it promotes solidarity worldwide between trade unions and workers • it represents trade unions and workers at an international level • it provides information and education worldwide.
The ITF not only represents member unions, but is unique in that it also intervenes directly in industrial relations for ships whose owners have chosen to operate under flags of convenience – seafarers serving on those ships (who cannot join an affiliated national union) are direct ITF members. The ITF campaign against Flag of Convenience shipping originated in July 1948 at the ITF Congress in Oslo. The ideas behind the Flag of Convenience campaign were refined at the ITF Congress in Stuttgart in 1949 – ideas which are more or less the same as today. ITF unions first raised questions of flag transfers to Panama as early as 1933, but ‘flagging out’ became a major threat to the world’s seafarers after the end of the Second World War. This was due to the postwar upswing in trade, plenty of cheap, surplus wartime shipping and an increase in shipowners using the Panamanian register. Ship owners of ships that fly a Flag of Convenience are in essence choosing to give their ship a false nationality. It allows them to pick what laws they will obey and what wages they will pay. The Flag of Convenience countries do not enforce their laws and seafarers’ rights aboard these ships, therefore creating an environment where there is little or no protection for seafarers.
Seafarers working on Flag of Convenience ships have received shockingly low wages, very poor on-board conditions, work long periods of overtime without proper rest, with little shore leave and inadequate medical attention. Onboard safety procedures and vessel maintenance are neglected and in the worst cases crew can become virtual prisoners and unable to afford to get back home. It takes little thought to imagine the potential for even worse treatment once such a ship leaves port. It is watersiders who in the end must bear the burden of implementing the practical side of the Flag of Convenience campaign. We can talk to the seafarers and become the eyes and ears of the ITF so that action can be taken. The ITF Flag of Convenience campaign depends crucially on the willingness of watersiders (who get no direct benefit for themselves) to take solidarity action. This type of action takes place almost every week in some part of the world and many thousands of exploited seafarers have reason to be grateful for it. I would like to thank our comrades who are ITF inspectors for the important, lifesaving work that they do, with a special thanks to Dean Summers, Matt Purcell and Kathy Whelan.
ITF Women’s Seafarers’ Conference Rio de Janeiro April 2005 by Rachael Goddard Women seafarers from 15 different countries took part in this one day Women Seafarers’ Conference for the second time since 1997. The conference was opened by Brian Orrell from NUMAST Great Britain. Also heading the conference was David Cockroft and Sarah Finke from ITF London, Sharon James (Dockers section ITF London), Myriam Chaffart (Dockers section Belgium) and the conference was chaired by Jacqueline Smith (Seafarers section Norway). The conference was made up of forty women working in different sea borne occupations. These ranged from a ship’s captain and deck and engine officers, to ratings and cruise ship and ferry seafarers working in hotel/hospitality and catering grades. One of the most important parts of the gathering was when we broke into working groups depending on what language you spoke, and what gender you were (We had a decent male participation that also reported back to the conference.) We had to collectively answer two main questions: 1. What have been your experiences in getting into and doing your current job/ union position? 2. What are your most important issues? This brought about different reactions. Some problems were not being heard as young women in male dominated situations, a lack of child care arrangements for work and for union activities, and lack of parental leave entitlements in collective agreements. Some women had received pressure to prove themselves to their male colleagues, lack of respect, sexual harassment, and bullying. There is a need for women to have the opportunity to advance, with family friendly policies covering pregnancy and maternity support. Other problems included lack of training, power abuse, and extraordinary workloads. The male participants reported back as well, which built strength among us knowing that we are in this struggle together. Issues from their workshop on how they saw women’s issues included resistance from women to participate in union activities, and the need to
approach the problem from the wider perspective of equality rather than as “women’s issues.” It was felt that women should organise women (but women can also organize men!), as women don’t respond to men organising women’s activities. Positive promotion of women in unions was a key point. Discrimination, harassment, lack of empathy with trade unionism, work opportunities, casualization, education and cultural context were all important in making judgements about strategy. One issue was how companies dealt with couples when both are working onboard, and pregnancy exams aboard FOC ships. We had some horrid examples of women’s oppression at sea provided to us but one story told verbally reported to us by a male participant stood out in particular. A toilet system onboard a ship became blocked and no one could figure out why until they eventually found a fetus stuck in it. Bearing this and other case studies in mind it was agreed that occupational health and safety, and medical health, needed attention with issues of confidential, free and easily accessible contraception for women seafarers as well as for men. We also discussed confidential options available for pregnancy exams, miscarriage and abortion.
The issue of getting women into the industry and keeping them in the industry as well as in the Union was widely discussed. We could relate many of these issues back to women at sea in New Zealand. There needs to be a forum to express concerns, and maybe the use of mentoring and strategies like Positive Discrimination or Affirmative Action (used by the ILWU and MUA) whereby women are encouraged and given every opportunity to get involved. Women at the conference also called for greater attention to be paid to issues such as job prospects and discrimination, for new guidance on bullying and harassment, and for unions to improve pregnancy and maternity provisions as they varied widely. The Flag of Convenience system itself is a barrier to the promotion of gender equality, and women noted that increased casualization and outsourcing made the situation worse. Seafaring unions need to give women a clear voice – and this must go hand-in-hand with organising and activating goals aimed at strengthening trade unions. This is particularly important in the cruise and ferry sector. The participants will persist in building an active role in the ITF and their unions as part of a wider women’s network.
New Zealand representatives at the ITF Conference, Rio de Janeiro, April 2005, from left, Terry Ryan, Dave Morgan, Kathy Whelan, Helen McAra, Rachael Goddard and Joe Fleetwood
Training goes nationwide By Fred Salelea MUNZ National Educator Our Maritime Union Training Education Programme which started in February this year in Whangarei with Branch President Steve Murray, Branch Secretary Wayne Anderson and their members has now taken us to the far reaches of the South Island with Wayne Finnerty, Ray Fife and the other members in Bluff. Since our last article we have also been in Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth, and Port Chalmers. In every Branch that we have trained at, Branch Officials have made appearances to support and organise lunches, tea and coffee and in most instances stayed on to participate and support their members, which is a credit to our officials. The boys from Auckland represented five companies along with our brothers from the Seafarers’ fraternity. Officials Branch President Denis Carlisle, Secretary Russell Mayn and Health and Safety Officer Bob Riwai all made appearances to support the boys during the course of the day. Wellington had an excellent turnout thanks to the organising skills of Rachael Goddard, who along with her counterpart in Auckland Juanita Barton will be training up to help with preparations and the delivery of our women’s programme. It was good to have our National General Secretary Trevor Hanson call in to support, have coffee and then stay the entire day.
National Vice President Joe Fleetwood, Wellington Seafarers’ Secretary Mike Williams, Wellington Waterfront Secretary John Whiting all made appearances as well as ITF co-ordinator with Kathy Whelan. We visited the Port of New Plymouth with Branch Secretary Shane Parker and Branch President Graham Roberts and their membership, this group mirrored all the Ports we visited in that we have a new generation evolving in this young society which has come from 100 years of our unionism. Where those who were here before us fought the struggle to achieve the conditions that we have, the struggle goes on and we are only the caretakers of this job. Branch President Davey Dick and the boys down at Port Chalmers showed a great interest like most others eager to gain more knowledge of our union and gain the skills necessary to become activists in our union. Thanks to Davey and the boys for an interesting course, and the mentoring and coaching after. (Cheers Diesel for the tour of the town.) We have to work hard to preserve what we have and to improve our conditions. Through our education programme we will learn to organise, build and strengthen our membership so that we can sit across the table and look the employer in the eye and demand what is rightfully ours, a fair wage and good working conditions. Solidarity.
Industry training seminars by Fred Salelea
Health and Safety Trainer Expressions of Interest for MUNZ Training Course“The Waterfront Industry and its Future Economic Development.” This is a one day advanced delegates’ course. The course will provide participants with a greater understanding of the wider economic issues affecting the Industry, and an improved ability to work together to resolve issues and recognize goals for the future of the Industry. This is a one day course that will be delivered once central North Island and once central South Island. There are limited seats available and places are reserved for one delegate per branch, places must be confirmed. South Island course details: Monday 29 August, venue to be confirmed. North Island course details: Date: Monday 15 August 2005, 8.30am – 5pm Venue: Lake Plaza, Rotorua Course: The Waterfront Industry and its Future Economic Development Leave: This is EREL(Employment Related Education Leave) approved – 14 day notice to the employer. Delegates limited to one per Branch, closing date for expression of interest is Monday, 25 July 2005 Please Contact: Fred Salelea at MUNZ Local 13 Cellphone: 027 229 1432 Email: email@example.com
Wellington delegates with Union educator Fred Salelea
Health and safety training by Fred Salelea Health and Safety Trainer
Stage two of the CTU Worksafe reps Health and Safety course is now underway. This course is a follow on from stage one where it builds on the skills and knowledge gained and the main focus centered on investigations into workplace incidents and accidents. There is an in-house stage two course organised for Health and Safety reps, on 30 June in Auckland. Invites for this course have been sent out, for those who miss out on this inhouse course there will be another one further down the track. Remember be ever vigilant to the safety and well being of ourselves and others because if we were to die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days, but the family we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. Website: www.worksafereps.org.nz
Self-loading alert on the San Liberatore
Methyl Bromide Report Released
The Maritime Union discovered overseas crew were working on the Wellington waterfront loading frozen fish on the San Liberatore on Tuesday 24 May 2005. The Union took immediate action and worked with the CTU to obtain a ruling from the Department of Labour. There were also some hard negotiations with the company involved. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the effect of overseas crews working on the wharf would be a disaster for wages and conditions, and the jobs of local waterfront workers. He says the Department of Labour have clearly ruled any approvals to New Zealand fishing companies to employ foreign crew only allow crew to work on the vessel – they do not allow crew to work on the wharf. The Department has also requested the Union to pass on the names of any other vessels where foreign crew is being used on the wharf, says Mr Hanson. “They have given assurance that they will intervene and if necessary take compliance action if laws and regulations are being broken.” He says it is vital that union members act as eyes and ears to report any self-loading by crews as it is imperative the practice of self-loading does not become established at any port. “This is an ongoing situation and we must keep alert, any similar incidents should be immediately investigated and reported to the National Office of the Maritime Union.”
Health officials say Methyl Bromide is not responsible for the deaths of Nelson port workers – but questions continue to be asked as suggestions of other chemical poisoning have been put forward. The release of a Department of Labour (DOL) “cluster study” in May 2005 into methyl bromide exposure at the port says fumigation operations have a low risk of exposure to workers. But the report also says that solvents used to treat timber prior to fumigation may be responsible for symptoms experienced by some workers. DOL says atmospheric monitoring at the port identified background levels of “volatile organic compounds” including solvents used in timber preservative treatments and diesel fumes, before and after fumigation. Symptoms experienced by workers included unpleasant smells and immediate reactions including stinging eyes, tingling lips, and sometimes breathlessness. DOL says that these symptoms are different to what would be expected with Methyl Bromide. Blood tests of workers confirmed there was no significant exposure to methyl bromide, according to DOL investigator Dr Bill Glass. However, a University of Canterbury toxicologist wrote to the January 2005 edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal saying that Methyl Bromide could be a factor in developing motor neuron disease. Dr Ian Shaw said Nelson’s five deaths from the disease since 2002 out of a population of 87,000 was high, especially as they all worked at the same port. ”We should not rule out the Nelson workers’ exposure to Methyl Bromide as a factor in their development of motor neuron disease,” he says. Further blood tests and an investigation into solvents and preservatives used in the treatment of timber are to be carried out.
Late News Death of Norm Quinlan
Death of Bill Barber
Former national Vice President of the Waterfront Workers Union Norm Quinlan has died during a visit to Italy. Mr Quinlan was in Italy for the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in which he served as a gunner with the New Zealand Army. Mr Quinlan (aged 83) lived in New Plymouth, and was a veteran of the 1951 lockout. A full obituary will follow in the next edition of the Maritimes.
Former merchant seaman, waterfront worker and unionist Bill Barber died on 18 June 2005. Mr Barber (aged 79) was a veteran of the 1951 waterfront lockout on the Auckland waterfront. A full obituary will follow in the next edition of the Maritimes.
The Department of Labour cluster study can be downloaded at their website: http://www.osh.dol.govt.nz/publications/ research/MeBrReport0505.pdf See Nelson Port Roundup on page 29 for a report on the recent meeting on Methyl Bromide with health officials
Election 2005 “The Maritimes” approached political parties with the request they supply a short 250-word article outlining their key policies of interest to maritime workers and the maritime industry. The following replies were received, appearing in the order they were received. No reply was received from the National Party transport spokesman Maurice Williamson. New Zealand First Party
Ship in or ship out? New Zealand is an island nation tucked way down at the bottom of the Pacific. As such, we need to trade to enhance our economy and indeed our social well-being. Trade requires ships, for the vast majority of goods travelling across international borders, on a worldwide basis, are moved by ship. In New Zealand’s case, in excess of 99% of cargo tonnage arrives or departs by ship. Additionally, being basically two islands, we are well suited to transport some internally moved cargo by ship. Yet our shipping industry is almost nonexistent. Our coastal fleet is struggling and has shrunk alarmingly, and our Pacific and international fleets have disappeared totally. When it comes to shipping we are at the mercy of the world. We have barely a toe in the water and freight rates are climbing. The reason for the demise of our shipping is simple. Both National and Labour Governments have literally taxed it out of the water. In comparison, foreign operators all work under favourable tax regimes. New Zealand First is a firm advocate for introducing our own favourable tax regime and encouraging owners (coastal operators) and ‘would-be’ owners into shipping. We tend to favour the tonnage tax regime similar to that adopted in Britain. Under this system the owner/operators pay a minimum pre-determined level of tax. In return they are obliged to comply with specified registration, employment and training regulations. Such a system could easily work here. Believe me, the spin-offs from a developing and successful Merchant Fleet are huge – both for those involved and the country as a whole. Let’s make it happen.
The Alliance Party is the party for all working New Zealanders. We have the best policies for workers. The Alliance is committed to real change not talk. Where workers are fighting for a better deal we are there on the picket line with them, and we have supported maritime workers in their fight against scab unions and casualization in New Zealand ports. Our key policies for maritime workers include full support for the immediate introduction of cabotage to protect jobs for New Zealand seafarers, and stronger protections for casual workers. We will make sure there are protections for casual and part-time workers and make it possible for them to carry over service from job to job so they qualify for sick leave and parental leave. The Alliance wants a minimum wage of $15 an hour, a 35-hour working week with no loss of pay and the right to refuse unreasonable hours or shift work. Workers should have the right to strike to enforce their Collective Agreement, to oppose lay-offs, to support other workers and for political reasons. The Alliance would strengthen collective bargaining to move from multi-employer and multi-union agreements to national pay and conditions across industries and occupations. We would remove restrictions that allow free-loaders to get out of paying bargaining fees. The Alliance will push for stronger employment legislation to ensure greater workplace democracy. We will support a Labour-led Government to keep out National. The Alliance keeps Labour honest and is a voice for workers.
Peter Brown MP, Deputy Leader and Transport Spokesperson, New Zealand First (Peter is a qualified Master Mariner)
Jill Ovens Co-Leader, Alliance Party
The Progressive Party stands by its longstanding commitment and that of its predecessor parties to achieve a balanced transport policy for New Zealand which incorporates marine transport as a key element. We are committed to a rationalisation of those of our shipping arrangements which appear to privilege foreign shipping in our ports, particularly in matters affecting the working conditions of crews. We share the views of those, including not only maritime unions but some international and local businesses, who have expressed concerns about recent increases in freight rates and reduced competition in coastal shipping services. As Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Progressives leader Jim Anderton has been instrumental in encouraging and facilitating joint meeting with representatives from across the maritime transport sector to discuss coastal shipping policy to identify issues of substance and areas of agreement so that progress can be made in reaching common action to resolve outstanding problems. Thanks to the efforts of Progressive MP Matt Robson workers now enjoy a minimum of four weeks annual holiday. More generally on the industrial front the Progressives have endorsed and supported recent enhancements to the industrial legislation which replaced the Employment Contracts Act, and supports further initiatives to improve this legislation further to create a framework for equitable workplace relations. We support and encourage collective bargaining by workers through free and independent trade unions. Jim Anderton MP, Leader, Progressive Party
Labour Party New Zealand’s maritime industry has played a key role in the country’s economic success since this Labour-led government came to power. As the economy continues to grow, so to will the role that coastal shipping in particular, plays in it. Alongside this recognition of the importance of shipping, this government has worked hard from day one to make things better for those that work in it. It has invested in skills and training and changed the law to make the workplace safer and fairer for workers. Workers are now properly paid for public holidays and the move to four weeks leave comes in next year. On top of this, this government is putting more money in the pockets of those with families. From 1 April this year to 1 April 2007, families on $25,000 to $45,000 a year will be on average $95 to $100 a week better off – and that’s not counting the big increases in childcare and housing subsidies. Come the election we face a choice. We can turn back the clock and have hard fought for workers’ rights stripped away, bargaining power removed and $100 a week packages for working families replaced by single figure tax cuts. Or we can vote for a bight future with Labour, a future of fairness and opportunity for the maritime industry and the nation. Pete Hodgson MP, Minister of Transport
The focus of United Future’s commercial fishing policy is the “New Zealandisation” of our fisheries. We want to level the playing field so that New Zealand vessels with New Zealand crew are competitive when it comes to harvesting this resource. One or several of the following measures will help to achieve that goal. United Future will: Require two compulsory fisheries inspectors to be present on foreign charter vessels at the expense of the New Zealand company contracting the charter to ensure QMS compliance; Require at least one compulsory labour inspector to be present on foreign charter vessels at the expense of the New Zealand company contracting the charter to ensure compliance with New Zealand minimum wage laws and labour conditions; Require that all foreign charter vessels are to remain outside a 25-mile limit; Require that all fish caught in New Zealand waters must be processed either on board the vessel within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on land, and that regardless of where it is processed all fish caught in New Zealand waters must be landed before export to ensure it is correctly branded as Product of New Zealand; Require that a certain percentage of all fishing quota that is leased out by “paper” fishermen must go to New Zealanders; Require that a certain proportion of the crew on board all foreign fishing vessels are New Zealanders;
The Maori Party supports the focus of the Employment Relations Law Reform Act towards the protection of parties, and the incentive to promote good faith in our collective negotiations. Increasing numbers of Maori and Pasifika peoples are reaching working age, and there are increased proportions of migrants in the population. Employers and unions should be aware of the varied motivations, values, communication styles and attitudes of their employees. For employees recently entering the New Zealand workforce, if ‘culture shock’ is prevented, a workforce is more likely to realise improved productivity and reduced absenteeism.The basic premise of cultural safety is that many of the things we take for granted about our own attitudes and practice are determined by culture. An awareness of one’s own culture would empower employers to respond more effectively to employees from cultures different to their own. Appropriate recognition of cultural safety within the workplace would demonstrate kotahitanga, the principle of unity of purpose and direction. All should be encouraged to have a contribution and then ideally to reach consensus. The Maori Party believes the maritime industry must:value staff, recognise and respond to cultural diversity, recognise the unique contributions employees can make once they are able to maintain the essence of who they are in their work setting, invest in skill development and better use of technology; and recognise that quality employment and productivity emerge from a decent work environment and decent wages.
The Green Party remains firmly committed to doing everything we can to support seafarers and associated workers in your campaign for some form of effective cabotage for what’s left of New Zealand’s shipping industry. We continue whenever possible to attempt to persuade Government to take action to reverse what has happened to NZ coastal shipping since 1994. We work as closely as we can with the Maritime Union and with the Shipping Federation to persuade Labour to take action to redress the ongoing loss of NZ owned shipping and NZ jobs on our coastal routes. My colleague Rod Donald and I have been really disappointed at the evident lack of progress in this area despite earlier indications that we might actually be getting somewhere. We see it as critical that both in terms of industrial relations policies generally, and in regards to the protection of coastal shipping in particular, that we have a Labour – led Government after this election, backed by a strong group of Green MPs who can help stiffen Labour’s spine and conscience. The Green Party has consistently backed Labour for its positive reforms in the employment area, including supporting the ERA and its amendments, four weeks leave for all workers, and improvements in the Holidays legislation, although at times we think they don’t go far enough, quickly enough. We are very concerned about what will happen if we end up with a National-led Government, and hope that workers in the maritime sector will consider voting Green with your party vote to help us get some urgent action on critical issues like cabotage and a host of other social justice and environmental matters.
Tariana Turia, MP, Maori Party leader
Sue Bradford, MP, Green Party
[abridged as contribution was over 250 words]
Larry Baldock MP, United Future Party
ACT Party The economic growth in the last decade or so has not flowed through to workers’ pockets. Higher taxes and inflation have robbed workers of the fruits of economic growth. Inflation has pulled workers into higher tax brackets, so we now have a rich government and poor people. Five years ago, the average worker paid 21 cents marginal tax rate. Today the average worker pays 33 cents marginal tax rate. Nearly a quarter of full-time workers pay the 39% rate supposedly affecting just 5% of taxpayers.ACT says the government should end its over-taxation of working New Zealanders and return the money to those who earned it. ACT proposes a simple tax structure, with just two rates of tax. 15% up to $38,000 and 25% after that. For the average worker on $41,000, this would mean an extra $2,000 a year in take-home pay. This is the same as a 7% payrise under current tax scales. Lower taxes are the key to higher investment, job growth and wage growth. For too long, New Zealand wage growth has lagged behind the rest of the developed world. It is time that government played its part in putting New Zealand on a higher growth path. Lower taxes are fundamental in achieving this. So too is welfare reform. Despite reported ‘labour shortages’ we have 300,000 working age adults on welfare in New Zealand. ACT is the party of lower taxes, higher economic and wage growth and higher standard of living for all New Zealanders.
Your vote is important. At the recent national executive meeting of the Maritime Union held in May 2005 the question of the forthcoming general election was discussed. It was agreed that in no circumstances could we see the return of policies that would return us to the 1990s and the Employment Contracts era. Since that meeting, it has become very obvious that the election is going to be a hard fought one and that the result could be very close. National is promising tax cuts. What does this really mean for workers? The CTU has launched a campaign with the central message that workers will pay several times over in reduced wages and conditions, reduced public services such as health, education, ACC and increased interest rates, for any tax cuts a National Government promises. All Maritime Union members must begin educating family and friends about the damage to workers a vote for National will cause.
Trevor Hanson General Secretary, Maritime Union of New Zealand
Rodney Hide MP, Leader ACT Party
Auckland Seafarers by Gary Parsloe
Ports and Shipping Forum The conference was held at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland, 27 April 2005 and was opened by Bryan Gundersen, Partner, Kensington Swan. The keynote address was given by Dr. Bruce Hucker, Deputy Mayor of Auckland City. His address was under the heading of a “New vision for transport in Auckland and implications for supply chains.” Bruce stated that transport was the most important issue facing Auckland. He stated that Auckland transport has suffered from under investment in the past but now seems on track to receive a financial boost. Bruce went on to say that we need a more balanced approach to transport with a balance between investing in building more roads and investing in more public transport. Bruce concluded by stating that the Ports of Auckland creates an $11 billion annual flow into the regional economy. The next speaker was Captain Tim Wilson, Director, New Zealand Maritime School, Manukau Institute of Technology. Tim addressed the forum under the heading of “Tackling implications of Maritime labour shortages”. Tim stated that the Maritime industry is hurting from an ever-increasing competence shortage, threatening safety standards, and hindering growth. The Maritime School is involved in superior training for seagoing and shore based positions throughout Asia and is witnessing first hand the effects on the industry. He also analysed the effects if the skilled labour shortage increases, and we learned about the School’s response to the shortage in New Zealand. He also spoke on how can we encourage logistics as a prominent career choice, decreasing staff turnover through investing in their intellectual growth and full time versus casual career opportunities at the ports. After smoko the first speaker was Rod Grout, Chief Executive Officer, Pacifica Transport Group and President, New Zealand Shipping Federation. Rod addressed the forum under the heading of “The tide is turning for coastal shipping” and he stated he holds more hope for coastal shipping today than in the past.
May Day celebrations: from left, Maritime Union trainer Fred Salelea, Auckland Seafarers Branch Executive member Patrick Honan, John O’Neill and Auckland Seafarers Secretary Garry Parsloe
He went on to say that prospects for coastal shipping are looking up even when foreign shipping companies pay no tax or ACC levies giving them a massive advantage over New Zealand shipping operators. Rod said the Government’s view was that as only 15% of coastal cargo is carried by foreign shipping there is not much to worry about. But when you take out the fuel and cement trade and then the captive Cook Strait trade you can see that foreign vessels carry around 1.3 million tons which is around 90 containers moved per day, or 33000 containers per year. Rod said that a container levy would decrease cargo on overseas ships from between 7% to 8%. This would give a gradual minor increase in coastal rates by 10%, no reduction in quality or frequency of services, and long term improvements in the coastal trade. Rod said that the above would take the trucking problems off the roads, giving pollution and energy relief. He stated that if the Government is committed to ensuring a coastal shipping industry as an important part of the New Zealand economy then it must assist in introducing another six vessels trading between Auckland/Onehunga and South Island ports. These six vessels would give New Zealand the balance that is required to get trucks off the road and that cargo into fuel efficient, low pollution and congestion friendly transport. Rod concluded by stating that coastal shipping is so important the only way forward for New Zealand is to support what is an absolute necessity, that of a New Zealand coastal shipping industry.
Next up was Mike Formoso from Singapore Terminals PSA Corporation. Mike addressed the forum under the heading of “Managing the complexities of the worlds’ largest trans-shipment hub”. With a daily average of 60 vessels arriving, Singapore Terminals earned the prestigious title of Container Terminal of the Year at the 2004 Maritime Asia Awards. With the demands on vessels to remain on schedule heightened significantly, it is important understand the issues and realities involved from a practical sense on how delays can be minimized through efficient planning. He spoke about the future of port facilities, and questions such as what should a terminal do when a vessel arrives on time, but the berth is occupied through usage of the previous vessel being delayed – are penalties the best answer? He discussed the terminal’s course of action when a number of vessels arrive simultaneously, and priority when a delayed vessel and an arriving vessel are from the same carrier company. After lunch we had a presentation from Jeremy Boys, Chief Executive Officer, Primeport Timaru. Jeremy addressed the forum under the heading of “Boosting potential through Primeport Timaru’s Developments for the South Island.” He spoke on providing an efficient port facility for carrier investments, reviewing the development of Fonterra’s dry storage facility, and will Primeport be the most economical port to utilize in the South Island? I did not hear all speakers, but overall it was an informative forum and well worth attending.
Burma Democracy Movement by Gary Parsloe
May Day rally gets underway in Albert Park, Auckland
Auckland May Day The Auckland May Day Committee met earlier in the year and agreed that in 2005 we should hold a May Day Function on the night before May Day, then as usual have the March up Queen Street to Albert Park. The Function was held in the New Orient Restaurant, Strand Arcade, Queen Street, Auckland on Saturday 30 April 2005. As Chairman of the May Day Committee I opened the Function by welcoming all the Delegates, Union Officials, Members of Parliament and friends of the Trade Union Movement. I introduced and thanked the Union Made Choir who along with other musicians provided excellent music and entertainment all night. Laila Harre then introduced the presentations from Unions on Campaigns of the last year, current and future years. There were presentations from New Zealand Nurses Organization on their Multi Employer Collective Agreement, the EPMU on their 5% Campaign, the NDU on current Campaigns, UNITE on young cinema workers and other Unions on their campaigns. The Maritime Union presentation was given by Patrick Honan, a cook on the Golden Bay Cement Vessel and Auckland Seafarers Branch Executive Delegate. Patrick’s presentation was about the benefits of being Union and all the benefits that the Union delivers. Patrick’s presentation was well received and is still being commented on as an excellent input into the Function. In regard to the music it was great to hear everyone joining in and singing
along to “Solidarity Forever”, “Joe Hill” and other working class songs. It was a great evening and because it was so successful the May Day Committee have decided to continue with a Function on the night before the March on May Day next year. On May 1 we assembled at the bottom of Queen Street at noon, where we offered speakers an open mic to deliver workers issues to the Rally. The May Day Bus Tour had left the Auckland Trades Hall at 10am and visited sites of Historical interest to the Labour Movement with commentary by Dean Parker. Sites included Onehunga cemetery where a labour martyr lies buried, the site of the workers’ occupation of Westfield Freezing Works in 1937, Bastion Point where New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister is buried and the site of Ngati Whatua land protest, and much more. After the May Day Bus Tour arrived back at the Rally we assembled with our Banners behind the NDU Picket Bus and proceeded to March up Queen Street then into Albert Park. When we arrived at Albert Park the Marchers were treated to a BBQ (supplied by the Mad Butcher) and two bands that the May Day Committee had secured earlier on in the year. All in all it was one of the better May Days with both the Function and the Rally/March being well attended.We look forward to an even larger turn out next year and the May Day Committee will be meeting later this year to start the planning for next year.
As the President/Chairman of the Auckland Branch of the Council of Trade Unions I had the privilege of chairing a public meeting for the Burma National League for Democracy held in the Trade Union Centre, 147 Great North Road, Auckland, on the 21 April 2005. After I had welcomed everyone to the meeting I then introduced the first speaker who was Mrs. Fiona Thompson, founder of the New Zealand Burma Support Group. Fiona gave a brief explanation of why we called the meeting which was to give the exiled Burmese Democratic Leaders an opportunity to tell New Zealand about the situation in Burma and to ask for our support. The next speaker was U Maung Maung, General Secretary of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) and the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB). U Maung Maung gave an outline of the recent history of Burma, the nature of the regime, the lack of respect for human rights, the position of the people and why the delegation has come to New Zealand. The next speaker was U Hla Oo, the President of the FTUB and an MP elected in 1990 for Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). U Hla Oo stated that he was forced to leave the country and now was living in Thailand. He outlined the long history of struggle for freedom by the Burmese people against the military junta, the role and philosophy of Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, the role of the union movement and the strategy being followed by the democratic movement as a whole, including the reasons for trade sanctions and the current campaign to stop Burma taking the chair of ASEAN until it restores democracy. The next speaker was U Daniel Aung, chair of the Lahu National Development Party (Liberated Areas) and an MP elected in 1990 in a constituency in Shan State in northern Burma. U Daniel Aung was forced to flee the country and was now living in Australia. He outlined the even longer struggle by the minority ethnic people of Burma for democratic rights, the reasons for the objective of a federal state and the strategy being followed by the various
[Burma democracy continued from page 19]
ethnic groups, also including the reasons for trade sanctions, how NZ can help and the outcome of the delegations’ meetings with NZ Ministers and Officials and with Fonterra. The last speaker was Dr. Myint Cho who was the Secretary of the Delegation. He spoke on the absolute need to restore Democracy in Burma. He then spoke about the struggle in Burma that is taking place today in an effort to restore Democracy. After Dr. Myint Cho’s speech I read the following resolution that was carried unanimously at the Council of Trade Union’s Local Affiliates Council Meeting earlier in the day: “That the Auckland Local Affiliates Council of the NZ Council of Trade Unions resolves to give its full support to the International Campaign for democracy in Burma, and in particular supports the call by the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma for sanctions against trade and investments in Burma, and for the Association of South East Asia Nations to refuse to allow Burma to take the chair of that organization, until human rights and democracy are restored”. I then opened the meeting up for questions to which the delegation answered. It was a most productive question and answer time. By the end of what was a long meeting I am sure that everyone who attended benefited and gained a better knowledge and understanding of the present situation in Burma.
Documentary maker brings “Betrayed” to New Zealand by Garry Parsloe On 23 April 2005 the Maritime Union in Auckland hosted documentary maker Elaine Briere at the New Zealand premiere of Betrayed, the story of the Canadian Seaman’s Union dispute, which lasted exactly the same many days (151) as our own 1951 Day Strike/ Lockout. Before we sat down to view Betrayed I took the opportunity to welcome documentary maker Elaine Briere to Auckland and introduce historian, journalist and writer Dick Scott who gave us a comprehensive presentation on the dispute, going into detail on the lead up to the dispute and a full run down on all events from the very start of the dispute. I also welcomed George Andrews well known documentary maker, John Bates who produced the 1951 documentary, Cathy Casey and Robin Hughes both Auckland City Councillors, Matt McCarten and Mike Treen from Unite, Derek Craig of AMEA, Russell Mayn and members of Local 13, and the Executive and members of the Auckland Seafarers Branch of MUNZ. Also mentioned was Captain Mike Halloran, John O’Neill who took all the photos, Gerald Hill who provided the accommodation for Elaine Briere and the apology from Mike Lee, Chairman of the Auckland City Council who was
unable to attend because of earlier commitments. The Betrayed DVD was absolutely riveting and a must for every worker to see. Elaine Briere must be congratulated for putting Betrayed together; she has produced an excellent DVD. After we watched Betrayed we had question time where Elaine fielded questions from everyone and went further into all aspects of the dispute. The whole evening was excellent and all those who attended have commented to me on how much they enjoyed the night.
Elaine Briere answers questions from the audience at the Auckland screening of Betrayed
Sonja Davies: feminist, unionist, peace activist Around 1,100 people gathered in the Wellington Town Hall on Sunday 19 June 2005 for the funeral to celebrate the life of former MP, trade unionist and peace activist Sonja Davies. Sonja Davies, ONZ, died on 13 June 2005 in Wellington. She was 81. She was carried into the Town Hall by a number of her women friends as the Wellington union women’s choir sang Bread and Roses, the song from which the first volume of her autobiography took its title. The ceremony was lead by her friend, Charles Chauvel and the speakers were the Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Parliament’s Speaker Margaret Wilson, Council of Trade Unions
secretary Carol Beaumont, Sir Tipene O’Regan, on behalf of her iwi, Ngai Tahu, and her brother David Mackersey. Many of the speakers paid tribute to Sonja Davies’ work advancing the rights of women, working people, and in the peace movement. Helen Clark paid tribute to a passionate woman who stood up for what she believed in all her life and was a “force to be reckoned with” when she was fighting for the rights of others. Margaret Wilson told the gathering that Sonja Davies was a great leader who had made a huge contribution to the advancement of women, particularly though the Working Women’s Charter “an agenda for equality for working
women – an agenda we are still pursuing today.” Carol Beaumont spoke about her activism for women’s issues within trade unions. “Sonja was a woman whose life inspired many others, those who knew her personally and many who didn’t know her.” Her brother, David Mackersey described her loyalty to her family and her everlasting friendships with many people, while Sir Tipene O’Regan remembered what he called Sonja Davies’ great quality, “an enduring and indomitable optimism.” A private cremation ceremony followed the funeral.
The Tridale Dispute Dick Scott’s introductory speech to the New Zealand premiere of ‘Betrayed’ by Elaine Briere, Auckland Maritime Club, 23 April 2005 This is a special occasion. It’s great to have the historic Canadian seamen’s struggle recorded on film. For New Zealand our support of the Tridale strikes and the black ban on the scab Ottawa Valley were seminal events that bonded two countries together. Three years later, in the 1951 lockout, it was the Canadian workers who were quick to support us. In preparing these remarks, for the first time ever I counted the actual number of days of the five month strike. Incredibly it turned out to be exactly the same 151 days as our own struggle. My memory of the Tridale crew is of their youth and their determination, and of the ship’s cook, a 74 year old ex-Nova Scotia police chief, who was as solid as anyone in the five months battle. Another memory is of Toby Hill and Jock Barnes greeting the crew on their release from four months jail to whisk them away in a fleet of taxis to spend their first night of freedom staying in a top hotel. A photo of the event was highlighted in my autobiography published a few months ago. The crew’s strike leader, Don Williams, prepared a pamphlet I edited with an illustrated 24 pages which sold well at sixpence. It began: “This brief history of one strike sector in a great world struggle is dedicated to those members of the Canadian Seamen’s Union who lost their lives in doing their duty as unionists.” The deaths referred to picketers murdered at Los Angeles and San Francisco. Walsh and Baxter, the FOL leaders, issued two pamphlets in reply, attempting to justify their failure to support the seamen, a clear warning of how they would behave in 1951. In the waterfront lockout history, 151 Days, I wrote:
Jock Barnes and Toby Hill greet the Canadian Tridale crew on their release from four weeks’ jail, 1949
“Australia, New Zealand, the American West Coast – that is the maritime triangle of the Pacific. And from the third corner of the triangle Canadian and US seamen and dockers extended their hand-clasp to ring into Canada from U.S.A. Its members had cemented solidarity with New Zealand during the five months strike of the ‘Tridale’ in Wellington and the 59 day black ban on the strike-breaking Ottawa Valley in Auckland. These men remembered the activities of Walsh and Baxter who earned “particular tribute” from the Canadian Government. It was appropriate that the Ottawa Valley, still manned by the US company union supported by Walsh, also visited New Zealand during the waterfront lockout.
It was the only vessel which went from port to port with every member of the crew scabbing.” Betrayed, the name of the film we are about to see, is the perfect word to cover the treachery of Walsh and Baxter in supporting the enrolling of scabs from America to form a Canadian shipowners’ company union. Elaine Briere could not have chosen a more accurate title. All power to her film making in a world, not least Bush’s America, where even basic civilized behaviour cannot be expected. Dick Scott is a former editor of the New Zealand Waterside Workers Union journal “The Transport Worker” and is the author of 151 Days, the seminal account of the 1951 waterfront lockout
Dick Scott with Auckland Seafarers’ Secretary Gary Parsloe at the Auckland screening of Betrayed, 23 April 2005 (photo by John O’Neill)
Wellington Seafarers by Mike Williams
Offshore Seminar Report for Port Round On Wednesday 11 May 2005 a successful seminar took place in New Plymouth regarding a strategy for the renewal of the oil and gas agreement. Twenty delegates attended representing all departments and from the remits off the rigs and supply boats there is now a multi employment agreement being drawn up to put to the industry. NZ Offshore will pick up in September 2005. Thank you to all the MUNZ members who made the effort to get to New Plymouth and contribute to this seminar making it a success.
Kent Dispute The Kent was held up for twenty four hours after the MSA ruled in favour of what the Union had previously campaigned for, that there had to be a person on the wheel and a person on look out when in enclosed waters. This would increase the work load of MUNZ members aboard the Kent. The Crew insisted that due to the increased workload there would need to be two more crew on board the vessel. The Captain suspended the members and ordered them off the ship for refusing to sail and in trade union fashion the members refused to leave the vessel which led to a successful outcome with the company increasing the manning on the Kent. The crew was supported by the company’s other vessel the Santa Regina, thanks to all who contributed to the successful outcome.
Crew meeting Aratere by Mike Shakespeare The catering crew of the Aratere asked the Wellington branch officials to attend a meeting on the ship on 17 June 2005 over the issue of new duties for the stewards in taking over the shop on the board the ship. The company have moved to disestablish the Information Officers from these positions and want the members of MUNZ catering department to pick this work up as we do in the Arahura, and this was to take place on 18 June 2005. The company at the time of writing has had minimal contact with the branch over this issue. We were fortunate to have with us at the time our Australian comrade Mark Armstrong, the branch secretary for Southern New South Wales, who had been attending the ACTU-NZCTU-ITF Toll conference in Wellington who came to the ship with us. After hearing the problem we asked Mark to address the crew, he started by explaining that he deals with Toll in Australia and that there was very little difference in the way Toll operate in Australia as to New Zealand.
Mark went on to say the company has in some cases written directly to the membership and not gone through the Union. Also when you thought you had an agreement with them the next time you met them things had changed. The most important thing that we could do as members is to stick together and work collectively through the Union, otherwise the company would pick people off one by one which does not serve anyone well in the long term. Mark closed by saying that he was honoured to be able to address the crew and to wish us well in our struggles. The meeting finished with a resolution from the crew that the status quo would remain until such time as the company and Union meet to resolve this problem. The Company is due to meet the Union on 21 June to sort this issue out. It was good to have an official of the MUA come down to the ship and address the crew as not enough rank and file members are able to meet with them, but I believe any opportunity we are able to get we should grab with both hands as it can only help to bring a better understanding of each of our problems.
Women’s officer Congratulations to Zoe Atkinson who is serving onboard the Purbeck as she has been elected by the Stopwork meeting to be the Wellington Woman Officer. Thanks to Rachel Goddard who covered this position until Zoe’s election after Julie Raro resigned.
MUNZ Seafarers at the New Plymouth Offshore Conference, 11 May 2005
Seafarers’ Strategy Conference The Wellington Seafarers’ Branch of the Maritime Union of New Zealand organized a three-day Seafarers’ Strategy Conference that ran from 8–10 March 2005 in Wellington. The proceedings of the Conference were put into a booklet form and a short video of the Conference was produced by Vanguard Films. Copies of both are available from the Wellington Seafarers’ Branch of the Maritime Union. The following article is the introduction to the booklet.
by Mike Williams The maritime industry is going through enormous changes at the moment. The giant of global shipping, Maersk– P&O Nedlloyd, has big plans for New Zealand including “hubbing”, which means in the not too distant future there will only be two significant international ports in this country – probably Mount Maunganui and Port Chalmers. The rest of the country will be serviced by feeder ships, road and rail transport. On the other side of the equation the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and the Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) are in the process of amalgamation. MUNZ has also just signed a federation arrangement with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). These new formations will significantly rationalize workers’ response to industry changes. Another major change in the industry has been the arrival on the scene of Toll Holdings, a new type of employer, the first company in New Zealand that is a true “logistics” operation and already the biggest employer of seafarers here. In response to this, the Wellington Seafarers’ Branch of MUNZ called a rank and file conference to begin the process of creating a new strategic plan. It was decided the conference should focus its attention mainly on Toll because this company will soon present the most representative face of the industry whether we like it or not. By doing this we are able to reveal something of the future character of our anti-worker adversaries, the shipowners and stevedoring companies, and clearly grasp the need for designing a sustainable fight against them. We can only muster our own forces if we can clearly identify and analyse who we are up against. And vice versa, we can only really target our opponents if we know ourselves and educate ourselves, which in turn can only be achieved in the ongoing process
of organizing. Educating and organizing are inextricably linked. There is an old Chinese saying: ”Help more people. Narrow the target of attack.” We have to help ourselves and our friends at the same time as avoiding the trap of fighting on too many fronts at once, even if the Government has forced us into multiple company agreements. Sometimes it may be correct tactics to strike amongst the weakest link amongst the employers, whereas at other times it may be wise to form temporary alliances with weaker companies against a larger corporation – particularly if the smaller entity is New Zealand owned. Most of the three-day Conference was conducted in a series of workshops, each dealing with different aspects of building a strategy. As well as this, we heard input from a number of special guests who included representatives from the MUA, RMTU, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Maritime Safety Authority (MSA), the Green Party, the Seafarers’ Retirement Fund (SRF) and wharfie members of MUNZ who deal with Toll in Auckland. The Conference began with a powhiri conducted by members of the Ngati Poneke club and was opened by Wellington Seafarers’ Branch President Mike Shakespeare and MUNZ General Secretary Trevor Hanson. The key note address was delivered by past president Dave Morgan. Perhaps the clearest message of the Conference was that whatever we do in our industrial, legal and political campaigns, we have to do it from a base of organizational strength with a unified vision of where we are headed and why. To this end education and cultural work especially amongst the youth members became a major theme of the conference. In fact increasing youth involvement in the Union was a strand of discussion which ran through all plenary and workshop sessions. Connected to this was a call to strengthen the delegates’ system. Every crew and every department needs its own active delegates to hold the organization together. Delegates are the blood running through the Union. They ensure rank and file control of the Union and provide inspiration for new members and new ideas for the future.
From feedback we are quite confident in declaring the conference a success. For our own part, we measured the success of the event mainly by the high quality of rank and file participation. It was creative, constructive and focussed for the full three days. The conference was workshop-oriented rather than dominated by speeches which maximized rank and file participation. Some remits were passed as recommendations for action but the work of the conference was not so much to formulate remits as to come up with creative and positive ideas which can be analysed and moulded into action plans in the coming months. They will then be implemented as part of a phased and calibrated strategy.
Port Roundup: Napier by Bill Connelly
Around and about The port is unusually quiet at the moment with most of the seasonal exports just about finished for this year.
Ohope Beach Accommodation in New Zealand Members should be aware that the holiday accommodation at Ohope Beach is now at a premium, because we now only have the one unit available for rental. Vacancies are still available commencing each Sunday, on a weekly basis. Bookings can be made through the Napier Branch, by contacting the Secretary either at the Union Office, his home or on his mobile telephone number.
Gold Coast Accommodation in Australia Please note that the confirmation period for bookings is now SIX MONTHS, which put quite simply means that members nationally can now book six months in advance. The next vacancy is a two-week period commencing Saturday 3 December to 17 December.
Election of Officers Barry Crawford has retained the position of President of the Napier Branch and Alan Burke has retained his position as Vice-President, for this financial year.
Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Port Operations On 1 April 2005 I attended a one-day seminar on “Maritime Worker Fatigue”, run by the Maritime Safety Authority (MSA), and also in attendance was the General Secretary Trevor Hanson and National Vice-President Joe Fleetwood. I found the seminar both interesting and enlightening, but found that the content was more directed towards seamen and fishermen, with no particular emphasis placed on shore based personnel who service the vessels. I have written to the MSA addressing my concerns, and requested that should something of relevance in relation to stress and fatigue come out of any future meetings that the MSA give serious consideration to it being included in the “Code of Practice for Health and Safety in Port Operations.”
Mt Maunganui Tauranga by Phil Spanswick We have recently ratified the Owens Cargo Company Collective Agreement with the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union which brings together all of the Owens Union members in one Collective Agreement for the first time. Congratulations to the delegates and members of both Unions for their resolve to gain the Collective Agreement. On Thursday 24 February an Auckland delegation met with our Executive to discuss the concept of a Northern Region Alliance and working closer together. This meeting was followed on 18 May with a meeting with Whangarei and Auckland Seafarers to continue discussions on the Northern Regional Alliance. We are currently in negotiations with Ballance Agri-Nutrients to renew their Collective Agreement and we have initiated bargaining with P&O Ports.
2005 Negotiations Omniport negotiations have been completed and our members have a new collective agreement in place for the next two years, with an immediate increase of 3% and a further increase of 3% in a year’s time. It was gratifying that this employer has seen fit to recognise our members, employed on a casual basis, in retaining their relativity with their permanent counterparts, in that they have also received the same percentage increase for the next two years. The Omniport agreement was ratified and signed off by the General Secretary on the 16 May 2005. Negotiations with Hawkes Bay Stevedoring Services and Tolls have broken down, with every likelihood that both of these will go to mediation in the not too distant future.
Tauranga/Mt Maunganui Branch and Auckland Local 13 Maritime Union discussing the Northern Regional Alliance: from left to right, Phil Spanswick, Craig Harrison, Tony Gibbons, Brian Harrington, Dave Phillips, Terrance Tai, Marty Westhead, Selwyn Russell, Denis Carlisle and Russell Mayn (photo by Corrine Paraore)
Port Roundup: Bluff by Ray Fife Mid year has come about with the port experiencing a relatively busy period considering there has been no real growth to speak of. There has been quite a number of fishing trawlers using the port to unload their cargo lately due to an extremely good fishing season.
Amaltal Amatal Fisheries are using unionized labour once again, this is particularly pleasing given the fact that Mainland had been working the trawlers in the past. We also had a barge in port to load a shipment of coal, this due to the fact that there were not enough rail wagons around to carry the coal by rail to Lyttelton. We can only hope that this will lead to further shipments.
Southern Cross Stevedoring As with most other ports our collective contract with Southern Cross Stevedoring has expired and to date we have not set any time frame to commence negotiations.
Amalgamation Feedback from our members in regards to amalgamation is guarded at the moment. The general feeling is more information is required before they can make any decision, as this is a very important issue and we must weigh up how a new structure will work and the benefits it will provide to the membership. More meetings of the working party are to be held, and more information exchanged so that the membership are kept fully informed and the right structure is put in place if this is to go ahead.
Elections The elections will be held later on in the year and no doubt there will be talk of which party will get whose support. Labour has put in place a lot of policies that have helped the union movement, but on the other hand have made some decisions that have supported the business community more so than the working class. We can only hope that the members make the right decision, any support to a party to the right could have a dramat-
ic effect on the union movement if they get into power. Remember 1991 when National put in place the Employment Contracts Act and the ramifications it had on the union movement throughout New Zealand, we suffered more so than most other unions and we must ensure that this does not occur again. Do not be complacent, make sure you vote and that your vote goes towards a party that is left, centre left.
Port Roundup: Lyttelton Local 43 by Les Wells One of our major achievements this year is getting a settlement with the Lyttelton Port Company for a three year agree-
ment. The term of the agreement for three years was strongly supported by the members as they were looking for some stability over this period. The negotiators believe we got a reasonable settlement but as always you never satisfy everyone.
Toll With Toll we hope we are nearing conclusion with letters being exchanged over the final two outstanding points. One being the inclusion of our Super, and the second is that the local document will be appended to any national document that may be put in place. Lyttelton Stevedoring Services are finding it very frustrating in trying to get Peter Bruer around the table to talk.
Pacifica At Pacifica I believe we will be moving forward with their talks in the near future as they have now settled in Wellington. It does my heart good to see Mr. Grout saying he sees an increase in Coastal shipping – I hope he intends to share any increase he gets with his work force on and off the ships.
MSC One of the major problems to have arisen is the new service that MSC has introduced to our Coast. I was called down on Sunday 1 May to look at a ship called the MSC Teresa; what I saw horrified me even after 35
years in the industry. It may be a new service but they certainly are not new ships. The MSC Teresa, according to the Captain, is the pick of the fleet – the fleet being the MSC Teresa, MSC Jeanne, MSC Paola, MSC Lucia and MSC Federica. These ships will be running between Tauranga, Lyttelton and Wellington. The Teresa is 31 years old and looks every inch of it with very poor maintenance in most areas. Container Crane drivers watched rats running around on top of boxes as well as lashers seeing them down below. Below deck in one hatch on the lower deck lids, one of the wheels was a block of rust. We asked for the Maritime Safety Authority to come down and have a look. We found out they were already coming down to check out other problems found in Tauranga which I believe was to do with ships’ radios’ emergency generator and the oil and water separation plant in the bilge. If this is the cream of the fleet we are in trouble with the rest that are coming. I can’t express enough that Tauranga, Wellington and Lyttelton as the three ports of call must make sure that our members are given as much protection as we can by using every means at our disposal to make sure these ships are brought up to New Zealand standards or driven off the coast. Our members are entitled to a safe and healthy working environment.
Port Roundup: New Plymouth by Shane Parker The Port is relatively quiet at the moment with slowing down of the dairy season. Proposed offshore drilling programs are
yet to start. The members of New Plymouth Stevedoring Services have just renewed their contract with a modest increase. There are still big plans to put large quantities of coal through the port. Our biggest worry at the moment is the proposed takeover of P&O NedLloyd by Maersk, and the rationalization that is sure to follow. Wiremu Ratana, a well known local member is not well and is in hospital at the moment. I am sure all the members around the country who know Wire will be wishing him the best.
Port Roundup: Port Chalmers Local 10 but obviously with his political aspirations this was not possible. Good luck at the other elections Victor.
ITF Recently we had one of our members Adam Law visit Newcastle in Australia to attend ITF inspector training. From the reports we received from Kathy Whelan and her Australian counterpart, Adam worked well in the ITF environment. Ship inspections and other activities were undertaken and Adam reported back the course was interesting, he now had a good understanding of the work of the ITF, and would put this into practice in our port in the future.
Sports Tourney Our members are already preparing for next year’s tourney and entries so far will see about 20 venture to the Mount. It is rumoured that most will include the Sevens at Wellington on the way up. Anyone considering going please contact Winky as soon as possible.
Delegate Training Recently we had Fred Salelea from Auckland to train around 15 members as delegates.
Fred stated he was very pleased with the standard of the participants and this is a good sign for the future. One good thing is that all the new executive have been through delegate training.
Retirements Peter Broere, Ben Johnson and Ray Sinclair have retired recently and will be honoured by a function soon. All have made significant contributions to our Union over the years and we wish them a long and happy retirement. Ray Sinclair a former President and national executive member was made a life member of the Maritime Union at our last national executive meeting. Ray has played a very important role in our branch and his advice and thoughts will be missed.
USA Trip Recently I attended the Mining and Maritime Conference in Long Beach, California, USA. It was interesting to learn about workers’ struggles around the Pacific Rim – when you hear what is happening in other countries we can be reasonably proud of the wages and conditions we have achieved here. The main conclusion I drew was the level of solidarity among those attending, and knowing the support unions in different countries extend to each other when in dispute, such as the West Coast USA dispute, Patricks dispute, Carter Holt and Mainland dispute, and more recently the strike and picket in Auckland. Long live solidarity.
Our horse Ohoka Jasper has finally started
to find some form running a slashing second at Forbury recently much to the relief of its backers including the General Secretary, the ITF co-ordinator, the Lyttelton branch secretary and the rest of us. There is more to come. Our other horse in the North Island has yet to race but we believe is working well. Shanghai Sam is its name and we are currently trying to talk the General Secretary into joining the syndicate that races it. Watch this space.
Amalgamation Serious discussions are taking place to finalize the amalgamation plans. The proposed June conference did not happen as there are still some issues to sort out and a small committee is meeting regularly to help sort out these issues.
Holiday Home The Holiday Unit continues to be popular with most weeks taken up. Any inquiries should be directed to Ian Quarrell on 03 4727 166 or Phil Adams on 03 4728 052.
Union fees Although the fees were agreed to be raised at the last Annual General Meeting, this has not yet happened. But as we need to become more proficient and accountable the increase will take effect shortly.
Paul Corliss Our branch would like to acknowledge the work of Paul Corliss on his retirement as industrial officer of the Lyttelton branch of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. Although we have had some differences over the years, we have always found Paul to be informative and helpful when negotiating in our port. Our branch wishes Paul all the best in his retirement.
Maritime Union Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch Executive 2005: from left (standing) Davey Dick, Phil Adams, Clive Giles, Mike Lysaght, Adam Law, Andrew Jennings, (front row) Geoff Duncan and Don Hill (photo by Victor Billot)
With the polls showing Labour and National neck and neck it is time to think long and hard about who to vote for and make sure everyone votes. National has made it quite clear they intend overturning any gains Unions have made under Labour such as time and a half on stat days, the Holidays Act and many more. I find it somewhat strange the CTU campaign for 5% increases being held before an election, as I believe we should be waiting to get Labour back in before introducing such a campaign in election year.
by Phil Adams Well with winter just about on us, we are witnessing a very busy time, particularly in the terminal where 3rd shifts and long weeks are the norm. This is making the members seek new ways of addressing long hours and 3rd shifts. A roster is now being looked at on the same lines as Lyttelton to give people predictable time off and an even spread of third shifts. Although the roster met with some resistance last time, most believe it is time to reintroduce it for the good of all. The roster is part of talks to conclude the terminal agreement and although ratified in principle some months ago, some points are still to be agreed upon. By the time this article goes to print all issues should be resolved. One issue that has been well received is the cranedriving on third shifts. All drivers state the new working system has been successful and productivity is up which is what everyone hoped given the rest periods involved.
Port Chalmers Cargo Services Port Chalmers Cargo Services negotiations are well underway and all are hopeful of an early settlement although we are still seeking replacements for staff leaving or retiring. One good aspect of PCCS is they are one of only we believe three companies in the Southern Cross group doing alright.
Branch Elections The 2005 branch elections have been held and all positions bar one required a ballot. Andrew Jennings and Davey Dick stood for the president’s position with Davey winning in the ballot. Clive Giles is the vice-president, Phil Adams secretary-treasurer, and the new executive is Adam Law, Mike Lysaght, Geoff Duncan, Andrew Jennings and Don Hill. Trustees are James Binnie and Graeme Hutton. Congratulations to those new to the executive , you are now representing all your members. Having young members now interested in the running of the Union is a good sign for the future, in fact the editor of the magazine showed a glimmer of interest in running for the executive
Wellington Waterfront By John Whiting The vagaries of ship scheduling continue to affect our members with the withdrawal of ANL Progress and the replacement vessel ANL Esprit from Wellington. This impacts particularly on our members employed by Capital City Stevedores but also from the marshalling perspective on our Centreport (Port Co) members.
MSC MSC have also replaced their previous larger container ships with half a dozen small and much older ships, the oldest dating back to 1971. Following advice from the Lyttelton Branch the first of these ships the MSC Teresa was treated to a very thorough inspection before work commenced and it’s pleasing to see remedial maintenance work is being done on these ships. We intend to carefully monitor these vessels on future calls.
Pacifica Our negotiations with Pacifica have been concluded and a one year agreement endorsed by the members. This agreement provides a wage increase the Pacifica workforce could live with and also provisions to add two GWE’s to the strength.
New cranes A recent announcement by Centreport advises of the ordering of two new Leibherr container cranes to commence work in June 2006. These machines, which will replace very old and outdated cranes, will be very well received by our members and we look forward to further announcements on reequipping the existing fleet of straddle carriers.
Self-loading alert A recent incident in the Port highlighted our ongoing duty to be vigilant in protecting our jobs. We became aware that the foreign crew from the New Zealand owned fishing vessel San Liberatore had come on the wharf and were packing cartons of fish into containers. We challenged the fishing company’s right to do this. Negotiations involving the General
Secretary, the Branch, the Port Company, and the principals from the fishing company took place and resulted in the overseas workers going back aboard and shore labour being engaged for the container packing. Despite initial difficulty in getting them activated, the Immigration Department eventually reissued the clear statement that foreign crew are not permitted to work on the wharf. Our Branch, together with the Wellington Seafarers, recently participated in a delegate training day at which several members took the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge in dealing with the future union activity on the Wellington waterfront. We extend our deep appreciation to Fred Salelea for the motivating and userfriendly training he delivered and look forward to the follow-up.
Port Roundup: Gisborne By Dein Ferris The fat lady has been and gone leaving the Port with slightly less than last year. The squash season is over with the Company having handled some forty odd ships so far this year. We are currently in negotiations with our Employer but as of writing have not settled. Having returned from our National Executive meeting in Wellington in early May it appears that most ports are in negotiation and the only thing on offer is a small percentage. The squash season went off without too many hiccups due in part to the cooperation between the union and our new manager. We like many other Ports are experiencing a few problems with ships’ crews doing or being told to do our work, mainly pontoons. Kathy Whelan from the ITF has been following this up. The Port company appears to have done a 360 degree turnaround and now runs its marine services again. We will continue our contract negotiations hopefully to a fair to all conclusion and await further developments in our amalgamation issues.
Port Roundup: Auckland Local 13
by Russell Mayn It seems that this is another time of uncertainty with the General Election just around the corner and the proposed amalgamation with the RMTU. We have to become political with the election upon us as it is imperative for the Union that a centre left Government is returned to power in New Zealand. As members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand we must look at the industrial policies of a political party before we give them our vote. If a party does not have an industrial policy then it does not deserve consideration.
â€œTory times are tough timesâ€? The National Government were responsible for the Employment Contract Act, other National policies were tax cuts for the rich, selling of annual holidays, no penal rates, privatization and a record that sees them constantly voting against any pro worker legislation.
The possibility of returning to the dark days of an Employment Contracts Act or similar right wing legislation does not bear thinking about. This is a time for clarity and resolve amongst the working people of New Zealand to make sure that their conditions and right to bargain collectively is preserved. This does not mean a free ride for any of the political parties currently in power, the tough questions should still be asked and pressure put on these politicians to deliver in the areas that are important to our industry such as Cabotage and the use of imported labour in New Zealand. Free trade policies should firstly contain labour clauses that contain fair trade policies where workers can compete on a level playing field. In Local 13 the Port is extremely busy with the same old problems of not enough skilled labour to meet the peaks. This is the same for the conventional Port and the container terminals. The industry employers since 1989 have failed to address the problem of the number of permanent stevedores required on the waterfront, the argument always seems too centered around an increase in the number of part time or casuals required to move cargo over the docks.
P&O/Fonterra Everyone is awaiting the outcome of the P&O Fonterra decision as to whether the 4100 cargo will remain in Auckland or move to Tauranga. Along with this is the bid from the Auckland Regional Holdings to gain a 90% shareholding in the Ports of Auckland. So it is very much watch this space. We will report in more detail on the proposed amalgamation when both unions have a clearer picture of the final package. The Toll conference recently held in Wellington covered the logistics chain in New Zealand and in Australia and how by using the Trans Tasman Federation along with other inter union accords all transport unions can best preserve the conditions at their workplaces. The resolutions agreed will deliver practical outcomes for members employed in Toll operations.
Union education The union education programme courses run by Fred Salelea the National Training Officer have been very successful in Auckland. They have inspired the workforce into action with some excellent results at the coal face. Our thanks to all the delegates who participated in these courses and to Fred. I took the opportunity to sit in on one for a couple of hours and found them not only informative, but very entertaining.
Veterans The formation of a Maritime Veterans Association in Auckland and nationally is well overdue, so if there are any retired or not so retired members out there willing to have a go at getting this up and running please contact Local 13. The history of the union and the members who moulded it is well worth celebrating.
Seafarers move in
Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 Vice President Dave Phillips welcomes Prime Minister Helen Clark to the Wharfies Reunion, Point Chevalier RSA, 12 June 2005 (Photo by Terry Ryan)
The Auckland Seafarers Branch have now moved into Waterfront House. Local 13 extends a warm welcome to Garry and his members and we look forward to working in a closer relationship with our seafarer comrades. In finishing I would like to take this opportunity in thanking the National Officers of the Maritime Union of New Zealand for the actions they have taken in defending our industry against the use of foreign labour. Touch one touch all.
Port Roundup: Nelson
The Tasman Maritime Federation is now in place and can only strengthen our links and raise our expectations of moving forward together.
by Bill Lewis
Offshore Conference Members from Nelson and Lyttelton to Wellington and Napier convened in New Plymouth at the Devon Hotel to discuss issues and remits for the NZ Seafarer Offshore Oil and Gas Collective Agreement. Background was presented by Mike Williams to bring members up to date with previous crewing of offshore vessels, in particular working jointly with the Maritime Union of Australia with the involvement of vessels arriving and departing that country and the difficulty getting a contract signed up with Swires (Solutions) for their supply vessel working out of New Plymouth. Charterman Marine was represented by Tim Saville who gave a picture into the future with Pohokura Tui Maari Kupe Maui fields being developed but not in the immediate future, first work expected around year’s end. He also recognized that it was important to keep a skilled group of seafarers employed as this assists him and ourselves. The training for those skills needed for new and existing workers was put forward. A solid discussion took place on the need to work towards a MUA/MUNZ Offshore Agreement. This is because the same employers, same ship owners operating in the Trans-Tasman Offshore and businesses becoming common in both countries. Workers need to follow this direction through our Tasman Maritime Federation. Full participation in the afternoon produced some excellent remits for our contract. The workshops provided ideal conditions for members to express their views. Thanks to all groups, especially the caterers.Arthur Whittaker gave a full account of his struggle on his vessel the Pacific Chieftain to win recognition under duress, particularly the treatment by fellow workers and company. Arthur requires support from other seafarers to keep plugging away. Other issues debated were reinstatement of cabotage on NZ coast campaign for the right to work in our own coastal waters.
An all representative meeting organized by Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in Nelson last month was attended by Duncan Murray and I. Three study reports/investigations were presented. The Nelson Medical Officer of Health reporting on motor neuron disease and methyl bromide concluded that the cluster study did not show a correlation between the two as the Nelson graph showed no increase compared with nationwide studies. Also further data needs to be collated around fumigations and health outcomes of workers by key agencies. The Medical toxicologist for the Department of Labour says that no longterm studies have been undertaken on low level exposure to methyl bromide. The blood test readings taken by Stevedores Services were worthy of further research. A low average level was found however with some spiking higher. An Occupational hygienist monitored the air around and in the fumigation shed three and found a low level of toxicity below danger levels and said that the shed was industry best practice. The testing was done with prior notice given to the fumigators and in stark contrast with previous operations at the port. Other toxic gases have been noted in ship’s holds from timber preservatives and other causes, and requires to be checked with the Maritime Safety Authority to follow this up. The MSA has only become aware of this issue and are working to see if the health and safety requirements are met. MUNZ will follow this issue up until a satisfactory conclusion has been reached.
New Cook Strait ferry to enter service Toll Shipping says its new leased ferry Kaitaki will enter service in August 2005. The 182 metre long RO RO ferry will be the largest on the Cook Strait service, with capacity for 1600 passengers and 600 cars, but no trains. The ship was built in Rotterdam for Irish Ferries as the Isle of Innisfree in 1995, and was chartered to P&O in 2002 as the Pride of Cherbourg, before being chartered as the Stena Challenger on the Stena Lines Baltic Service. The Kaitaki will replace the withdrawn fast ferry Lynx and the freight ferry Purbeck, which will be taken out of service in August 2005. Despite the withdrawal of these two ferries, the Kaitaki will increase Toll’s Cook Strait passenger capacity by around 26 per cent and its freight capacity by around 47 per cent. Toll NZ will pay a charter fee and an annual management fee of $1.15 million for the initial five years of the lease, with an option to extend it for three more years. Toll’s Australian parent company, Toll Holdings, is guaranteeing the lease for the vessel, which is valued at $110 million.
Letters Golden gloves It was very pleasing to see the story published in the April 2005 edition of The Maritimes about Dunedin Boxer/ trainer Ryan Henry. 2005 is the Centennial year of the Otago Boxing Association. At Queens Birthday weekend the occasion was marked with a Centennial Social function on the Saturday night, and the staging of the annual South Island Golden Gloves Tournament. Ryan Henry fought twice in the same day in the Senior Improver Heavyweight Division, winning the semi-final in the afternoon and the final in the evening. As Ring Announcer, I took great pleasure in proclaiming him champion! Ryan is a very likeable young man, and the Association Committee looks forward to many more successes for him. Alan McDonald Patron, Chairman, OBA Centennial Organising Committee Life Member and former Executive Member, New Zealand Seafarers’ Union
Unions at work I am writing to say I had the privilege of attending the “Unions At Work” course on Wednesday 6 April in Wellington. I would like to express my (and I’m sure all others in attendance) thanks to the officials who found time to be present and especially to Fred Salelea (Auckland branch) who, as tutor ran the course in such a way that we all gained a lot and left on a positive note. I personally found the day educational and look forward to the follow up courses set out in the programme. The more courses of this nature the better, as they must be beneficial to us all and the union movement on the whole. Tony Mowbray 1154, Wellington Seafarers Branch
All the best It is with regret that I leave the Maritime Union of New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Seafarers Union, a union that I have been part of since 1970. My time spent in the Union has allowed me to enjoy the conditions and wages that were fought hard for, I wish all my ex-shipmates the best for the future and also the union officials who are endeavouring to keep the union oncourse. Unity is strength and always remember the jobs belong to the union. Geoffrey Raumati Union numbers 2245, 1368
Foreign labour I am concerned to read of foreign workers living in containers inside Lyttelton Port Company gates. Foreign ships’ crews, genuine crews, are all signed on ships’ articles, and their ship is granted a twenty-eight day work permit when they arrive on the New Zealand coast. It is obvious that these men are imported cheap foreign labour and should require a visitor’s visa with a work permit attached, the same as any other New Zealand company’s immigrant coming into our country, and be paying New Zealand tax (to help pay for the New Zealand unemployed they are replacing.) Lyttelton Port Company Chief Executive Mr Peter Davie said the “. . . the practice was normal.” Since when has the Lyttelton Port Company become a substandard camping ground? Has it got consent from its shareholders, Christchurch City Council, to put its port land to this use and been inspected by Christchurch City Health Inspectors? The policy of importing cheap foreign labour by shipping companies to work in New Zealand should be fully investigated by the Government. It is a very short step from foreign workers on ships to be working ashore in New Zealand ports, and another small step to outside the gates. Tom McMullan, 2484
[abridged letter originally sent to Christchurch Press and Christchurch City Council]
Australian visit ITF co-ordinator Kathy Whelan has forwarded to the “Maritimes” the following letter from Australia.
The training went well and I was impressed with the two guys you sent over. Grant Williams from Auckland seems keen and will visit vessels without much trouble. I was particularly impressed with Adam Law from Port Chalmers, with a bit of encouragement and work he will I am sure be the goods. We inspected five vessels, and on Wednesday I put the two Kiwis in charge of one of the inspections, the ‘Cape York’. They brought back an almanac of paperwork and gave an impressive report on the visit. With Grant and Adam you have a chance of building a network of young people around you in order to protect ourselves from the evil forces which at are at large in the industry. We need to do it for all our own self preservation and the future of the ITF and unions. Kia ora and fraternal greetings to MUNZ. Matty Purcell (ITF Assistant Coordinator Australia)
New generation of Seafarers Please find enclosed a photo of some of the crew members on the coastal tanker Taiko. The photo shows roughly three generations of New Zealand seafarers spanning from Bosun Alby Payne to the 4 trainee AB’s on either side of him, messrs Tava Vete, Peter Vete, Johnathan O’Neil and Byron Cumming. The employment of the trainees was negotiated by the Auckland branch of the Seafarers with Silver Fern Shipping during the 2001 contract round. They are the first trainee AB’s to enter the Union in about twenty years and their arrival is of great significance to us. The trainees have been able to enter the New Zealand shipping industry via our Union and so understand the importance of the Union in their working lives. They have embraced our culture easily.
Their arrival also strengthens the Union’s ongoing relationship with Silver Fern Shipping as their supplier of unionized workers, a basic but very important function for any Union. These young men are as a result able to work as New Zealanders on New Zealand ships – a birthright that is not understood or accepted by the so-called “Labour” Government. It is hoped these new members will fill vacant AB positions that arise as older members decide to “sling their hooks.” In this way they will be able to carry forward the strong tradition of unionism and seamanship that has been left to them in these jobs. P. Harvey President, Auckland Seafarers’ Branch, Maritime Union of New Zealand
Movie Preview: The Take The Take is a documentary film by Canadian director Avi Lewis produced in 2004 and featuring at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July and August 2005. The economic collapse of Argentina in 2001 pushed half its citizens below the poverty line and served as a potent omen of where the world might be headed under globalization. But citizens of that country may well be at the vanguard of a new economic activism that wrestles corporate control away from governments and multinationals and gives it to workers. This documentary features Lewis and No Logo author and activist Naomi Klein as they examine globalization and visit an abandoned factory in Argentina, where workers who’ve been unemployed for three years take inspiration from the slogan ‘Occupy – resist – produce’ when they seize the deserted business and start it up again.
Website: for further information and screening times of this documentary and other films including the documentary “A Decent Factory” go to www.nzff.co.nz
Seafarers’ Retirement Fund updates members on insurance The rules of the Seafarers’ Retirement Fund mean that active eligible contributing members have life and disablement insurance cover. A member of the fund who is not actively paying into the fund is called a “deferred member” and is not eligible for this insurance cover (and does not pay for it.) ”There are a number of SRF members who are not making contributions and should be deferred members,” says SRF Chairman David Scott. He says if these non-contributing members start paying into the Fund again, they must complete a new Personal Statement for the insurer. “Until this new application has been checked and accepted by the insurer, these members’ insurance cover will remain at zero.” Mr Scott says some SRF members have not provided a new contact address when they have moved. “This is important as we are unable to contact them should the need arise,” he says.
All members who have changed address should send their new contact details to the fund administrators, whose contact details are below. If you have questions regarding your insurance cover or wish to change your contact address please contact the Fund’s administrators, Jacques Martin. They can be contacted by email, phone or by mail, as follows: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Phone: (04) 381 0582 Or 0800 732 752 Mail: Jacques Martin New Zealand Limited, P O Box 606 Wellington Attention: Jan Barber
Regional Contacts Whangarei Mobile: 021 855 121 Fax: 09 459 4972 Address: PO Box 397, Whangarei Auckland Seafarers Phone: 09 3032 562 Fax: 09 3790 766 Mobile: 021 326 261 Address: PO Box 1840, Auckland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Auckland Local 13 Phone: 09 3034 652 Fax: 09 3096 851 Mobile: 021 760 887 Address: PO Box 2645, Auckland Email: email@example.com Mount Maunganui Phone: 07 5755 668 Fax: 07 5759 043 Mobile: 025 782 308 Address: PO Box 5121, Mt. Maunganui Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gisborne Local 38 Mobile: 025 6499 697 Address: 5 Murphy Road,Gisborne Email: email@example.com New Plymouth Phone: 06 7589 728 Fax: 06 7513 646 Mobile: 027 2755458 Address: PO Box 659, New Plymouth Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Napier Phone/Fax: Mobile: Address: Email:
06 8358 622 025 2174 289 PO Box 70, Napier email@example.com
Wellington Seafarers Phone: 04 3859 288 Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 021 481 242 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wellington Waterfront Phone: 04 8017 619 Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 021 606 379 Address: PO Box 2773, Wellington Email: email@example.com Wellington Stores and Warehouse Local 21 Phone: 04 3859 520 Fax: 04 3848 766 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Nelson Phone/Fax: 03 548 7778 Address: PO Box 5016, Nelson Lyttelton Local 43 Phone: 03 3288 306 Fax: 03 3288 798 Mobile: 0274 329 620 Address: PO Box 29, Lyttelton Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Timaru Phone/Fax: 03 6843 364 Mobile: 021 2991 091 Address: PO Box 813, Timaru Port Chalmers Dunedin Local 10 Phone: 03 4728 052 Fax: 03 4727 492 Mobile: 027 437 7601 Address: PO Box 44, Port Chalmers Email: email@example.com Bluff Phone/Fax: Mobile: Address: Email:
03 2128 189 027 4475 317 PO Box 5, Bluff firstname.lastname@example.org