Issue 16 • December 2006
Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand
On the job with Maritime Workers
Conference 2006 • “Free trade” • Methyl Bromide www.munz.org.nz
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 1
Unity and Solidarity:
The 2006 Maritime Union of New Zealand Triennial Conference
“The Conference is an opportunity for officials and rank and file delegates to come together to build the Union”
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ver seventy delegates, observers and international guests attended the second Triennial Conference of the Maritime Union of New Zealand held from 24–26 October 2006 in Wellington. Representatives from all branches and locals of the Maritime Union – from Whangarei to Bluff – attended the conference, along with international guests from maritime unions in Australia, Japan and the United States of America. Political leaders speaking at the Conference included Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson, Green MP Sue Bradford and New Zealand First Deputy Leader Peter Brown.
CTU Secretary Carol Beaumont spoke at the Conference along with a number of industry, union and Government figures including RMTU Secretary Wayne Butson, CTU Learning reps co-ordinator Don Farr, Maritime New Zealand deputy director Bruce Maroc and Paul Nicholas of the Shipping Federation. A presentation from the two maritime industry superannuation funds the WISF and SRF was also heard by the Conference. The Conference occurs every three years and sets union policy.
A large number of remits were received from branches and an outline of the key remits passed is presented in this issue of the Maritimes. All branches are represented by delegates who have speaking and voting rights. The Conference is an opportunity for officials and rank and file delegates to come together and form links and build the solidarity and knowledge in our Union. For a full report on the Conference check out page 12 of the Maritimes.
From the Editor’s Desk Edition 16, December 2006
Contents General Secretary’s Report President’s Report News Methyl Bromide Fishing Industry Conference 2006 Conference remits ITF – CTU Port Roundups Obituaries Letters Free trade Maritime Scene Branch contacts The Back Page
4 5 6 8 10 12 16 20 21 28 28 29 30 31 32
‘The Maritimes’ is published quarterly by the Maritime Union of New Zealand. ISSN 1176-3418 National Office: PO Box 27004 Wellington New Zealand Telephone 04 3850 792 Fax 04 3848 766 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.munz.org.nz Editor: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Email: email@example.com Editorial Board: Trevor Hanson, Phil Adams, Garry Parsloe and Russell Mayn Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters: 7 February 2007 for next edition Cover photos: Waterfront worker John Wright secures a wind turbine, Bluff, 2006 (photo by Harry Holland) Thanks to our photographers including Terry Ryan, Harry Holland, Fred Salelea, Russell Mayn, Bill Connelly, Garry Parsloe and others
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 8017 614 Mobile: 021 390585 Email: email@example.com
This edition of the Maritimes comes after our second successful Triennial Conference. The Maritime Union is in good shape. Our magazine has now gone full colour after some negotiations with our printers. What it needs now are more contributions from members. Send in your photos and letters, and any ideas for what you want to read about. It has been a busy few months in the maritime industry and in general. The recent furore over the proposed Waterfront Stadium in Auckland seemed to be distracting us away from more important issues. One Roman Emperor once said to keep the ordinary people diverted you had to give them “bread and circuses.” I hope the New Zealand public don’t get distracted by our modern day circuses while more important issues go ignored. On the political front, the release of Nicky Hager’s book “the Hollow Men” put the cat amongst the National Party pigeons. Now Don is gone, and the Wayne Mapp get the sack in 90 days bill was given the sack from Parliament as well. That’s great, but we’re not out of the woods yet. So who is the biggest enemy for organized workers? John Key? Wayne Mapp? No – it’s apathy. Unless we do the work, get out and get involved in supporting worker friendly parties and policies, then we will be the authors of our own misfortune. Down here in the deep south we have seen some strange sights lately. Icebergs drifting up from Antarctica have been regularly sighted off the Dunedin coast. There is some debate about whether the appearance of these icebergs is a sign of global warming, but there is no serious debate about whether global warming and climate change is now a reality. The bottom line is that it will be workers who suffer the consequences of global warming. The fact is, without a livable planet there can be no economy. The next issue of the Maritimes will have a special feature on climate change.
National President: Phil Adams Direct dial: 03 4728 052 Mobile: 0274 377601 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org National Vice President: Garry Parsloe Direct dial: 09 3032 562 Mobile: 021 326261 Email: email@example.com Assistant General Secretary: Russell Mayn Direct dial: 09 3034 652 Mobile: 021 760886 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ITF Inspectorate: Kathy Whelan Direct dial: 04 8017 613 Mobile: 021 666405 Email: email@example.com Communications Officer: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Fax: 03 4730 114 Address: PO Box 339, Dunedin Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The recent furore over the proposed Waterfront Stadium in Auckland seemed to be distracting us away from more important issues”
Training Officer: Fred Salelea Mobile: 021 2291432 Email: email@example.com www.munz.org.nz
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 3
2006 a year of positive progress by Trevor Hanson General Secretary It has been an extremely busy time for the Maritime Union over the last several months. A number of major union events including our Triennial Conference and Triennial national elections have occurred, as well as a number of industry issues that have kept us occupied. We have seen some changes within and outside the Union, and my overall feeling is that 2006 has been a good year for the Union. We have continued to campaign vigorously on issues that affect maritime workers industrially and politically, and will begin the new year in a good position.
Union Elections The Union elections occur every three years, and are the basis of democracy in our Union. The results were announced on Monday 6 November and a full report from Returning Officer Phil Mansor can be read on page 6. The contest for a number of positions is a healthy sign of interest in our Union, and all those who participated should be acknowledged for their contribution to the Union. Congratulations are due to the successful candidates Phil Adams (President), Garry Parsloe (Vice President) and Russell Mayn (Assistant General Secretary), who represent a good cross-section of our industry and branches. We also extend our thanks to former Vice President Joe Fleetwood. Joe’s contribution to this important role cannot be underestimated, and his work at National Office in our dealings with the CTU, employers and the Government has been of great benefit to the Union. In addition, Joe played a major role in representing the Maritime Union in many international forums over the last three years. Joe was of course recently elected as branch secretary for the Wellington Seafarers branch, so he continues to play an important part in the affairs of the Union. Former Assistant General Secretary Terry Ryan stepped down at the last elections, after a lifetime of experience on the waterfront and as a Union official.
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The Conference voted that Terry should be retained as a advisor to the Union on a national basis so we do not lose his vast knowledge of the industry and skills. This decision provides a good indication of the respect and stature that Terry holds in our Union. However it is fitting that we note here Terry’s outstanding contribution in his elected role, which has been especially important in areas such as negotiations, international affairs and his understanding of the major changes in the global logistics and transport chain and how they affect us. It is also important to thank Returning Officer Phil Mansor who now steps down from his role. Phil has performed this important role with diligence and thoroughness and the Maritime Union offers him our thanks. The new Union returning officer John Whiting has had the opportunity to assist Phil in this election and we are confident he will live up to Phil’s high standards.
Casualization In times when it seems we are always fighting uphill against attacks in the free market capitalist economic environment, we need to remember we can have a positive effect. The Maritime Union has achieved some good results in a number of areas. At our conference, New Zealand First deputy leader Peter Brown announced a review would be held into casualization. Mr Brown told the Conference that Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson had agreed to a review across all employment areas. This move is welcome by both the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. Mr Brown’s comments that long-term casual jobs were unacceptable are a very promising sign and we will be keeping a close watch on where this review is going. The fight for secure jobs has been a long and hard one, but there is an indication that our continued efforts are having an impact.
Fishing industry decision The Maritime Union is pleased to report another victory for workers in the fishing industry. Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe announced new rules to improve wages and conditions for overseas fishing crews in October 2006.
Despite the usual attack by self-interested big players in the fishing industry, the Government stuck to its guns. Mr Cunliffe seems to have got some traction on the issues and we look forward to other positive action in his areas of responsibility. A full report on the decision and what it means for workers is in this issue of ‘the Maritimes.’
Methyl bromide It looks like time is running out for methyl bromide. The recent select committee report from Parliament indicates that the risks of this toxic chemical are high and is recommending tightening up on its usage. Methyl Bromide is a threat to workers, a threat to the wider community and causes environmental damage. Full credit goes to the Nelson based Campaign Against Toxic Sprays who have led the fight against methyl bromide. One fumigation company that uses the stuff is already talking about moving over to safer alternatives.
Training It is with some regret we note that Union trainer Fred Salelea is stepping down from his role as Union educator and trainer at the end of the year, and is returning to work on the Auckland waterfront. Fred’s contribution to the Union over the last couple of years has been substantial and he has become a well known face around all New Zealand ports where he has carried out his training programmes. The positive response from those who have attended Fred’s courses is testament to his motivational ability and dedication. We take the opportunity to thank Fred for his work and wish him the best in his new job, and have no doubt that he will continue to play an active role in the Union. The Maritime Union will continue to be involved in training through CTU courses but we hope to bring back our own courses in the future as well. On that note I wish all members a happy festive season and hopefully some time spent with family and friends over summer.
Conference shows Union in good heart by Phil Adams National President The Maritime Union is ending the year on a strong note with our 2006 Conference attended by delegates and observers from around New Zealand branches and locals. It was good to see a substantial number of younger members attending their first national meeting of the Union. The future of the Union is in our younger members and I encourage all branches to involve their younger members and encourage them to take an active role in the Union. I would like to thank all our international guests for their attendance and contributions to the Conference. Representatives of leading maritime unions from around the Pacific were present at our Conference. From Japan, we had a very senior guest Mr Hideyuki Tozawa who is the VicePresident of the All Japan Dockworkers Union (Zen Kowan). That such a leading representative of a large and respected Japanese trade union attended our Conference indicates the strong bonds between our two Unions. We very much enjoyed the company of Mr Tozawa and his wife Akiko, and conveyed our appreciation for the frequent occasions that the Japanese maritime unions assist us in our problems and disputes. A good contingent from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union was also welcomed to the Conference. Brothers David Gonzales (Local 10 – San Francisco), Jerry Ylonen (Local 8 – Portland) and Larry Manzo (Local 13 – Long Beach) presented the fraternal greetings of the ILWU and gave all of us lots to think about in their presentations and addresses. The ILWU is one of the worlds most well known unions, and our relationship with them is very important as they are a leading industrial force on the Pacific Rim. Last but not least our Australian brothers sent an excellent contingent of officials and rank and filers who all took a very active part in both the official and social parts of the Conference. Assistant Secretary Victoria Branch Robert Patchett, Worksite Delegate Victorian Branch Robert Lumsden and Deputy Secretary West Australian Branch Keith McCorriston all made contributions to the discussion and interchange of ideas.
Special mention of course goes to our good friend MUA Assistant National Secretary Rick Newlyn or as he is now known Rick NewZealyn, who is the unofficial MUA ambassador to New Zealand. Rick’s contribution to our meetings is always welcomed, but we are pleased to say he did not go home empty handed, as he made a heartfelt plea to the Conference for contributions to the Australian Union’s international aid agency APHEDA. APHEDA are running a programme in South Africa to support young children trying to get an education and MUNZ have agreed to make a contribution to this programme.
Industrial front and campaigns We have had a number of good results in areas such as the fishing industry, casualization, and methyl bromide. We have also had a number of successful industrial actions this year which have achieved good results. These include the action at Whangarei against non-union labour, which received the support of the ITF, and the Progressive dispute where our Union played a leading role in supporting this group of distribution workers in their victory. The recent action by seafarers on the Rotoiti is a good example of active unionism getting results and can be read about in this issue of the Maritimes.
Health and safety The Maritime Union has also spoken out on safety issues such as the Vega Gotland where there were a number of onboard deficiencies, and also the sailing of Cook Strait ferries in dangerous conditions. The goal is to arrive home in one piece, and if we are all safety conscious and do not let apathy creep in, we will all get to enjoy the Christmas period with our families and friends. Members should consider becoming a health and safety delegate, it’s a good way of getting involved in the Union, and your local officials can help you out here.
Maritime issues connected The talk of port rationalization and shipping calls continues to cause anxiety amongst members who wonder about their job security. Unfortunately the people who seem to run the industry are first and foremost interested in how much money they can get out of it, and the needs of the workers will always come last.
However our involvement earlier in the year with Keep Our Port Public came along at the same time as the ITF launched its “Ports of Convenience” campaign. We also made a stand after a certain shipping company took what we felt was a flippant attitude to their responsibilities to New Zealand ports and the people who work in them. Following our strong response, it was interesting to see that the company in question took the time to come in and speak to the Union about the issues. Simply put if we don’t stand up for ourselves, we will be ignored. When we take a stand, we get results. What we see as maritime workers is that issues of port rationalization, port ownership, casualization and free trade are all connected and require a collective response from the Union. We make our position very clear and state it once again: any attempt to undermine the security, safety and conditions of our members will be met with collective action.
Political activity I remind all members that all of us should have a real say in the democratic process and get involved politically. The right wing parties have always been the enemy of workers, and especially maritime workers. Because we have historically being an activist militant group of workers we have faced attacks from the powerful interests who run our society. This is the case right from the 1890 maritime strike, 1913 maritime strike, 1951 waterfront strike, 1989 port reform and 1991 Employment Contracts Act, as well as the 1990s attacks on New Zealand seafarers through the open coast policy. For the price of a jug of beer, lotto ticket or bet on the horses we can join a political party and I suggest all members consider this to support worker-friendly governments. Most of us should be able to sacrifice one weeks fun money for a good cause, after all there are 52 weeks in a year. I take this opportunity to thank all members for their contribution to the Union in 2006 whether great or small and wish you and your families a merry Christmas.
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 5
Leaked Aratere report says ferry was close to capsizing
by Returning Officer Phil Mansor
Phil Adams, National President
Trevor Hanson, General Secretary
On 6 November 2006, accompanied by Returning Officer elect John Whiting, National Union scrutineer Mike Clarke, as well as Furse Vidal, scrutineer appointed by candidate Mr M Williams, we uplifted the ballot box from the post office. On our return, John Whiting, Mike Clarke and I immediately counted the returned envelopes with Furse Vidal acting as an observer. There being 989 returns in the appropriate reply paid envelopes plus one return with the postage paid by the voter concerned, making a total of return of 990 envelopes. Twenty one (21) ballot papers were declared invalid after reviewing and inspection by all scrutineers and myself as Returning Officer. Therefore the total number of valid votes cast being nine hundred and fifty two (952). The votes were as follows:
National President Adams, Philip 469 Fleetwood, Joseph 453 Therefore declare the incumbent Philip Adams to be duly elected
Garry Parsloe, National Vice President
Parsloe, Garry 584 Wells, Leslie 358 Therefore declare Garry Parsloe to be duly elected
General Secretary/Treasurer Fife, Raymond 226 Hanson, Trevor 501 Williams, Michael 206 Therefore declare the incumbent Trevor Hanson to be duly elected
A leaked draft report from Maritime New Zealand says the interisland ferry Aratere came close to capsizing in heavy seas while crossing Cook Strait in March 2006. The ship heeled over 50 degrees on two separate occasions and rolled up to 30 degrees after stalling when the Master tried to change course. The draft report said that had the ferry not righted itself, a “heavy loss of life would have resulted.” There would have been little time for passengers or crew to don lifejackets. 391 passengers were on board. The Master was criticized in the report for steering the ship into rough conditions close to the North Island, and leaving it in autopilot after it rolled the first time. The draft report recommendations included discussions between ferry companies, harbour masters and Maritime New Zealand to set weather guidelines in which to stop sailing. Other recommendations were audits of cargo lashings to ensure they met standards, and ensuring all skippers were trained for steering in adverse conditions. Around two hours after leaving Wellington on 3 March, a wave estimated to be 14 metres high struck Aratere, swinging it 90 degrees and heeling it over 50 degrees.
The vessel continued to sail north in southerly conditions, and around 5.20pm the master tried to turn to port but the Aratere stalled, leaving it rolling for three minutes. Less than twenty minutes later it was struck by two 12 to 14 metre waves. Investigators were told by crew members that they felt the vessel was close to capsizing. When the vessel finally berthed at Picton at 10.30pm, with a six degree list because of toppled freight wagons, the crossing had taken four and a half hours longer than usual.
Kaitaki sailing criticized by Maritime Union The sailing of the Cook Strait ferry Kaitaki in extreme weather conditions on 24 October 2006 was described as a cause of concern by the Maritime Union. “The first goals of the Union are to ensure the lives of crew are not endangered and the public are also protected.” He says that the Union wants to have input on whether ferries should sail in bad conditions, which is traditionally the decision of the captain. “We have had some mechanical failures aboard ferries, and we are worried about the results of a mechanical problem combined with extreme weather conditions.”
Assistant General Secretary Russell Mayn, Assistant General Secretary
As Russell Mayn was the only nominee for this position, I therefore declare him to be duly elected unopposed. My thanks go to the Union staff Edgar Spark and Valentina Goray for their invaluable assistance, to Victor Billot for arranging the urgent printing of the photos and candidate statements, and for the General Secretary’s invaluable assistance in overcoming all obstacles arising from time to time during the ballot.
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Industrial action on cards if job losses from Waterfront Stadium The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the Port of Auckland is too important to be disrupted by the proposed waterfront stadium. Maritime Union Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says job losses are a major concern if the stadium interferes with the running of Ports of Auckland, and the Union would consider industrial action to protect workers livelihoods. “The Ports of Auckland are asking for guarantees that they will not suffer any financial loss from the stadium project, and likewise the Maritime Union will be seeking compensation for our members for any loss of work.” He says the issue is about safeguarding Ports of Auckland’s role as a major working port. “Any waterfront stadium must not cause disruption to the Ports of Auckland, as this is one of the key gateways between New Zealand and the global economy.” He says the consequences of disruption to New Zealand’s transport chain and economic wellbeing outweigh the benefits of a waterfront stadium.
Mr Carlisle says thousands of people’s livelihoods depend on the port directly, as well as the Port being a central part of the regional and national economic infrastructure. “Our members enjoy their sport as well, but the bottom line is that jobs and livelihoods of all New Zealanders have to come before entertainment.” He says over $1.5 billion of trade comes through the affected areas of the port every year. Mr Carlisle says the Union backs the Port’s stance that its overriding concern is to maintain the efficient operation of the port and the quality of service.
As the Maritimes goes to print, the Waterfront stadium proposal appears to have been canned. The problems with the project appear to have been too great and other venues are now being considered.
“The consequences of disruption to New Zealand’s transport chain and economic wellbeing outweigh the benefits of a waterfront stadium”
Protest on Rotoiti crew demand jobs for New Zealand seafarers Members of the Maritime Union staged a protest on board the trans-Tasman freighter Rotoiti on Saturday 4 November at the Ports of Auckland. Maritime Union Auckland Seafarers Secretary Garry Parsloe says the crew were drawing attention to the fact that when the Rotoiti is withdrawn from service on 26 November, it will be the end of the last New Zealand crewed ship working on the trans-Tasman trade. “The vessel is going yet the cargo remains, but the jobs are threatened, and these New Zealand seafarers want to have some work in their own transTasman trade.” Mr Parsloe says it was not a redundancy situation as the work was still there, but would be going to other vessels – none of which have any New Zealand crew members. He says the crew want jobs for New Zealand seafarers on the trans-Tasman trade and were staging their action to get dialogue with the employer. The vessel is currently owned by international shipping line Hapag Lloyd but since 1999, crew have been under Anglo-Eastern ship management.
Mr Parsloe says the situation is a shocking one, considering the importance of shipping to New Zealand as an economically and environmentally efficient transport mode. “We are in a situation where New Zealand cargo is being carried, but there is no work for our own people.” New Zealand seafarers had worked on the Rotoiti since 1975. The Maritime Union has challenged all shipping companies to recognize their social responsibility towards New Zealand crews, and has determined to maintain New Zealand seafarers on vessels that carry cargo on the transTasman and international trade. Mr Parsloe says if international shippers were making money out of carrying New Zealand cargoes, then New Zealand seafarers should be offered employment in that trade.
Late News on Rotoiti see page 26 for Auckland Seafarers Report
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Move on casual jobs welcomed by transport unions Two major transport unions, the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, have welcomed the announcement of an independent review into casual jobs. Speaking to the national conference of the Maritime Union on 31 October, New Zealand First deputy leader Peter Brown MP said he would be working closely with the Labour-led Government to hold the review on casual jobs. Mr Brown told the Conference that Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson had agreed to a review across all employment areas. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the news is a great step for workers. He says that Mr Brown’s comments that long-term casual jobs were unacceptable was welcomed by the Union. “We are especially pleased with the news that Labour and New Zealand First will be working together on this issue.”
Permanent, secure jobs He says the Maritime Union has been raising the issue for some years and had been advocating permanent, secure jobs as the only way forward.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union National Secretary Wayne Butson says that casualization of jobs was a major problem throughout the New Zealand economy. “Some people have been working in casual jobs for years and years, living on a day to day basis.” He says that the problems of casual jobs included irregular hours, the lack of ability for families to plan financially, stress and health problems, relationship and family breakdowns, and insecure incomes. Mr Hanson says the other bad effect of casual jobs were that casual workers were too scared to stand up for their employment rights in many cases. “We cannot talk about a thriving economy when people are struggling with casual jobs, especially as casualization affects the most vulnerable workers.”
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Methyl bromide petition succeeds By Sally Kidson A Nelson woman has successfully campaigned to get the Government to investigate the toxic fumigant methyl bromide, after concerns by a group of Nelson widows that their husbands’ deaths could be linked to the gas. On Friday 10 October 2006, the local government and environment select committee released its findings on a petition by Campaigners Against Toxic Sprays spokeswoman Claire Gulman, calling for the gas to be banned. The committee is calling for the Environmental Risk Management Authority to reassess methyl bromide and set new conditions for its use as soon as possible. It has also recommended that the longterm health of workers reportedly exposed to methyl bromide be monitored. Mrs Gulman said the committee’s findings “brought tears to my eyes”, and she felt vindicated for pursuing the issue. It was a “big accomplishment” that progress was being made, she said. “Finally, we are getting somewhere.” She still wanted the gas banned, and would continue to act as a watchdog on the issue, she said. Methyl bromide is an odourless gas used to fumigate cargoes at New Zealand ports. It came under the spotlight last year when a group of Nelson women said they believed their husbands’ deaths from motor-neurone disease were linked to the fumigant. A study by Nelson’s Medical Officer of Health, Ed Kiddle, found no link between the gas and motor-neurone disease. But Mrs Gulman and others still believed the gas was dangerous and that the issue should be taken further, and presented a 1500-signature petition to Parliament last year. Former Nelson port worker Ian Street, who believes he was poisoned by methyl bromide, also welcomed the select committee findings. “I was told I was a liar. I was told it was all in my head. People said we would never get anywhere,” he said. He praised Mrs Gulman for doggedly pursuing the issue.
Marilyn Tunnicliffe, whose former husband Matt McKay worked at Port Nelson and died of motor-neurone disease, said she was “absolutely thrilled”. “It’s a wonderful step forward, considering it’s only been going for a short time. It’s good they are aware of it now. I’m extremely pleased.” Green MP Sue Kedgley met with Mrs Gulman in Nelson on Friday and called her a “hero”. “She has quietly lifted the lid on an issue Parliament hasn’t heard before.” The select committee’s findings showed that the Government had taken the issue seriously, she said. The recommendations would be tabled in Parliament, and the Government would then have 90 days to act. Ms Kedgley said she was horrified to learn that containers could be fumigated with methyl bromide at more than 6000 locations throughout New Zealand, including in urban and residential areas. Genera Ltd carries out fumigations at Port Nelson. Its technical adviser, Alan Perry, said the company already practised many of the committee’s recommendations including displaying hazard signs during fumigations. The problem was that methyl bromide was the only quarantine fumigant generally accepted worldwide, but Genera had been looking to develop other processes, including the use of the gas phosphine, he said. The company had also promoted building a facility to recapture methyl bromide after fumigations at Port Nelson, he said. It wanted to have it ready for the coming fumigation season, but it probably wouldn’t be ready until 2007. He said he was aware of the sensitivity over methyl bromide in Nelson, but the main driver behind the changes was the Nelson City Council’s air quality plan. The company carried out fumigations with methyl bromide in Nelson only at the port, he said. (reprinted with permission from the Nelson Mail, this article first appeared on 28 October 2006)
Pressure builds on Methyl bromide A parliamentary select committee has recommended stricter conditions be imposed on the use of the fumigant methyl bromide. Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Committee has recommended the Government ask the Environmental Risk Management Authority to “reassess methyl bromide and set new conditions as soon as possible”. The committee’s just-released report also says methyl bromide should be “recaptured” after fumigation, among eight recommendations made. The Ministry of Health would also be encouraged to monitor the long-term health of people reportedly exposed to methyl bromide. The petition, signed by Nelson-based Campaigners Against Toxic Sprays (Cats) chairwoman Claire Gulman and 1452 others, follows the controversial use of methyl bromide as a fumigant at the Port of Nelson. Cats’ petition asked Parliament to legislate to phase out methyl bromide use by 2010. “This petition arose from the petitioner’s concern of a possible link between the fumigant and cases of motor-neurone disease in people who had worked in the Port Nelson area,” the report said. The fumigant was blamed for ill health and deaths suffered by workers and nearby residents. A Department of Labour survey of methyl bromide use had found nine incidents between December 1999 and April 2006 where there was methyl bromide exposure reported. The committee was critical of health and safety procedures, and was not satisfied with the health monitoring offered the affected people. It was “disappointed” that the practices of some operators failed to comply with industry standards, especially with the duration of ventilation.
However the committee reported it was unable to obtain any evidence that links methyl bromide and motor-neurone disease. The committee said trials of alternative fumigants including Phospine had been successful but importing countries all had their own regulations on what they would accept. “We understand that officials are in negotiations, on a country-to-country basis, with our trading partners to consider using alternatives to methyl bromide.” It said trials of recapturing methyl bromide post-fumigation were still to take place but would “significantly restrict” the amount of the gas released into the atmosphere, where it depletes the ozone layer. The Green Party says little progress had been made in meeting New Zealand’s international obligations on methyl bromide use. In addition to being toxic, methyl bromide also damages the ozone layer. The Greens called on the use of the gas to be restricted to specific industrial sites and said it was concerned over the lack of either financial incentives or penalties to control methyl bromide use.
Worker exposure to Methyl Bromide an international problem The Maritime Union was contacted recently by Dr Brian Hill, a scientist with the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). PANNA has made a submission to US Government regulators the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) opposing the permissible exposure to fumigation workers and surrounding communities with methyl bromide. Dr Hill noted the work of the Maritime Union and problems faced in our industry, and used some of the information supplied by the Maritime Union of New Zealand in the PANNA submission. “The work of your union is felt far away,” writes Dr Hill. “The whole fumigants team here at PANNA was moved by the situation at Nelson.” The Select Committee report mentioned above can be downloaded from: http://www.parliament.govt.nz/en-NZ/SC/Reports/d/3/3/ d33f900e9e8d4ed183e980fc894d2df8.htm
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 9
Government moves to tighten up fishing industry use of overseas crews New rules to improve wages and conditions for overseas fishing crews announced in October 2006 are good news for workers. The Maritime Union has welcomed the changes as a vital part of tightening up the fishing industry and the role of joint venture and foreign fishing vessels working in New Zealand waters. Overseas fishing crews have been abused, exploited and used for years. This is no secret. To remind us of the human face of the industry, we should revisit the case of the 33-year old Korean fisherman Vo Minh Que, who was drowned in January 2004 in waters 70 kilometres south of Stewart Island. The Southland Times wrote an editorial (2 October 2004) on the incident, describing the incident as a “disgrace” and a “squalid tragedy.”
“The Maritime New Zealand report on the drowning of Mr Vo noted how the poor condition of the vessel and the lack of safety gear or procedures contributed to the fatality”
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The victim had been flipped overboard from the ‘Tasnui’ by a trawl wire after equipment failure and had bobbed in the ocean nearby to the vessel while a “series of hideously inadequate and half-pie” rescue attempts were made, according to the newspaper. The vessel had no rescue boat, and there were problems with manoeuvering the vessel whose fishing nets were still out. The captain said the nets would have taken 20 minutes to bring in. Mr Vo was floating in the freezing Southern Ocean for up to an hour and a half before he disappeared from view. A MSA (now Maritime New Zealand) report in November 2003 found a range of defects, missing and damaged equipment, not all of which had been fixed by the time of Mr Vo’s death. The Maritime New Zealand report on the drowning of Mr Vo noted how the poor condition of the vessel and the lack of safety gear or procedures contributed to the fatality.
Changes will improve the lives of workers Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the new Government moves will lead to improvements in conditions for overseas crew, meaning less cases of abuse and shipjumping. Local workers will once again be able to afford to seek work in the fishing industry, he says. “The Maritime Union believes that this move is a positive one for the future of the New Zealand fishing industry and those who work in it.” The Government announced a range of measures to improve conditions for foreign crew on foreign charter fishing vessels on 9 October 2006. The new measures include a mandatory code of practice with improved minimum working and living conditions, a requirement that a New Zealand party acts as guarantor to ensure crew are paid what they are owed, and an expectation that crew employment disputes will be settled in New Zealand. These measures all address central concerns of the Maritime Union. “The review aims to stop unsustainable practices such as foreign crew being taken advantage of or underpaid, and to ensure jobs for New Zealand crews where available,” Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said.
From 1 January 2007, the pay for foreign crew will gradually increase – in three annual increments – to a rate more comparable with New Zealand fishing crews. From 1 January 2007, this pay will be the minimum wage (currently $10.25 an hour) plus $1.25 an hour, and by 1 January 2009, this will have risen to the minimum wage plus $2 an hour. Conditions have previously been extremely loose. With a lack of active unions in the industry, the continued work of the Maritime Union to put the spotlight on the fishing industry seems to have had an effect. It was only from April 2005 that it was required that crew be paid the minimum wage (with no deductions to take net pay below the minimum wage). Overseas workers in New Zealand waters had previously been getting paid well under the minimum wage. In November 2005, the situation was improved again, and it was required that foreign crew were paid for a minimum of 42 hours a week calculated over the course of the engagement. Cabinet has asked the Department of Labour to monitor the implementation of the revised pay requirements and other agreements reached, and will report back to the Minister of Immigration by 28 February 2008. A further, comprehensive review of minimum requirements and compliance will take place by 28 February 2010.
Resistance Fishing bosses tried all out to attack any improvement in wages and conditions – despite the overwhelming evidence of an industry that played to its own rules and where the rights and safety of workers came last. There were self-serving screeches that plans to improve wages and conditions were “social engineering” or even more bizarre, would undermine the Treaty of Waitangi. However, the fisheries of New Zealand belong to all New Zealanders. They are not a resource that is the private property of capitalist corporations, and the rules in that industry should serve the interests of the people. A New Zealand Government report put together by the Department of Labour in 2004 revealed the fears of the Maritime Union were well placed. www.munz.org.nz
NEWS Interviews with overseas crew members by Government labour inspectors revealed a chilling picture of “sweatship” conditions in a globalized maritime free market. Overseas crews were being underpaid, having their meagre wages further stripped back by “agents fees”, and were often beaten and threatened into a state of fear and silence. The report was completed in December 2004 and was supplied in advance to employers, but Unions involved in the industry did not receive the report until May 2005 along with the media and public. The Fishing Industry Guild is supposed to represent these workers. This organization was specifically set up to stop militant unions like the old Seaman’s Union organize fishermen. As you can read on their website, “the NZ Fishing Industry Guild is recognised by the major fishing companies as creating a protective buffer zone between the people engaged in the fishing industry and those other organisations and unions whose activities could be detrimental to the every day running of a fishing vessel.” Spoken like true unionists! As long as the major fishing companies are happy, seems to be the main concern here. Interestingly enough, the Fishing Industry Guild website is located on the bosses website – the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council. This close relationship of the Fishing Industry Guild and the employers seems to provide little motivation to improve conditions for overseas fishermen. Thus the Maritime Union got involved, not wanting to see the type of problems in the fishing industry spill over into the wider maritime industry.
“Sky 75” – a case of international shame Burmese crew members aboard the fishing vessel “Sky 75” in the Port of Timaru approached the Maritime Union with a plea for help on 13 June 2006. A letter from crew members asked for help with their conditions of employment. Crew said they were owed two months wages and they have been working on average 20 hours a day, when their agreement specifies 8 hours per day, and no overtime money had been received. The letter from the Burmese crew says that the Korean officers aboard the “Sky 75” had threatened them and ordered them to work by kicking them with their boots and hitting with sticks. The cost of safety and working equipment was deducted from their salaries, and meals were insufficient and irregular. The “Sky 75” is operated by the New Zealand company Poseidon, based in Hamilton. The irony in this case was that the day before their vessel was “named and shamed” as a specific example of crew abuse in an international report from the www.munz.org.nz
Crew from the Marinui jumped ship in Dunedin in March 2006 – “we are not treated as seamen, we are treated as slaves” (photo courtesy of Otago Daily Times)
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that was presented to the United Nations in New York. The “Sky 75” was a repeat offender and already come to the attention of the ITF when 10 Indonesian crew left the vessel in the Port of Nelson in September 2005. Despite massive publicity and promises that things were going to be fixed, less than a year later the same vessel had turned up in Timaru. Exactly the same type of disgusting actions were recounted by the crew who had jumped in Nelson. The crew each paid a “fee” of approximately NZ$1000 to get their job to a Jakarta manning agency, before joining the vessel. During their time on the ship they were subjected to long hours, fed on rotten food, physically and verbally abused, and forced to wash on deck in sea water. Accommodation was poor, with twelve crew to a cabin and no blankets, and a crew member who had his arm crushed by machinery was made to continue working without medical treatment. The crew had no protective clothing or footwear, and many worked in jandals and bare feet in cold conditions. Ms Whelan says no wages were paid to the crew by their employment agency in Jakarta, who had promised to send the money to their families. Since the ‘Sky 75’ incident in September 2005 there have been several other serious incidents since the ‘Sky 75’, including crews jumping ship from the ‘San Liberatore’ and ‘Marinui.’ A Ukrainian crew onboard the ‘Malakhov Kurgan’ in Lyttelton went on hunger strike in order to receive wages owed. They received threatening faxes from their employers in the Ukraine. The Maritime Union and the ITF have provided major assistance in many of
these cases, representing workers and gaining back pay from employers. This work is carried out through the concern for the rights of all workers in New Zealand waters. While we celebrate the changes, we remain aware that they have been fought tooth and claw by employers who show the most ruthless disregard for basic human dignity in their race to squeeze the maximum profit out of workers. And we should remember that this change has come at the cost of human life. One young man will never benefit from them – Vo Minh Que, aged 33 years, missing presumed drowned 70 kilometers south of Stewart Island, 24 January 2004.
Further information The Government announcement by Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe is online at: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument. aspx?DocumentID=27337 The Maritime New Zealand report on the drowning of Mr Vo Minh Que can be downloaded at: http://www.msa.govt.nz/publications/accidents/reports/ Tasnui-043365.pdf The ITF report Out of Sight, Out of Mind can be downloaded at the webpage listing ITF publications: http://www.itfglobal.org/infocentre/pubs.cfm The Australian Government/ITF/WWF report “The Changing Nature of High Seas Fishing: How Flags of Convenience provide cover for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing” can be downloaded at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/iiumr.pdf The website of the New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild can be inspected (via the employers website) at: http://www.seafood.co.nz/industry/aton/ nzfishingindustryguild/
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 11
Conference 2006 The second Triennial Conference of the Maritime Union of New Zealand was held in Wellington on Tuesday 24 October to Thursday 26 October 2006.
Conference opened by Minister of Labour The Conference was opened by the Minister of Labour Hon. Ruth Dyson MP who spoke on the Government’s views on industrial relations, and maritime industry issues including coastal shipping, training and casualization, health and safety and employment legislation. Local 13 delegate Dave Phillips referred to the proposed free trade agreement and if cabotage was not an option why not look at a tax on boxes carried by foreign shippers. The Minister replied that the tax on boxes proposal was put to Government in 2000 and not accepted. Successive Ministers have tried to re-engage with industry, and she acknowledged that Government haven’t done enough
A gift of a sumo fan from the All Japan Dockworkers Union Zenkowan featured the message: “Indomitable spirit – don’t be dispirited if something is difficult”
Hideyuki Tozawa presents a gift from Zenkowan
on domestic shipping and she welcomed the initiative of the Shipping Federation and commitment of the current Minister of Transport Annette King to address the issue. Local 13 President Denis Carlisle welcomed positive comments on changes proposed by the Labour Government and although we had yet to see a timetable, he believed we are on track and Government is listening to people. Assistant General Secretary Terry Ryan said cabotage was a major issue for MUNZ. He noted that at an MUA conference last week the leader of the Australian Labour Party Kim Beazley committed to cabotage in Australia if elected as a vital part of national security, and he urged the New Zealand Labour Party to communicate with their Australian counterparts on that issue. General Secretary Trevor Hanson reported on meetings with Maersk and the Shipping Federation on coastal shipping, and noted we are about to lose the only trans-Tasman vessel manned by New Zealand seafarers. A commitment was required from all industry parties – Government, Shipping Federation, Unions and Port Companies – to a viable shipping industry. The Minister put on record Government’s intent to set up a working group of industry stakeholders to examine all issues and will commit to the work that comes from it, and it is clear that a strategy was required for ports and shipping and related issues such as training.
All Japan Dock Worker’s Union (Zenkowan) Hideyuki Tozawa, Vice President, All Japan Dock Worker’s Union (Zenkowan) addressed Conference using an interpreter. A presentation of gifts from Zenkowan to the Maritime Union was made by Brother Tozawa. 12 | The Maritimes | December 2006
The gift – a Sumo referees fan with the words of a famous Japanese sumo referee written on it which translate to “Indomitable spirit – don’t be dispirited if something is difficult.” Denis Carlisle on behalf of Local 13, highlighted the assistance from Japanese dcokers for our dispute in Whangarei and how we owe a lot to the Japanese Dock Workers and Seafarers who have never failed to respond in a positive and practical manner to any request for assistance we put to them. He said it had been a pleasure to spend time with Hideyuku and his charming wife Akiko and the translators, and he thanked them for their attendance at Conference. Trevor Hanson summed up referring to the strong fraternal relationship we have with the Japanese Dock Workers and Seafarers and spoke of the tremendous support at all times from the Japanese unions who have never turned their back on us.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), USA Jerry Ylonen of the ILWU Coast Safety Committee and ILWU International Executive Board Local 8 Portland thanked MUNZ for the invitation and warm reception and solidarity shown the delegation. He told the conference health and safety has never been more important to us and it is vital we are proactive and representative in all health and safety boards and committees so that we can control our plight and ensure our work places are safe. Issues of high priority in their current health and safety campaign are vertical tandem lifts and diesel carcinogens. ILWU Local 10 President and dock worker David Gonzales thanked MUNZ for the invitation and hospitality shown his delegation, and brought solidarity greetings from brothers and sisters in USA and Canada. Commenting on the debate on free trade, he said American workers have experienced what it does particularly with chemical companies, and urged the meeting to be vigilant and monitor it every step of the way. Local 13 delegate Dave Phillips asked about the port security code and what effects it was having on negotiations. David Gonzales said workers are issued with an ID card which apart from photo and ID details, also has a chip and is only supposed to be used for access which is specifically spelt out in their employment agreement. www.munz.org.nz
Keith McCorriston, MUA
Employers or port authorities can’t use it to monitor movements and activities but employers attempt to push the barriers and on occasions the Union have had to take industrial action to ensure it is used for access purposes only. ILWU Local 13 Business Agent (walking delegate) Larry Manzo expressed his appreciation for the invitation, and the theme of his address was the need to educate younger members who tend to be casual/ part time workers, and as a result their awareness and commitment was not the same as permanent and older members. He acknowledged the delegation that came from New Zealand and Australia during their lockout and the impact it had on members to see brothers and sisters come from so far away to support them. The ILWU delegation delivered a letter of solidarity from ILWU International President Robert McEllrath.
Maritime Union of Australia Assistant National Secretary of the MUA Rick Newlyn brought fraternal greetings from MUA and an apology from Paddy Crumlin who was at an ACTU meeting. He acknowledged there was no relationship more stronger than the one the MUA have with MUNZ. In Australia, the win of both Houses of Parliament by John Howard had been unexpected and he has rammed through anti-worker legislation which has stripped awards and removed conditions that were won over 100 years of struggle. This included not just wages, but fundamental issues such as safety gear. Density of trade union membership in Australia is about 30% and if the Howard Government were to be defeated it is vital to engage communities. The Australian Trade Union Campaign against the Work Choice Legislation crosses all borders, and through the ACTU they have embarked on a huge campaign. 30 November is a day of action against the Work Choice legislation and because of a lack of coverage from the corporate media, the MUA and Miners are sharing the cost of funding Sky TV coverage of the event, (estimated at around AU$600,000.) It is expected to be the biggest protest ever seen in Australia. www.munz.org.nz
Deputy Secretary West Australia Branch of the MUA Keith McCorriston spoke on the similarity of the issues facing the two Unions. He outlined the negative effects of the Work Choice legislation on Australian workers, and spoke on the MUA’s campaign to elect a Labour Government. Western Australia is experiencing a boom in the offshore and mining section but with it goes the inherent increases in living costs which is creating a cost of living that the average worker on low/medium incomes can no longer sustain so are being forced to move away. Assistant Secretary of the MUA Victoria Branch Robert Patchett also spoke to the conference on maritime issues including shipping.
APHEDA Trevor Hanson noted an MUA request for our sponsorship of APHEDA and Rick Newlyn spoke of the work of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, which was established in 1984 by the ACTU so Australian workers could directly contribute to justice, human rights and development internationally. The Conference voted that MUNZ become a sponsor of APHEDA by making a $5000 donation, and all MUNZ branches commit to it by taking at least one book of raffle tickets and promoting the organization and work of APHEDA in their branches.
Returning Officer’s Report National Returning Officer Phil Mansor presented his report to Conference. The report was received on the motion of Joe Fleetwood and John Whiting and carried. Phil Mansor indicated he would not be available as Returning Officer into the future after the 2006 election. Conference thanked Phil Mansor for his services over the years which were always very professional and without reproach. John Whiting was nominated Returning Officer to replace Phil Mansor after the
National President Phil Adams with retiring Returning Officer Phil Mansor
current general elections, on the motion of Phil Adams and Joe Fleetwood and carried by the meeting. Mike Clark was nominated national scrutineer on the motion of Joe Fleetwood and John Whiting and endorsed by the meeting.
Shipping Federation New Zealand Shipping Federation director Paul Nicholas spoke, and was accompanied by Doug Bailey from the legal firm of Russell McVeagh who had assisted in the preparation of the NZSF report Roadways to Waterways. Trevor Hanson noted the good relationship the Union has with the NZSF.
RMTU National Secretary of Rail and Maritime Transport Union Wayne Butson addressed the Conference and was accompanied by RMTU national organiser Henry Fagaiava. Wayne Butson gave a presentation on the structure of RMTU together with an update on amalgamation.
Terry Ryan The Conference voted to bring in retiring Assistant General Secretary Terry Ryan on an as required consultative basis particularly in respect of the MUNZ/RMTU amalgamation process and the Southern Cross Stevedoring re-structure.
continued next page
MUNZ trainer Fred Salelea, CTU Secretary Carol Beaumont, MUNZ Secretary Trevor Hanson and MUNZ Local 13 President Denis Carlisle at the Triennial Conference The Maritimes | December 2006 | 13
CONFERENCE Graeme Chandler (Lyttelton) with Kevin Forde and Tony Townshend (Timaru) at the Triennial Conference
MUNZ General Secretary Trevor Hanson
The Keep Our Port Public campaign was an excellent example of how the Union had worked with the wider community to achieve a positive result.
Sue Bradford MP
continued from previous page
Withdrawal of Rotoiti The conference passed a resolution endorsing a campaign in support of New Zealand Maritime workers whose employment is threatened following notification that the vessel Rotoiti is being withdrawn from the trans Tasman. MUNZ challenges all shipping companies to recognise they must support a social responsibility clause for New Zealand maritime workers; and this campaign should focus on maintaining New Zealand seafarers on vessels that carry cargo on the trans-Tasman and all international trade within New Zealand waters.
CTU Learning Reps CTU Learning Reps co-ordinator Don Farr spoke about this training initiative. The Learning Reps programme is similar to the health and safety reps programme. In health and safety the rep’s job is to make safety our issue, with the message being “We are safe because we make it safe – not because the boss tells us to but because we look after each other”. The Learning Reps programme in New Zealand is being taken on in the ports quicker than any other work places.
National President The National President of the Maritime Union, Phil Adams, spoke to the Conference on the theme of “Living up to a strong tradition.” He noted issues around MUNZ relatiionships with other unions, such as amalgamation, the Trans-Tasman Federation and the ITF. Other topics were the political outlook in New Zealand, free trade and the problem of scab unions.
General Secretary General Secretary of the Maritime Union, Trevor Hanson, spoke to the Conference about the present challenges to the Union and the future outlook. The instability of the waterfront industry, the continuing struggle of the shipping industry and the problems of the fishing industry were all challenges. Positive progress had been made in some areas, but continued alertness was required.
Green Party Spokesperson Sue Bradford MP spoke to the Conference and noted the strong relationship of the Green Party and MUNZ. She spoke on the Green’s opposition to free trade, their views on the maritime industry, and pressing environmental concerns such as climate change and peak oil.
Peter Brown MP New Zealand First deputy leader Peter Brown MP spoke to the Conference on the need for New Zealand to rebuild its shipping industry as an export dependant nation, free trade agreements, immigration, and the 90 day bill. He also announced a joint initiative between New Zealand First and the Government to carry out a review of casualization in the New Zealand workforce.
Council of Trade Unions CTU National Secretary Carol Beaumont addressed the Conference on industrial matters. These included the now-defeated “90 Day Bill”, the Progressive Enterprises lockout, the relationship of the Union movement to business and Government, and the political and electoral strategy of the Union movement.
Life Membership presentation to Dave Morgan and Les Wells Dave Morgan thanks the Union for the honour, stating that given the chance he would do it all again as there isn’t a better group of workers a person could hope to lead and it had been his honour to lead them over a 35 year period. Les Wells thanked the meeting for the honour, stating that although he hadn’t retired from the Union, the nomination was made when he took redundancy from the waterfront and wasn’t expected to return but pressure from members for him to take the Secretary’s position in Lyttelton had changed his circumstances. 14 | The Maritimes | December 2006
RMTU Secretary Wayne Butson
Green MP Sue Bradford
Maritime New Zealand Deputy Director Maritime New Zealand Bruce Maroc spoke to the Conference on the areas of common interest between Maritime New Zealand (formerly the Maritime Safety Authority) and MUNZ. These included port state control, domestic shipping, health and safety, fishing boat safety and stevedoring.
Internal Reports Reports were received from the Finance Committee, union educator Fred Salelea and communications officer Victor Billot.
Superannuation A presentation from the Waterfront Industry Superannuation Fund (WISF) and Seafarers Retirement Fund (SRF) was given to the Conference. Susan Leuchars (WISF Fund Manager), David Young (WISF Chairman) and David Scott (SRF Chairman) answered questions from the floor.
Obituaries Members stood as a mark of respect for the following deceased members: Port Chalmers Dave Lory, Keith Atkinson, Bob McIntosh, Robin Forgie, Garth Love Auckland Jim Dolan, Keith Miller, Len Ryder, Dave Barrett, Peter Wallace Lyttelton Bill Ryan, Billy Thorpe Wellington Billy McCarran, Eddie McBrier, Jimmy Milne, Sam Broughton, Jenny Wooding, Bob Kempthorne Napier Keith Bedford New Plymouth Norm Quinlan Timaru Bob Cunningham
Vice President Zenkowan Hideyuki Tozawa with retiring MUNZ Assistant General Secretary Terry Ryan
Profile: Hideyuki Tozawa Vice President of the All Japan Dock Worker’s Union (ZenKowan) Mr Hideyuki Tozawa accompanied by his wife Akiko attended the Conference of the Maritime Union in October 2006 as official guests. Born in Tokyo, Mt Tozawa started work for a truck company in 1966, and began working for the Union in 1972, where he has held a number of senior positions including at the Tokyo Branch of the Union. He has worked in his current position as Vice President of ZenKowan, the All Japan Dockworkers Union, for six years and has two years of his term to go. ZenKowan has 13 000 members and celebrated its 60th anniversary recently. Mr Tozawa noted that international guests from maritime unions in the USA, Australia and New Zealand had been present at that conference, and the Japanese dockers were very appreciative of that. This was his first visit to New Zealand, and he spoke about his impressions. “I really appreciate the warm heart, support, friendship and solidarity. I am impressed by the conference and very honoured to receive this welcome and hospitality.”
He says he felt there was a connection between traditional Japanese “samurai” culture and Maori culture, and had felt very accepted after his first hongi (from a MUNZ member.) Speaking to the Conference, Mr Tozawa explained how he had spent a few days in Auckland as a guest of the Maritime Union branches there. He explained the political and industrial situation in Japan where workers are struggling against similar problems to New Zealand such as deregulation and rising inequality, and a right-wing Government. He was also concerned at moves for Japan to become more militarized by changes to the Constitution. “Let’s concentrate our energies on the ITF, and encourage each country’s stevedores and seamen workers to exchange ideas and share their experience of struggle,” he said to the Conference. Mr Tozawa presented the Maritime Union with a sumo referees fan, with the famous words “Futo Fukutu” which means indomitable spirit, with the message of do not be dispirited if something is difficult. He says that he was impressed with the idea behind the Maritime Union slogan “Touch One, Touch All.”
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 15
Setting a course for the future One of the main jobs of the Triennial Conference is to set Union policy – or make the decisions about how the Union operates and what it does. This is what sets a Union apart from many other organizations – it is a democratic organization where all members can have an influence and have a say at branch level – and possibly have their ideas become reality through the decisions of the Conference. Branches submit remits to the Conference which are then debated and voted on. If the remits are passed then the Union will follow through and take action on them. At the 2006 Conference, 49 remits were received from 8 locals/branches. The Remit Committee grouped the remits under six categories, and amalgamated those with a similar theme and made recommendations to assist Conference with the debate. The remits are listed below under their category, and note what branch the remit came from, the delegate who moved the remit and the delegate who seconded it, and whether it was carried or lost. Procedural 1. Auckland: That in compliance with New Zealand health and safety legislation no smoking takes place in the area of Conference and all cell phones are turned off for the hours that Conference is in session. No explanation required, covered in housekeeping. Moved D. Carlisle, seconded D. Phillips. Carried. Political 2. Auckland: Given that National’s industrial policy has been heralded by the Mapp ‘90 day bill’, MUNZ reinforces its support for the return of a Labour-led Government in the next election which falls between this and the next Conference. While not the be all and end all, Labour has been true to its promises in the industrial manifesto while the National Party’s industrial relations manifesto promises only the same as that dished up in Australia. Moved P. Spanswick, seconded R. Mayn. Remit Committee recommendation: realising we do not have to like all Labour stands for, we do need to protect Industrial Legislation. Therefore we recommend support. Carried unanimously. 3. Auckland: That this MUNZ Conference notes that the new Maritime Labour Convention, known as the “Seafarers Bill of Rights” which brings together and updates over 60 Maritime Labour Standards of the ILO, was adopted in February this year following 5 years of intense negotiations involving governments, ship-owners and the ITF representing Seafarer Unions. Further notes that 30 countries have to ratify the convention before it can come into force. Therefore this Conference agrees to undertake serious lobbying of the New Zealand Government to ratify this convention. Further if it is considered necessary, to call on the legal and technical assistance that is available through the ILO to achieve this objective. Moved J. O’Neill, seconded P. Honan The remit committee’s recommendation: Conference move to approve the sentiments and develop engagement process with the Government. Carried. 16 | The Maritimes | December 2006
4. Auckland: That MUNZ makes the strongest possible protests to Government and the Minister of Police against the introduction by the Police of Taser Stun Guns. We do this on the basis of major concerns that the Taser could be used against picketers or demonstrators over industrial issues. Older members can recall the use of long batons on our members since 1981. In conjunction with the Police announcement on Tasers it was noticed that the Police have general instructions on “Industrial Disputes and Strikes”. Moved G. Parsloe, seconded D. Carlisle. Remit committee recommendation: In proposing this motion we are cognisant of Amnesty International report of November 2004 advising Laser deaths in the USA had exceeded 150. An information disc should be circulated to emphasize the results from being Tasered. Carried. 5. Bluff: That Conference consider undertaking a program to promote the union that could include giving talks to schools and other interested community groups. The program would cover the industries we work in, the structures of our union, to why there are unions and the role they play in the community. This program could be undertaken in conjunction with other unions. Moved R. Fife, seconded P. Adams. Carried. 6. Auckland: Given the Australian Financial Review of June 20th 2006 announced that China wants the temporary entry of labour to be part of any final trade deal. And given that the article specifically mentioned that this unprecedented access would be for Ports and construction sites, later verified by Cosco. And further given that we are already aware that China has been using the WTO negotiations to push for port deregulation, along with the ability to bring in Chinese labour to load and unload ships with their own labour. Therefore this Conference of MUNZ calls on the New Zealand Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular to give assurances on guest labour, only when New Zealand Labour is not available, along with further guarantees that any free trade agreement will not be a sell out of port jobs. [An amendment to the remit was made to include the words “only when New Zealand labour is not available” to the remit.] Moved D. Carlisle, seconded G. Parsloe Remit committee recommendation: That motion be adopted and MUNZ release a press statement to the media, along with a letter to Helen Clark. Carried. 7. Auckland: It was reported in the “Australian Financial Review” on 20 June 2006 that China wants the temporary entry of Chinese labour to be part of a Free Trade deal. The article also specifically mentions that this unprecedented access would be for the labour to be used in ports and on construction sites. We are also aware that China is using the World Trade Organisation negotiations to push for port deregulation coupled with the intention to use Chinese labour to load and unload ships. Therefore this Conference calls on the New Zealand government, particularly the Prime Minister to publicly give assurances that they will not permit the use of guest labour within
New Zealand ports. We also require assurances that any Free Trade Agreement will not be a sell out of New Zealand maritime workers jobs. Moved D. Carlisle, seconded G. Parsloe [with the addition and understanding that only when New Zealand Labour is not available.] Remit committee recommendation: Endorse principle, seek assurance from the Government that market rates, which shall never be lower than the New Zealand minimum wage, will apply to all guest labour that is filling labour shortages in New Zealand. Carried. 8. Bluff: That Conference rejects the Free Trade Agreements, particularly when it could cause possible job losses in the manufacturing industry in New Zealand. Any trade agreement with any country should first and foremost have the interest of the New Zealand working class as the main priority through the inclusion of a social clause. Moved R. Fife, seconded K. Forde. Remit committee recommendation: That we add the words “through the inclusion of a social clause” at the end of the remit and endorse it. Carried. Government and CTU issues 9. Auckland: That we continue to lobby politicians and seek the support of the CTU, to have the Government introduce a register of Dockers and Seafarers in line with ILO convention 137. Moved P. Honan, seconded D. Phillips Remit committee recommendation: That conference endorse this remit and note it is a reinforcement of current policy. Carried. 10. Wellington Waterfront: That the National Union take legal advice on the feasibility of taking a class action against the hours of work being worked on the waterfront, incorporating fatigue and stress safety and social disruption as the cause for such action. Moved J. Whiting, seconded T. Hanson. Remit committee recommendation: That the remit be endorsed and the National officials to undertake feasibility study and report back to next National Executive meeting. Carried. Global 11. Auckland: Global Unionism: That MUNZ actively works to build deeper understanding about globalisation among Union members and how it impacts on MUNZ members and our Brothers and Sisters in the ITF family in all other countries. In building this understanding we also need to prioritise and make members aware of our broader strategy to be effective in delivering for our members and their families politically and industrially. Also making them aware of their contribution to responsibilities and obligations of MUNZ membership. Moved G Parsloe, seconded D. Phillips Carried. 12. Bluff: That the Conference rejects the continuing trend toward corporate globalisation, privatisation and never ending competition within the maritime industry. That the work towards strengthening unions through solidarity and organising globally to fight corporate globalisation on a united front. www.munz.org.nz
CONFERENCE Moved R. Fife, seconded P. Spanswick. Remit committee recommendation: That conference support the sentiments expressed in the remit as they reflect current policy. Carried.
Auckland Local 13 delegate Dave Philipps asking the hard questions to the politicians
13. Bluff: That the Maritime Union of New Zealand re-affirm its commitment to support the ITF (International Transport Worker’ Federation) in their campaign to protect Dockers’ work from seafarers being forced to do stevedoring work in all New Zealand ports. This will involve all branches/locals being the eyes and ears of the ITF Inspectorate, with any incidents or breaches immediately reported to Kathy Whelan in Wellington Moved R. Fife, seconded D. Ferris Carried. Waterfront Industry Superannuation Fund 14. Auckland and Bluff: That MUNZ request its Trustees on the Waterfront Industry Superannuation Fund continue to seek a lowering of full vesting from Ten years to Five years. Most other schemes have vesting at five years or lower, and given that our scheme stands head and shoulders above any other scheme with its free death benefit to members, we should also recognise that the Waterfront job is no longer a job for life, and vesting should reflect this. Moved C. Harrison, seconded R. Fife. Remit committee recommendation: The Remit Committee has combined the remits of both ports and recommends adoption. Carried 15. Bluff: That education programmes be made available for any new trustees of either superannuation funds. Superannuation can be a complex area and it is important that they understand the industry when striving to achieve the best results for the members. Moved R. Fife, J. Whiting Remit committee recommendation: That the remit be endorsed. Carried. 16. Port Chalmers: That this Conference request the union trustees to seek change to the clause in the trust deed pertaining to terminal illness. The objective is to seek compassionate payments when the wife or immediate family member is stricken with terminal illness. Remit committee recommendation: The remit, as rewritten by Trustees, be endorsed. The Remit Committee has rewritten this remit to comply with trustee legislation and retain original intent, and urge trustees to support sentiments expressed. Moved P. Adams, seconded D. Dick Carried. Organizational remits, including health and safety, and industrial 17. Auckland: That this Union recognises that structures and strategies of the past may not necessarily suffice to meet our needs for the future. It further recognises that, as elsewhere we are organised within a structure to service an industry that is fast disappearing as industry lines are beginning to blur. There are opinions based on concepts that ignore what and who transport workers are whilst also ignoring the composition of the current workforce. We must ensure that we are equipped to organise effectively in the modern world of transport. We must also note and realise that the Ports industry is dominated by the four major global network terminal operators such as Hutchinson, PSA (state owned by the Singapore government), APM terminals (Maersk) and Dubai www.munz.org.nz
Ports World (purchaser of P&O). While these four continue to buy terminals around the world, the shipping industry is seeing mergers such as Maersk and P&O Nedlloyd and CP ships and Hapag Lloyd. No Port in the world is immune and Seafarers/ Dockers jobs will continue to come under pressure as the shipping lines exert undue influence on Port employers. The Union notes all of the above and recognises the effects of multinational logistic chains offering door to door services will have, not only on job numbers, but also on terms and conditions. This includes our ability to organise. Therefore MUNZ determines to commit to and undertake the following strategies from this Conference onward: • To further and strengthen our international commitments to international activities, particularly with the ITF Ports of convenience campaign, the Tasman Maritime Federation, with our friends in Pacific Rim Unions, and other cross border campaigns. To this end resources must be allocated within our budget. • We also commit to achieving amalgamation with the RMTU in order to develop a strong and effective transport union within New Zealand, providing the outcome is acceptable to the MUNZ membership, and an acceptable structure can continue to be negotiated. Further that we accept that the involvement of the existing facilitators would be the best way to go forward and continue our commitment to achieve amalgamation Moved D. Carlisle, seconded C. Harrison. Carried. 18. Auckland and Bluff: That all remits passed at this MUNZ 2006 Conference be compiled onto a work in progress paper. This paper to be updated by each National Executive meeting to ensure that the intent of the remits is not lost in the passing of time. [Note: Remits outstanding from the 2003 Conference should also be included on this list.] Moved R. Fife, seconded F. Salelea Remit committee recommendation: The Remit Committee has merged both ports’ remits to achieve the intended process and recommends acceptance. Carried. 19. Auckland: Given that the actions of Maersk is already putting pressure on Conventional stevedoring, particularly in smaller ports, we need to be in a position as Branches/Locals to assist
each other on a regional or sister Port/Branch/ Local basis. These actions could well result in assistance packages or administrative assistance, or even in some cases lead to more formal links, whatever is in the best interests of the MUNZ membership, even to the extent of merging into a larger body for membership security. In the event of mergers to maintain a union presence and strength in embattled areas this Conference accepts that when two or more Ports/Branches/Locals merge that the combined voting strength of both is maintained on the National Executive. Note: As an example of this hypothetically if Timaru come under pressure and it aligned itself into the Lyttelton structure in the best interests of MUNZ. The combined voting strength of both partners would be retained on the National executive. Moved R. Mayn, seconded D. Carlisle. Remit committee recommendation: That the remit be endorsed. Carried 20. Auckland: That the Maritime Union of New Zealand reserve through application a position with the CTU organiser traineeship for 2007. These trainees are trained by CTU facilitators and part funded by the ERE. They have in their year of training a 50% organiser input for union work under the guidance of a mentor. We would see the organiser trainee attached to Local 21 where Phil Mansor would be the mentor to pass on his knowledge. MUNZ’s biggest area of growth potential lies with Local 21. When the size of Local 21’s membership increases we should then have the basis of a group to organise inland Ports, and other storage areas involved in the transport chains. Note: application for a 2007 trainee organiser participant must be lodged with the CTU by the beginning of December 2006. This remit should be enthusiastically supported if we are to succeed in our objective to build our power and sustainability. To do this we need to transform at every level. Given Phil Mansor’s wish to retire, and that he is still available to mentor an organiser to build the branch the remit is recommended for acceptance. Remit committee recommendation: endorsed Carried unanimously. continued next page The Maritimes | December 2006 | 17
CONFERENCE continued from previous page 21. Auckland: Given that the last Conference called for the establishment of a veterans association of MUNZ be established to preserve experience, capture resources and provide a further political voice; Further given that Conference agreed that acceptance was associated with full support and resources for the proposed veterans association which failed to eventuate. Therefore move that the first National executive meeting following the Conference appoint an interim committee to grow the membership of veterans to the point where elections can be held. Consideration should be given to allowing a representative from the Veterans a position on the National Executive. While all agreed the idea is sound it won’t eventuate unless we make it happen. Moved D. Phillips, seconded P. Honan Remit committee recommendation: Remit endorsed and referred to National officials for action. Carried 22. Auckland: That MUNZ in line with its previous resolution reaffirms its commitment to negotiating a MUNZ Drug and Alcohol Procedure with all companies employing MUNZ members. This notes that Seafarers, within the tanker fleet, are subject to International legislation that may mean they fall outside the provisions of this resolution. Social responsibility: Any procedure should be based on non-random testing with priority given to rehabilitation and impairment on the day. Employers must recognise the privacy, dignity and respect that all workers are due when they attend the workplace. MUNZ has no interest or intention to being party to an agreement that makes social judgement on our member’s lifestyles when they are not at the workplace. Moved John O’Neill, seconded R. Mayn Remit committee recommendation: That the remit be endorsed. Carried 23. Wellington Seafarers and Nelson: That the MUNZ Triennial Conference consider and debate the merits of giving seafarers a dual vote so they can fully partake in the elections of the branch officials who negotiate their contracts as well as the officials of the branch where they live. Moved G. Roberts, seconded G. Wyllie Remit committee recommendation: The current
rules do not allow this proposal to happen, it should be noted that all collective contracts by law are with the union, not branch officials. As part of our growth and progress as MUNZ we must leave the “Seafarers and Watersiders” concept behind and talk only in terms of Maritime workers. Therefore it is recommended that the motion be rejected. Declared lost on voices. 24. Wellington Seafarers: That the present union fees being paid by seafarers are unfair and excessive, especially in the light of union fees being paid by fellow unionists working alongside and fellow members of MUNZ. This must be rectified immediately; our union fees should be amended to the fees paid by the majority of MUNZ members. 25. New Plymouth: As we are all members of the Maritime Union it is only fair that we all pay the same union fees. Before we amalgamate with any other union we need to get our own affairs in order. There is no rule or reason why seafarers should pay more than watersiders. One Union / one fee we are all equal. We are all Maritime workers. 26. Lyttelton: That the MUNZ Seafaring members pay the same dues as MUNZ Watersiders. Moved G. Roberts, seconded M. Foster Remit committee recommendation: That the remits be grouped together and tabled for debate. Lost by a voice vote, with the conference noting the remit committee’s comments, that the at day’s end each branch sets their own union dues. 27. New Plymouth: That the position of ITF inspector should be an elected position. It should be up for election at the same time as National office positions. The remit was withdrawn as having no merit, the position of ITF Coordinator is an appointment by the ITF on recommendation and endorsement from the ITF affiliates in New Zealand. 28. Wellington Seafarers: That the Maritimes is the official organ of MUNZ. All opinions, views and news be channeled through it. If as was claimed people’s opinions and views were being blocked for one reason or another, MUNZ national council and editorial staff of the Maritimes be approached and censured, not publish another broadsheet.
“This is what sets a Union apart from many other organizations – it is a democratic organization where all members can have an influence and have a say at branch level”
18 | The Maritimes | December 2006
Remit committee recommendation: The editorial board welcomes any approach. If this had been done it would be clear no one was blocked only refuted. No case for censure therefore recommendation is for remit to be rejected. There was no one in attendance to present the remit, as the two observers who were going to speak to the remit have returned to their vessel. Carried unanimously, the conference also recorded a vote of confidence in the MUNZ Communication Officer. 29. Wellington Seafarers: That we move forward to full amalgamation, i.e. that is we have one branch in Wellington that covers both Watersiders and Seafarers. Moved M. Clark, seconded J. Whiting Remit Committee recommendation: That Conference endorse the sentiments expressed and refer the matter to the branches concerned for consideration. Carried unanimously. 30. Wellington Seafarers: That the Triennial Conference of MUNZ discuss the setting-up of 3 regions of Northern, Central and Southern regions. Each region is to have a paid Regional Secretary. His/her duties are to coordinate the branches and to hold monthly stopwork meetings and to help in national and branches contract negotiations for watersiders and seaman. Also to run the seaman’s manning of ships. The branches can still be run as they are now and also the national office and executive. Regions: Northern: Whangarei, Auckland, Mt Maunganui/Tauranga, Gisborne. Watersiders and seaman = 1,114 MUNZ members. Central: New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington, Nelson. Watersiders and seaman = 810 MUNZ members. Southern: Lyttelton, Timaru, Port Chalmers, Bluff. Watersiders and seaman = 520 MUNZ members. The funding for the 3 Regional Secretaries is to be from National funding as there is an imbalance of MUNZ members in the regions. Remit Committee recommendation: As similar proposal rejected at National Executive level, committee cannot endorse remit. Regionalisation can be achieved under current rules through branch co-operation without reinventing the wheel. Lost. 31. Wellington Waterfront: That the National Union adopt a policy at all Branches of where a member suffers loss of employment through rationalisation by one employer because of loss of contract to another employer in the same Port. That the effected employees be picked up by the employer that gains the contract, it is fully acknowledged that this remit is outside current NZ legislation and would require full National support and industrial action to be successful. Moved J. Whiting, seconded W. Connelly Remit committee’s recommendation: That Conference endorse this remit given that it reinforces long held principles of MUNZ. Carried unanimously. 32. Wellington Waterfront: That all minutes of health and safety meetings be obtained by our delegates and be forwarded to National Office for assimilation, also that all branches record and notify all accidents to National Office, serious accidents to be notified on a 24 hour basis. Further that long time previous policy of all labour leaving a vessel on the event of accidental death is reaffirmed. Moved J. Whiting, seconded F. Salelea. The remit committee’s recommendation: that remit be supported with all branches undertaking to comply with the terms expressed. Carried unanimously. www.munz.org.nz
CONFERENCE 33. Bluff: That MUNZ commit to the ITF Port of Convenience campaign to promote acceptable standards in ports and terminals around the world and stamp out the exploitation of dockworkers, and prevent job losses. The remit committee’s recommendation: As an ITF affiliate MUNZ played a role in the formulation of the POC campaign. Therefore we endorse the sentiments and recommend adoption. Moved R. Fife, seconded J. Whiting Carried unanimously 34. Nelson: That the Nelson branch supports MUNZ officials to enhance our relationship with the MUA by working together to jointly share knowledge, industrially, politically, and secure jobs on both sides of the Tasman through the Trans-Tasman Federation. Australian companies are well established here for example Toll, Woolworths major banks etc. A MUA influence in recent distribution workers lockout along with ACTU jobs in the offshore are attributed to the Tasman agreement. Another important link to join up the transport chain and oppose the demands of multi-nationals forcing down standards of living for families. The remit committee’s recommendation: Endorse sentiments expressed and recommend adoption while pointing out that our relationship with the MUA through the Tasman Maritime Federation sees both unions attending each others Executive meetings. We also participate in FUMP, TUF, and Maritime and Mining initiatives. Moved E. Hicks/seconded P. Adams Carried unanimously. 35. Nelson: That the Conference endorse the current negotiating team who are exploring the proposed amalgamation between ourselves and the RMTU. The need is compelling with the increase in globalisation by multi-national companies. We must work toward combining all unions inside the wharf gates to maximise union coverage, bargaining power and speak from our strategic position as the NZ voice for the total Transport industry. Terms for agreement must bring a favourable structure to all members and not to be disadvantaged financially or industrially by the new rules. The remit committee’s recommendation: That Conference endorse the principles contained and adopt the resolution. Moved R. Todd, seconded J. Whiting Carried unanimously. 36. Lyttelton: Investments. The Council to review the policy on our financial assets invested in finance companies. Explanation: Our own Local has money invested in Term Deposit, banks etc. The remit was withdrawn as an explanation of finances is to be given to Conference by members of the Finance Committee.
39. Bluff: The Union develop an information pack for all new members. This pack to include a short history of the union movement and the particular industry within our union they are employed in. Remit committee recommendation: endorsed unanimously Moved by R. Fife, seconded E. Hicks. Carried 40. Bluff: That Conference adopts a policy of pursuing a clause in all contracts for paid union leave for members who participate in union Conferences, meetings and union training. Remit committee recommendation: endorsed unanimously Moved R. Fife, seconded F. Salelea Carried 41. Bluff: That Conference reaffirms its commitment to commission the appropriate writer to write the NZWWU history. The seafarers are right now recording their struggle and victory against the odds and feel that it is imperative that the wharfies do the same to ensure that the great wealth of knowledge is not lost. The remit committee’s recommendation: That the remit be accepted and suitable historians/ writers to be assessed for interest in undertaking the Project. Moved R. Fife, seconded W. Connelly Carried 42. Bluff: The union utilise all aspects of OSH legislation and the use of Maritime New Zealand to better enforce safety in the work place. Moved R. Fife, seconded D. Dick. Carried 43. Bluff: That redundancy provisions need to be negotiated with employers and recognised that redundancy is a last resort within our industries. Moved R. Fife, seconded W. Connelly. Carried 44. Bluff: That the union develop a campaign to outlaw the use of manual twist locks, particularly in highlighting the dangers of working with manual twist locks. Moved R. Fife, seconded P. Adams Remit Committee recommendation: approval of remit with the National executive to seek input from all branches to develop a campaign strategy to see manual twist locks eliminated. Carried unanimously 45. Bluff: Conference endorse a campaign to highlight the excessive hours worked in our industry that is causing stress and fatigue on our members and their families.
The remit committee’s recommendation: The remit be accepted, with a questionnaire prepared for all branches to complete so the union can discover the extent and develop a campaign. Moved R. Fife, seconded L. Wells Carried 46. Bluff: Election of Officers – that rule 14(6) be changed so that the election of officers either takes place on an alternative year to Conference or held before Conference commences. Moved R. Fife, seconded G. Chandler remit committee’s recommendation: That the remit be endorsed and referred to the executive. Carried unanimously. Education 47. Auckland: That we set up a national education budget to clarify how much we spend on the Union’s education programme. We will then be in a better position to review our education programme if ERE funding disappears with a possible change of Government. Within that review the need for a 50 cent capitation fee can be explored at future national executive level. Moved P. Spanswick, seconded F. Salalea. Carried. 48. Auckland: That the current appointed position of Educator/ Organiser should be reviewed and should reflect the structure of our union as an elected position. Remit 48 was withdrawn by the branch that had submitted it. 49. Auckland: Branches to purchase or order required numbers for delegates. Hand book should be a no year calendar with noted union dates, May Day, Interport, Picnic day, meetings, etc. Hand book should be pocket size and plastic cover and durable. remit committee’s recommendation: endorsed. Moved P. Spanswick, seconded F. Salalea. Carried. 50. Auckland: Our Education programs future survival should not depend on ERE funding and the reliance of a Labour-led government that supports ERE leave again in 3 years time. We should be looking to putting ourselves in a position where our program will survive in the future and that our program will support itself to carry on into the future. Strengthening our position now will see our program grow and be prepared for the future. The remit was withdrawn by the branch that had submitted it.
37. Lyttelton: Bring back Stop-work meeting attendance cards to be endorsed by a stamp. It will be the duty of delegates to inspect the attendance cards. Remit Committee recommendation: The remit was endorsed. Moved L. Wells, seconded G. Wyllie 38. Lyttelton: That a National office report by General Secretary be prepared for monthly Stop-work meetings. Les Wells presented the remit saying that it was intended as a broadsheet with a synopsis on activity over the preceding month. The remit was endorsed. Moved L. Wells, seconded B. Millington
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 19
CTU Update from CTU President Ross Wilson ITF members of the International Leonhardt & Blumberg Campaign Committee met in Sydney, November 2006
ITF Leonhardt & Blumberg Campaign by Kathy Whelan In the last issue of the Maritimes, the ITF reported on the Leonhardt and Blumberg (L&B) “No Place to Hide” campaign. Leonhardt and Blumberg is a German shipowner with a fleet of 45 vessels operating world wide, who launched a series of attacks against maritime unions around the world by refusing to sign ITF agreements on their Flag of Convenience vessels. The campaign, under the co-ordination of a core group of ITF coordinators: Dean Summers – Australia, Ali Memon – Germany, Shoiji Yamashita – Japan, HK Kim – Korea, and Simon Des Baux of the ITF Regional Office in Tokyo. He has had huge success and 14 of L&B owned/operated vessels have signed ITF agreements.
A series of ITF meetings held in Sydney over the week of 20 November was an opportunity for the L&B Campaign Committee to meet and review the campaign. The Committee identified specific targets for this region and also agreed to take the campaign into the European region under the coordination of Dean Summers the Australia ITF coordinator. In respect to New Zealand, Kathy Whelan will meet with the Team in Tauranga and discuss forward strategy. One of the greatest successes of the campaign is the enormous strengthening of solidarity among ITF affiliates. It has been a hugely successful campaign from all perspectives and isn’t over yet.
Donation to Hospice by Kathy Whelan Over many, many years the New Zealand Seafarers Union in Wellington held an annual social function for retired seafarers and their spouses, funded by donations from current seafarers. For a number of reasons such as natural attrition and life style choices where our retired members have relocated to other areas or countries, it was no longer viable to hold the functions and we have wound up our social club. 20 | The Maritimes | December 2006
There was a residue of money left in the Fund and it was the wish of the Committee, on behalf of current and retired seafarers, to make a donation of $1,000 each to the Te Omanga Hospice and Mary Potter Hospice. We made this donation as a mark of respect for the work done by the Hospice, we all have family and/or friends, colleagues and work mates who have benefited from the wonderful work of the Hospice staff and services, to whom we are grateful and thank sincerely.
The union movement has had a busy year, and top on everyone’s list of crucial moments for us as a movement has to be the distribution workers who successfully stood up to the aggressive bullying of their employer in September this year. Progressive Enterprises were heavy handed since the beginning of the negotiations – and they threw all their might at the workers in an effort to starve them out. There was no question that when the company took on the NDU and EPMU workers in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch, they took all of us on. We had to win, and we did, and as a union movement, we can feel proud that we have rebuilt our strength and confidence to the point where we get the overwhelming response we did from unions to our call for solidarity and financial support. The locked out workers were significantly boosted by the huge support from the public, and the hard work of many unions in directly supporting them. I want to acknowledge the solidarity of your union to the distribution workers - the donations, the pledge of an hours pay a week and coordination of international support through transport unions was fantastic. Campaigning is an important part of our political work, and last month we were pleased to see Parliament throw out National’s 90 Days bill, in what was a clear union win for working people.
Campaigning by unions over several months, including lobbying MPs, rallies in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, leafleting at flea markets, postcard campaigns and a campaign website all helped to beat the bill. Members of your union made time to meet with MPs, in particular from New Zealand First, and it was pleasing to see that party, and the Maori Party, come out against the Bill in November. Only the 5 MPs from Act and United Future joined the National caucus in voting for the Bill to continue. These two major campaigning efforts took place against the backdrop of an already busy union movement – our work in political advocacy, worker education, industry and sector organising, campaigning and economic development, continues actively as ever. We are also looking forward to taking part in the review of casual work that New Zealand First’s Peter Brown announced at your conference recently. As you well know, many workers are reliant on insecure casual work, and this is an unsatisfactory situation that needs to be addressed. I hope you have a safe and restful Christmas period.
AROUND THE PORTS
Auckland Waterfront Local 13 by Russell Mayn Again another year has nearly passed, and this year there have been some victories and some losses. The Union must remain aware and learn from the losses and celebrate the victories. The world is changing faster than ever before as globalization takes centre stage and democracy takes a back seat to corporate profits.
Australia Workers in Australia are beginning to feel the brunt of Howard’s new labour laws, as living standards in Australia will drop for the average worker while company profits soar. The present industrial climate in Australia is a wake up call for workers in New Zealand, the changes to industrial legislation laws in Australia under a right wing government are a taste of what is planned for New Zealand if a National Government ever regains power.
Political scene MMP means that we must plan well in advance to make sure a left wing coalition leads New Zealand after the next General election. Strategic voting and a campaign focused on ensuring all working people exercise their vote are essential to achieve this. Recent events in regards to campaign expenses and support for political parties from fringe organisations shows us that the right wing are well organised and resourced. Privatization, tax cuts and any anti-worker economic and social attacks must be resisted. I believe most New Zealanders want to live in a country that has fair and decent labour laws, and the support from the public for the workers locked out by Progressive shows that New Zealanders still know what is right and what is a “fair go”.
Robert Patchett (MUA Victoria Branch), Russell Mayn (MUNZ Local 13) and Keith McCorriston (MUA Western Australia branch)
Conference The MUNZ Triennial Conference held in Wellington was in my opinion one of the best I have attended and all those involved in organising this event need to be congratulated. Delegates and observers from every Branch/Local had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers cover a range of subjects concerning the Maritime Industry. Guest Unionists from the Maritime Union of Australia, All Japan Dockworkers Union and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union addressed the conference, it became clear that all Pacific Unions were dealing with the same issues in the workplace. The one issue that was common was how quickly the Industry was changing with the advent of larger Container vessels and how these vessels would impact on all Maritime workers. Larger container vessels will change cargo patterns in New Zealand, and we have already seen the number of ship calls reduce, but the amount of cargo increase with each call. This pattern may change again if Coastal Shipping makes a comeback, there is no doubt Coastal shipping has a role to play in the logistics chain within New Zealand as a clean and efficient way to handle cargo. Land and Rail Transport operators at present have an advantage through subsidies and if Coastal Shipping were to receive the same benefits it would become a more viable alternative. The important issue going
forward for the Maritime Union will be the argument over who mans these vessels. There is only one option for us and that is New Zealand Seafarers on Coastal ships.
Remits As usual the debate around remits at conference was robust with ample opportunity for speakers for and against to have their views heard. The arguments were well presented and based on logical outcomes, some were adopted and some were voted down. Those remits that were adopted will provide an opportunity for all Branches/ Locals to grow in strength. The platform created by progressive remits allows the membership to make informed decisions and democratically shape the future of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.
90 Day Bill The good news is that the Mapp 90 day bill got exactly what it deserved in the second reading and was voted down by 67 to 53. This could not have been achieved without the campaigning and support of union activists throughout the country, so congratulations to everyone involved. The next campaign is the removal of youth rates in New Zealand, there is no room for age discrimination in the workplace and the sooner this bias is removed the better.
Union Elections The election for the National Officials has been completed
and I would like to take this opportunity in congratulating all those who were successful. I am honoured to have the position of Assistant General Secretary and look forward to representing all Maritime Union members in my new role.
Phil Mansor At the conference Phil Mansor announced that he would be stepping down from the role as national returning officer. I had the pleasure of working with Phil in my capacity as returning officer for the Auckland Branch and found him to be both efficient and diligent. On many occasions his advice and guidance was invaluable.
Interport The Interport Sports is not far away and I look forward to seeing everyone in Bluff. This sporting event is unique in this day and age and although this is a social event it is also highly competitive and never fails to live up to its reputation both on and off the field. The year has seen the Maritime Union involved in many disputes nationally and internationally, these struggles have been fought as maritime workers. The benefits of unity within our industry far outweigh the divisions of the past. What the future holds in our industry is often uncertain but what is certain is that a strong Maritime Union will be there. To all the membership and their families I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year. “Touch One, Touch All.” The Maritimes | December 2006 | 21
PORT ROUNDUPS This is a pity because finally I believe we have a Minister that understands the position she holds in Government at least in the shipping area.
Non-propelled rigs – Ocean Patriot
In the news: Wellington Seafarers’ Secretary Joe Fleetwood faces the TV3 crew at the MUNZ Triennial Conference
Wellington Seafarers by Joe Fleetwood Trevor Hanson, Gary Parsloe and myself met on the 8 November 2006 with the Minister of Transport Annette King to discuss the Maritime Industry. We discussed casualization of the waterfront, and we explained about the vicious downward spiral faced by workers from employers, who are seeking constant restructuring. Employers are losing sight of the need for workers to have career paths in place to carry then into the future. Privatization of the ports was hammered out, and the Minister was told that the Government needs to make a stand and support the working class that supported them, and not cower down to peer pressure from the big multinationals who think they can come into New Zealand, and buy and dictate the way New Zealanders will work and live. The Chinese-owned company Hutchison’s bid for the Port of Lyttelton was used as an example.
Open Coast Policy We discussed the two dedicated Maersk vessels trading on the NZ and trans-Tasman coast under the guise of the 28-day rule, having no social responsibility to New Zealand and our seafarers. To make matters worse, Maersk is now looking at another 1800 box Carrier trading on the NZ coast, and then up to 22 | The Maritimes | December 2006
Indonesia and back, outside the 28-day rule. A foreign vessel can trade on the NZ coast for up to 28 days, they then go outside into international waters, then our great Government gives them free access for another 28 days, free of all ACC levies and taxes, with reduced foreign rates of pay, and with no social responsibility to New Zealand and our seafarers. My view to the Minister was either to put a line through the 28-day rule, or only to give the foreign operators the right to discharge and load cargo from their first port of call, or reduce from 28 days to seven days, forcing the foreign employer to leave and never come back, or talk to the respective unions about manning up their vessels. If nothing happens, the Government is guilty of no social responsibility to New Zealand seafarers.
Free trade We also asked, if the Government is so hell-bent on signing a free-trade agreement with China, how many ships will be manned with New Zealand crew? For example, if there are ten ships visiting New Zealand, carrying both imports and exports from our country, one would think the government would be looking after the interests of New Zealand seafarers, with at least two ships dedicated to New Zealand nationals. Would that be too hard to think of? The minister replied that the Free Trade agreement was not in her portfolio.
I asked the Minister, if you have a ship without a funnel, what is it? She replied, it’s a ship without a funnel. So, why is a ship without a propeller not a ship, just like the Ocean Patriot Drilling rig? The employer takes the propellers off his rig, which means the rig is not covered by New Zealand marine Legislation. They then call it a land rig, which is covered by Occupational Health and Safety. The rig sits in the middle of the ocean, then, to relocate her, they hook up two supply boats to tow her to the next location, and still the rig is deemed a dead unit, therefore still covered by OHS, and has no legal requirement to have a marine crew onboard for safety at sea. The Minister questioned her aide, and his weak reply was that when they were drafting marine legislation, non-propelled vessels were overlooked, and this is why they are covered by OHS.
Industry training It was pointed out to the Minister that we are an island nation, heavily reliant on seaborne travel, and the Maritime Industry has had a major lack of government and industry funding for many years. We, as a Union, have been doing our best, introducing trainees into vessels, with some port companies doing the same. But it is not enough. We need the Government to do more than just pay lip-service. They need to seriously address the lack of funding to train maritime industry workers.
ILO Seafarers Bill of Rights We pointed out to the Minister that New Zealand must be part of the ratification process, and play our part towards the protection of 1.2 million seafarers of the world. It was also mentioned that a good start to this process would be protection for New
Zealand seafarers. We are currently waiting to hear back from the minister on several issues, including a national register for all Maritime workers of NZ, and non-propelled vessels; why are they not covered by Marine legislation, but covered by OHS? The minister is to meet with international ship owners, and she will discuss a training module for NZ youth as a career path. She will also address the possibility of joint manning, following our discussion.
Amalgamation I attended the RMTU port forum on behalf of our Union 9 November 2006. RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson gave a presentation on a proposed structure for the new Union then handed over to me. I opened up with the view that MUNZ is still fully committed to the formation of a strong and progressive union inside the wharf gates to carry us forward into the future, but we need to get it right. I mentioned that the presentation has not been agreed to and should go to the next meeting of both parties to agree on. There were many upfront questions asked of me and I believe I answered them in the same manner. I believe the next meeting may be scheduled for the first week in February 2007 pending the availability of the two facilitators. United we stand – Divided we crawl.
Local Affiliates Council We have been very busy in Wellington campaigning against youth rates and many other working class issues, and also gearing up for rallys in support of our Australian comrades that are under attack from the disgraceful John Howard government. The branch executive endorsed sending two representatives to join the massive rally to be held in Melbourne protesting against the “work choices legislation”, Branch President Mike Clark and local activist Mike Shakespeare will be attending on behalf of the Wellington Branch. www.munz.org.nz
PORT ROUNDUPS Toll We have met with Toll management about a rehabilitation programme for members coming back to work off ACC. The company has employed the services of Brendan Roach as the rehabilitation consultant working out of his gym. His main focus is on strengthing and the flexibility of all injured body parts sustained due to accidents. Two names have already been submitted for therapy.
Contract talks We have finally signed off on the Toll Pre-bargaining Agreement, suggested dates for contract talks are 14, 18 and 19 December subject to confirmation.
Alcohol & Drug We are due to meet Nicole Rosie from Toll head office on 29 November 2006. Nicole has been given the job to put the drug and alcohol policy together for MUNZ and Toll. MUNZ opposes random alcohol and drug testing, but are very aware of the need to have a Union and Employer agreed alcohol & drug policy for their vessels.
Casuals Finally we are seeing lot of vacant catering positions onboard the Arahura filled with permanent workers. Aratere has a few but they look likely to be filled after dry dock in the new year pending the implementation of a fully operational galley. The company is in the process of making all other vacant positions currently filled by casuals into permanent jobs.
NIWA Due to unforeseen circumstances, we should be at the table early January to renew the Collective Agreement.
Offshore We currently have a 50/50 agreement with MUA and MUNZ members on board the supply boats Far Grip and Pacific Wrangler. Early 2007 may see the arrival of a seismic research vessel.
We are currently setting dates to commence the renewal of the NZ offshore agreement.
Strait Shipping The Monte Stello has picked up and is in full swing with a union crew. Santa Regina has just completed a dry dock in Auckland with her first dry dock agreement. We also have a document for training and travel if workers are needed to train out of port. It looks like the vessel MV Kent will be calling into the port of Napier, we are currently working with the company on manning and stevedore issues. On behalf of the Wellington branch we would like to wish the members of MUNZ and the trade union movement of the world a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Be safe and see you all in 2007.
Napier by Bill Connelly
Around and about The port is reasonably quiet at the moment. The Christmas holidays are almost upon us and the New Year is just around the corner.
Toll Logistics New Zealand Ltd With only three permanent workers left on the register for this company, we have been in protracted negotiations to keep them gainfully employed. This has eventuated with them travelling throughout the country on inter-port transfer, as well as taking care of business in their home port. It is gratifying to see that the company has seen fit to keep a presence in Napier and our members are most appreciative of their decision. Their current Collective Agreement expires on 31 December 2008.
Hawkeâ€™s Bay Stevedoring Services Ltd Our members employed by this company have been in continual employment on a regular basis and their idle time content is minimal. Their current Collective Agreement is in place until February 2008.
Kelcold Ltd With the amalgamation of the Stores and Warehouse Union into the Maritime Union of New Zealand, the Napier Branch takes this opportunity in welcoming the following new members to the Branch, they are: Daniel Lucy, Tui Makoare, Travis Meyer, Serena Ormond, Michael Perry, Craig Pitman, Robert Pollock, Jason Reid, Rodney Ruri, Stanley Ruri, Duane Whatuira, Christopher Ryan, and Jabez Taylor These members are employed in the Coolstore industry and for those of you who can still remember it is much like working continually in deep freeze conditions. The Branch is currently in negotiations with the company for a new Collective Agreement, with the expiration of the current Agreement on 6 October 2006.
Ohope Beach accommodation in New Zealand and Gold Coast accommodation in Australia: At our Annual General Meeting held in September, the local Executive presented a report from the Unionâ€™s auditor on the financial viability of retaining the Ohope and Gold Coast properties. The report highlighted the losses the Branch had sustained over the years, particularly in relation to the Ohope accommodation. Sadly the decision was made to sell both properties, once all bookings for the year and next year are honoured. To this end the Secretary was instructed to write to the National Executive and seek permission to sell both the properties, this I have done. Members should be aware that all bookings received will be honoured. With regard to the Ohope accommodation this will take us through to the end of January 2007.
The Gold Coast apartment however has bookings through until November 2007, but there are a few vacancies for next year, they are as follows: 3 March to 17 March 2007 (two weeks) 21 April to 05 May 2007 (two weeks) 5 May to 19 May 2007 (two weeks) 19 May to 02 June 2007 (two weeks) 6 October to 13 October 2007 (one week only) Anyone who is interested in applying for the above dates should contact the Napier Branch Secretary at the earliest opportunity. This has been a somewhat stressful year for the Branch, with redundancies, threatened restructuring and on top of that the Maersk fiasco. Our members are optimistic and look forward to Christmas and 2007, with some sort of optimism and hopefully a coming year, with a stabilised and safer working environment. The Officers, Executive and Members of Napier Branch wish to take this opportunity to wish all members throughout the country a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2007.
Gisborne by Dein Ferris Apart from the recent conference, there has been little happening in Gisborne for our company other than like all the other (now called) subsidaries to wait and see the next move that Southern Cross Limited are going to make. Unlike other parts of the country summer is here already, bringing with it concerns of a dry season which would have an impact on our summer shipments of squash. Hopefully this does not eventuate. There being nothing further to report, we wish everyone a safe happy merry christmas and a happy new year.
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 23
Port Chalmers by Phil Adams
International solidarity: From left – Robert Lumsden (MUA Victoria), Ian Quarrell, Mike Lysaght (Port Chalmers Local 10), David Gonzales (ILWU Local 10), Andrew Jennings (Port Chalmers Local 10), Jerry Ylonen (ILWU Local 8)
All of us are facing the same problems globally Port Chalmers branch executive member Andrew Jennings writes of his first “Conference experience.” by Andrew Jennings We boarded the plane on an overcast but warm Dunedin day, and everything was going well until the pilot came over the radio informing us we only had one chance to land at Wellington due to high winds, and if we couldn’t land we were heading to Auckland. We all thought this was a great laugh but as we found out not everyone was of the same opinion as while we were landing the woman sitting across from Ian was crossing her chest and saying the rosary. Nevertheless we made it down safely and made our way to the Conference. It was really interesting to meet all the delegates from the other ports around New Zealand and especially the visiting delegates from overseas. We had some very interesting speakers including politicians from three different parties all with very positive ideas and outlooks for the country, but none would go as far as to promise to stop the free trade agreements that are
24 | The Maritimes | December 2006
being considered which could include the free movement of foreign workers into New Zealanders jobs. Hearing from the delegates from Japan, USA and Australia it became apparent that all of us appear to be facing the same problems globally, such as casualization, insecurity and the erosion of workers rights. The erosion of workers rights was most obvious from the Australian delegation and it showed clearly how an antiUnion Government is devastating for workers. This in mind it shows how important it is for us to be active supporters of the current Labour led Government so we do not end up in the same predicament as Australian workers. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience with many new friends made and a lot learnt about the processes that go on behind the scenes in the Union. If any member gets an opportunity to attend one of these conferences I would highly recommend it to all.
Greetings from the South. With Christmas just upon us things are starting to get busy at the port. The terminal is starting to busy up which has meant we are looking at the way we work on long ship days. A proposal was put and carried at a combined meeting for a trial period of a month and as a result of this the 25 “B’s” we have will be offered full 5 day a week employment. The company has allowed more down time for drivers on long days and this should allow for better rest and less accidents as a result of tiredness. For the new system to work it needs the support of all members. The new crane is now earning its keep and the twin lifting is proving a faster turnaround for the larger ships. The new crane is currently set to arrive in May next year and in preparation for this the multi purpose wharf is being strengthened to accomodate the crane. Ship visits into the terminal are well up on last year and with the Maersk decision this should continue into the future. The company have also done extensive resealing in the terminal and this should aid with driving in the terminal.
New members James Mullen from Auckland has arrived to work for Port Otago. James has settled in well and has tried most of the golf courses in and around Dunedin. Also Diane Babbington from Auckland is settling in well and hoping to extend her skills in the Terminal.
Port Chalmers Cargo Services PCCS are keeping themselves busy with fish, logs and fertilizer allowing them to keep their head above water. We hope to get into talks with the Company in regard to increasing the number of permanent numbers so as to keep the skill level up.
“B’s” With the 25 “B’s” going to full time employment in the terminal, the Port Company intend employing another 15 “B’s” which would give our numbers a boost. We hope the new “B’s” are told their guarantee is three days and not to plan their lives around 4 or 5 day weeks.
Sheds The shed lads and Janis are flat out at the moment meeting orders. Recently they have shown interest in joining the Super Scheme which is good. Davy Burgess is serving our members at the Sheds well as their delegate. Some of our members there have indicated they would apply for the “B” jobs.
Xmas Shout The annual Xmas shout and retired members do will be held on 8 December 2006. This is an excellent time to meet with current and retired members and talk of the old times as well as current events. We encourage the younger members to mix with the older members who are responsible for building up the conditions we enjoy today.
Cruise Ships The Cruise Ship season is once again upon us and around 40 ships will visit the port. Although good for the local economy it can cause some problems for work flow when they berth at the container terminal.
Conference The recently held National Conference was attended by three young Executive members and all were impressed by the experience, they enjoyed the speakers and the camaraderie amongst our members and international guests. One of our delegates has reported back later in the Maritimes. Although the Conference is an expensive exercise I believe it delivered what we wanted and presence of the young members at the Conference means we will continue forward. www.munz.org.nz
PORT ROUNDUPS Looking at our three younger delegates each morning they obviously enjoyed the social side of the Conference. The venue was also useful as everything was on site.
DVD The local museum are putting together a DVD about local wharfies in conjunction with the commemoration of the first shipment of frozen meat out of New Zealand. The producer and narrator will attend our retired members shout to interview our retired members and I am sure they will get some great stories from these people. The local branch have been asked to contribute to the cost of producing the DVD.
MUA National Council I was fortunate to represent our national union along with Terry Ryan at the MUA National Council in Sydney in October, as well as RMTU Secretary Wayne Butson who also attended. This was my first attendance at one of these meetings and I was impressed at the professional manner in which it was organized. The days were long but interesting and overseas guests attended from countries including Papua New Guinea and East Timor. Bill Shorten and Kim Beazley of the Labor Party addressed the Conference. My trip back to Dunedin was eventful due to strong winds, as our plane which was due to land at 2pm put 2 wheels on the runway and then headed back to Christchurch, where we were bussed back to Dunedin, arriving at midnight.
for all staff and their families who work for Port Otago. Tug rides, crane rides and a general inspection of what goes on in the terminal especially to the families of those who work here with a BBQ in operation and a good day had by all.
Horse Our horse Ohoka Jasper has received a setback suffering a suspensory ligament which means he is turned out for two months, and hopefully he will make a return to the racetrack. The other horse in the North Island cannot be caught but once we corral it we think it will be a champion. With all the money we have spent on it to date it better be.
Sports Tourney The entries have been sent in for the Tourney and it looks like 15 will attend in Bluff. We wish them all the best in their endeavours.
Bowls It has been rumoured that a number of wharfies have been seen at the bowling club including the Secretary and Karl Tamati. Hopefully more will join as it is a relaxing way to spend our time off.
National Elections I am indeed grateful for the support in being re-elected as President and also congratulations to Trevor and Gary for being successful. The other candidates were
MUNZ observers John Shaw, Mike Shakespeare (Wellington Seafarers) and Robert McIntosh (Port Chalmers)
all capable and it is certain they will continue to put their names forward and remain active in the Union.
Terry Ryan It was indeed a sad occasion at the Conference to know it was Terry Ryan’s last as Assistant General Secretary. Terry has served the Union extremely well and is well regarded by our Branch. His knowledge and ready wit will be badly missed but we know he will continue to make his skills available to the Union and its members. The Port Chalmers branch wishes Terry a long and happy retirement. Thank you. In our port the Maersk decision has provided us with a future, but the younger members should always remember that we have a very volatile industry as older members will be able to tell you.
So although we are confident of the future we must remember what has gone on before. As officials we try to help and guide our members through to the future, and as we have had to do in the past, we have had to learn and adapt ourselves to the times. One avenue for members to get involved is to attend stopwork meetings and have your say. We are looking for those who have aspirations to take up an official position so make yourselves known to the current officials as there are good opportunities for training to bring people through. Finally remember you are in a very strong democratic Union that allows you to have your say so exercise this right as this can only aid the Union as we move towards the future.
Illness Members recovering from operations and illness include Jim Terry, Noel Currie (new hip) and brother Keith Currie. Ian Quarrell is back after an operation. Hopefully with Noel’s new hip he will be available to be Harry Cotton’s best man in the new year in Taupo.
Open Day On 19 November the Port Company held an open day www.munz.org.nz
Port Chalmers Local 10 President David Dick, MUA Western Australian Branch Deputy Secretary Keith McCorriston and Auckland Local 13 Observer Grant Williams at the Triennial Conference The Maritimes | December 2006 | 25
PORT ROUNDUPS International Executive Board, Local 8, Portland. David Gonzales, Local 10 President ILWU. Larry Manzo, Local 13 Business Agent, ILWU.
Australian delegation to Progressive Dispute
Auckland Maritime Union branches hosting international delegates from Japan and USA recently
Auckland Seafarers by Garry Parsloe
Rotoiti After being informed by Anglo-Eastern Ship Management that the Rotoiti would finish up in Melbourne on 26 September 2006 and that the crew at that time would be made redundant, the decision was made to fight for our right to maintain New Zealand Seafarers in the Tasman Trade. This became more important at this time as the Rotoiti was the last vessel manned by New Zealand Seafarers in the TransTasman Trade. To get things moving we wrote to the Auckland HapagLloyd Manager seeking a meeting to discuss the issue of manning and in due course received a response from the Managing Director of HapagLloyd (Australia). This response was totally unacceptable as there was no commitment to any dialogue around any manning. The Rotoiti had been trading (with New Zealand Seafarers) for 31 years in the Tasman Trade, and it was not acceptable that just because the Rotoiti was going to the Breakers that there was no future in the Tasman for New Zealand Seafarers. When we consider that the cargo will still be imported and exported out of New Zealand Ports and the Company will still be siphoning their profits out of the New Zealand economy then that Company 26 | The Maritimes | December 2006
has a social responsibility to New Zealand and New Zealand workers. Taking that onboard we made the firm decision that the crew of the Rotoiti would not be thrown on the unemployment heap without a fight. When the Rotoiti arrived in Auckland on 4 November 2006 the crew refused to lower the stern door and placed a picket on the gangway stopping all work on the vessel until such time as Hapag-Lloyd committed to dialogue in regard to the on-going employment of New Zealand Seafarers in the Tasman. This position was relayed to the Captain who passed the message onto the Company. After some three hours of the vessel laying idle the Company responded saying that they would meet with the Union to discuss our concerns.
Late News on Rotoiti I am pleased to report that after taking action which brought the Company to the table, we secured an enhanced Redundancy package for not only the crew onboard but also the off crew and those Seafarers who had been signed off. Along with the Redundancy Package we also secured upskilling and training for those Seafarers that wanted it, and have an agreement in writing that they (Hapag-Lloyd) will take their dedicated Tasman vessels out of the Tasman Trade, and if they introduce a vessel back into the trade they must consult the Maritime Union of New Zealand regarding the manning for those vessels. Finally we also managed
to secure a Financial Package large enough to finance five trainee boys into the Industry. We are proud of the fact that we have achieved the above Financial package as it is most important that we secure jobs for the youth of New Zealand in the Maritime Industry.
International Delegation Prior to the Second Triennial Conference, we hosted the International Delegates from both Japan and the USA in Auckland. On the first day they were in Auckland we took all the guests to a local Seafood Restaurant where everyone enjoyed themselves. On the second day Russell Mayn took all the guests around Auckland to do some sightseeing. The evening found all of us in a Parnell restaurant where once again we had an excellent evening which on this occasion went well into the small hours of the next morning. On the third day all the guests were taken to Waiheke Island on one of the Fullers boats to spend a few hours looking around some of the Wineries on the Island. This day also went into the small hours of the next morning. So all in all the guests had a most enjoyable time in Auckland before they headed to Wellington to participate in our Second Triennial Conference. The International Delegation was:Hideyuki Tozawa, Vice President, All Japan Dock Workers Union (Zenkowan) Jerry Ylonen, ILWU Coast Safety Committee and ILWU
The Australian delegation from both the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Rail Tram and Bus Union came to New Zealand to show solidarity and support to the locked out Progressive workers. The workers had been locked out by Progressive for some three weeks at this stage and they were really heartened when the Australian Delegation turned up at their Picket with not only their support but also financial assistance. The Australian Delegates attended the Picket each day they were in Auckland along with the Flying Pickets to other Progressive distribution outlets. They also delivered groceries to the homes of locked out workers and did some excellent work with the media especially on the morning TV programmes. It was really great to have our comrades from Australia here supporting New Zealand workers struggles which in no small way helped in all the pressure that was being applied from New Zealand workers and their Unions in bringing an acceptable settlement and a very important victory. Once again thanks to MUA and the TWU, it goes to show what International Solidarity can achieve.
ASFONZ Conference The ASFONZ Conference was held at the Sky City Auckland Convention Centre on the 8–10 of October 2006. The Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand Incorporated (ASFONZ) is “the Voice of Workplace Super” in New Zealand. ASFONZ is a voluntary, notfor-profit organisation made up of major workplace superannuation schemes as well as their professional advisers and service providers, with a membership that embraces all types www.munz.org.nz
PORT ROUNDUPS of superannuation – public and corporate, union-sponsored and industry-based. The Conference was opened by ASFONZ Chairman John Melville, who welcomed all the delegates to what he described would be an enlightening Conference in very exciting times for Retirement Schemes. The next speaker was Jill Spooner of Mercer HR Consulting. Jill stated that we are in exciting times for Retirement Schemes and that we must keep a finger on the pulse of all types of Investments and Savings. Professor John Gibson of Waikato University spoke on the choices to make when measuring household savings. He went on to talk about the sources for investing, which are better, stock or flow measures of savings. John addressed the sources of differences in Micro and Macro consumption estimates. John concluded by asking the question “why bother measuring savings”. The answer is you need to take into consideration life expectation at retirement, early and late savings, expected wealth at retirement and the projected retirement income.
The last speaker on day one was Grant Spencer, Assistant Governor and Head of Economics at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Grant gave an economic update of the Retirement Savings Industry. Grant stated that household savings have deteriorated faster in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world and went on to say that New Zealand households have a large part of their wealth in housing. House prices have accelerated since 2002, credit has expanded along with asset values and much of the credit expansion has funded housing equity withdrawal. Grant concluded by stating that housing is easier to get leverage than other investments and bank lending behaviour also supports housing. The Conference was attended by Union Trustees from both the Seafarers Retirement fund and the Waterfront Industry Superannuation Fund. Whilst I was unable to attend all the Conference I am sure that those that did got a wealth of knowledge from the Seminar.
Five “generations” of Bluff Branch Presidents: R. Powley, T. Emmerson, D. McKay, L. Perkins, J Corkery (photo by Harry Holland)
Bluff by Ray Fife
Triennial Conference Wayne Finnerty, Ross Tangney and Harry Holland attended the conference held in Wellington as observers from this Branch, all commented that the conference was excellent, well run and worth going to. The conference sets the agenda in which direction we are heading for the next three years with the main focus on casualization and cabotage. The guest speakers covered a wide range of subjects and some government initiatives were announced, in particular to casualization within our industry. The members said that the conference is an excellent way to meet fellow members from throughout New Zealand and overseas, to discuss issues that we face in this port and compare them to the issues they face in their ports, to establish contacts, particularly overseas contacts that may prove to be helpful in times of need.
Bluff delegation at the Triennial Conference, from left, Ross Tangney, Wayne Finnerty, Ray Fife and Harry Holland
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Super Expo Conference held in Auckland in October. The Conference was designed to appeal to all sectors of the workplace superannuation industry including employers, service providers, trustees and administrators. The main theme of the conference was the Governments introduction of Kiwi Saver, speakers explained what employees need to know about KiwiSaver right now, the implications arising from
the introduction of Kiwisaver for employers already offering workplace superannuation, the way the tax regime is to be changed for super schemes and the effect it will have on existing schemes. The key speakers addressed a wide range of important issues relevant to superannuation and the implementation of Kiwisaver with some saying that the changes are shaping up as the most important for workplace superannuation since the tax changes of the late 1980s.
Old Timers Get Together Our annual function for the old timers was once again held in November. We had an attendance of 60 past members who enjoyed an evening that enabled old work mates to chat, reminisce on the things they got up to on the waterfront and to use the nick-names that some have not been called since they left the industry. Life member and past President Rex Powley spoke to the gathering on the 1951 lockout, how the shippers were dictating proceedings then and noting the similarities that are happening in the current environment on the waterfront today with the shipping cartels. The evening ended with all ex-members asking the union to make sure that this annual event continues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me in the elections and wish all the elected officials all the best and finally wish all members throughout New Zealand a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. The Maritimes | December 2006 | 27
Obituary – Bob Kempthorne by Kathy Whelan
At the Triennial Conference: Les Wells, Mark Forster (Lyttelton), and Bradley Clifford (Wellington)
Lyttelton by Les Wells
Longsuffering Mike Clarke (President, Wellington Seafarers Branch) managed to organize all the details at the Conference, including bands and vans
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those that were successful in our election. Lyttelton would also like to extend to Terry Ryan our thanks and best wishes in his retirement. It has been a learning experience for me to be able to work with Terry over the years both as National President and also as Local President here in Lyttelton . One of Terry’s major assets to me has been being able to sit through talks with some company’s where after they have finished you want to cut your wrist to put yourself out of your misery, but Terry has always been a positive in the company’s doom and gloom and on many occasion has come out with a far better agreement than you could have expected. On a personal note I do want to thank Terry for the company at the Green Parratt over the years and the speeches you have written for me – I wish you well in your retirement and may you find the big Snapper you have been looking for.
Bob Kempthorne died suddenly in Wanganui from a heart attack on 26 August 2006, having retired 10 years earlier from the rail ferry Aratika. He joined the Union and shipped out as a boy in March of 1954. Bob was a loyal member, good shipmate and friend. In retirement, as is common, people lose touch as their focus changes, particularly when they live away from main cities and the people network. It was Bob’s wish that a private service be held so word of his passing was not advertised but spread by word of mouth and of all the people I rang the comments were the same, that he was a lovely man who was always and ever cheerful and never had a bad word to say about anyone. To his wife Carol and children, the deepest sympathy from the Union, particularly the Wellington Seafarers Branch and his shipmates from his last ship the Aratika.
Members, I would like it brought to your notice the way our offshore delegates are treated by the agents. These people make money off the back of our members. What they do is if an action is fought for and hard won, the lice tell other agents in New Plymouth not to employ the delegates. This even if you have not worked for this company before, therefore making it hard to get good members to the delegates job. In our handbook it says remember when you are with onboard management you are acting as an officer of the Maritime Union of New Zealand. As a delegate you are an equal with management’s representative. Can anyone tell me when the management’s representative has been black listed – no. But many delegates have. It is about time we put a stop to this injustice. Yours in unity
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Free Trade is a threat to jobs and conditions by Trevor Hanson, General Secretary There has been no substantial public debate on the proposed free trade deal between New Zealand and China. This is a serious problem because there are major issues with such free trade deals that are not being put before the public. Free trade is presented in New Zealand as something that cannot be stopped or even questioned, or otherwise as a totally positive step with no downside at all. Free trade is really just an extension of the free market to the global level – it is about integrating us with the global economy, but ignores that the global economy has some terrible things occurring in it. We cannot separate the way the economy works from the social problems we face. This approach was used to defend Rogernomics in the 1980s – in order to generate the money for social expenditure, it was said we needed a “lean and mean” economy. But what happened with the “lean and mean” economy is that it created more social problems, not less. One of the things about free trade is that it refers to far more than just goods moving between two countries.
“Decisions on our future should be made by all New Zealanders, not unelected officials negotiating deals behind closed doors”
It covers areas such as the movement of short-term labour, domestic regulations and investment, or who owns our economy. The use of short-term, casual workers imported across borders by employers in order to undermine wages and conditions is a major concern for the Maritime Union. The Chinese Government and business class (the two seem interlinked) are quite clear that this is what they are looking for in both Australia and New Zealand. The Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai told the New Zealand Herald during his visit to New Zealand in October 2006 that he had raised the issue of importing workers. In Australia, Chinese business and the Chinese Government have been even more clear about their goals. The Australian Financial Review reported in June 2006 that China might be interested in a point-to-point Chinese owned and staffed transport chain stretching from mines, rail and ports in Australia through to shipping to China. The Chinese government has used World Trade Organisation negotiations to press for Chinese crews to load and unload vessels in Australian ports. Recent experience has shown us that these types of agreements are not a oneoff, they are a process that is heading us in a certain direction. This is not a debate about immigration, or race. It is an economic and social argument, and our position is that workers have the right to secure jobs with good wages. This cannot be achieved when there is the unregulated movement of short-term labour under free trade. The problems with the abuse and exploitation of overseas crews in the New Zealand fishing industry have recently been addressed by Government action. However, our concern is that free trade will simply open the door to the same set of problems onshore in New Zealand. In Europe there have been major upheavals as stevedoring operators move casualized, short-term labour across borders to work in ports. The global shipping industry is filled with unregulated vessels flying “Flags of Convenience”, which are often crewed by badly paid and treated seafarers. These types of problems will come ashore with free trade. Effectively free trade sets us up to compete with the most heartless regimes in the world: those that are willing to sacrifice their people’s living standards, health and environment to sell their goods cheaply and to attract foreign investment.
An article in the Los Angeles Times in October 2006 reported the sinister face of free trade in action. A growing backlash over low wages and poor conditions is occurring in Zambia, where Chinese owned and managed mines are accused of terrible conditions, faulty equipment, appalling safety and paying $2 a day wages. The mine workers don’t even get a day off. There have been riots and catastrophic accidents. The Los Angeles Times reported the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia made comments suggesting that Beijing might sever ties and investors might pull out if the leading opposition candidate won in the Presidential elections. A 25-year old miner summed up the situation. “We are seen as nonentities. The mine management is just concerned about profit, not human life,” he said. I believe this article should be compulsory reading for all our free trade promoting politicians. What is disturbing is that the Labour Government, which was elected largely by workers and those with a social conscience, is going down this path. There is a sense of having to rush it through, because if there was a full and frank public debate on free trade then it wouldn’t happen. For those who say that our democratic rights are safe under free trade, I only note the great lengths our Governments go to to hide visiting Chinese officials from any protest or dissent. This may be because it makes them feel more comfortable, because as we know free speech, workers rights and democratic accountability are in short supply in China. The further we go down the free trade path, the greater impact it will have on our society. Let’s not be blinded by the premature talk of economic bonanzas. If we make the wrong choices now, we will have a long time to regret it, because once we are signed up, we are locked into the free trade system. It’s time to have a proper debate. Decisions on our future should be made by all New Zealanders, not unelected officials negotiating deals behind closed doors.
[This article was first published in the New Zealand Herald on 9 November 2006]
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 29
From left, Brian Prisk, Kathy Whelan and Liam
Blast from the Past – the SS Kaimai berthed at the Railway Wharf in Wellington 1947 Back – Jock Lorimer, Bill Goddard, Front – McNamara, Tiger Garner, unknown, Tommy Gregory, Joe Burns
The Wellington Pacifica wharfies and office staff celebrate around the Barbie for the 60th birthday of one among them who thinks he has made enough bribes and threats to ensure he remains nameless – haven’t you Nobbie! Happy Birthday Nobbie Clarke
Grand Dame of Napier Turns 80 Rene Armstrong, loving wife of the late Clarry Armstrong, a wharfie and seaman who was a loyal ‘51er and staunch unionist (and who appears on the cover page of the book Big Blue as part of the crowd of locked out wharfies), has turned 80. Rene was active during the 1951 lockout and is a loyal union supporter and friend. Happy birthday Rene from seamen and wharfies of the Maritime Union of New Zealand and your dear friend Kathy.
30 | The Maritimes | December 2006
Brian Prisk by Kathy Whelan Say the name Brian Prisk and what’s the first thing you think of? Lyttelton. Say the word Lyttelton and who is the first person you think of? Brian Prisk. Priskie is sick, he knows it, he talks about it and he has accepted it. I just wanted to say a few things about my friend Brian through this magazine. I have known Brian for over 30 years and for each and every one of those years he has been my trusted friend, he is a good man who I don’t think has consciously hurt anyone, his asks of life have been simple and his values high. Priskie was born in Lyttelton 56 years ago, he tells of a simple upbringing in small town New Zealand in the 1950s, days on beaches, bike rides and all the simple yet massive joys of life before technology. A childhood of no pressures, where kids knew how to amuse themselves, and of safe and caring communities. It best Brian write his own story and below is an extract from an interview he gave to the Lyttelton News on 10 March 2006 : “Here in Lyttelton I had 4 choices, working in the foundries, boatbuilding, at sea or on the wharf. So at 15 I chose to go to sea and I stayed at sea for 34 years. I have never been unemployed, but there was always plenty of work, there were 30 or so ships on the coastal run, now there are only a handful.” “I had 3 mentors in my life – Bill Martin, Dave Morgan and John O’Neill. They each played a significant role in my life and
I decided if I structured my life like theirs I would achieve something, they were all union men, I was lucky to follow them and I was an executive member of the Seamen’s/Seafarers Union for 24 years.” An old football injury forced Brian ashore and with his superannuation account – a huge condition which he will always be grateful for, and payments through his Union contract – he got together enough money to open a bar in Lyttelton called the Rat and Roach which, although hard work at the beginning, took off. It was the plan to work the pub until retirement but along came this “little bit of bullshit” which put a stop to all that. Brian has enjoyed his life, he is respected and loved by many. He has had a good life and has no regrets. The greatest pride and satisfaction in Brian’s life has been the relationship he has developed with his son Liam. Brian was an absent father until 10 years ago when Liam moved from Bluff to Lyttelton to life with Brian. Their relationship is deep and their mutual love and respect evident. Whilst accepting of his predicament, Brian’s sadness comes from all the years that will be stolen from him and Liam. The outpouring of support and friendship to Brian through his illness has been immense and we are all behind you Brian: you are a good and true friend.
MARITIME SCENE Maritime Union Branch and Local Contacts
International guests with Maritime Union members at the Ports of Auckland, October 2006
Whangarei Mobile: 021 855121 Fax: 09 459 4972 Address: PO Box 397, Whangarei Auckland Seafarers Phone: 09 3032 562 Fax: 09 3790 766 Mobile: 021 326261 Address: PO Box 1840, Auckland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Auckland Local 13 Phone: 09 3034 652 Fax: 09 3096 851 Mobile: 021 760887 Address: PO Box 2645, Auckland Email: email@example.com
Mike Williams receives a plaque from the Nelson branch of MUNZ for services to the maritime industry, the branch wishes Mike well for his future in the industry (submitted by Peter Fox 0623)
Mount Maunganui Phone: 07 5755 668 Fax: 07 5759 043 Mobile: 0274 782308 Address: PO Box 5121, Mt. Maunganui Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gisborne Local 38 Mobile: 025 6499697 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:
MUA unofficial ambassador Rick NewZealyn (AKA Rick Newlyn) is phoning home from the Triennial Conference to let them know what a good read the Maritimes is
06 8358 622 027 6175441 PO Box 70, Napier email@example.com
Wellington Seafarers Phone: 04 3859 288 Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 021 481242 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wellington Waterfront Phone: 04 8017 619 Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 021 606379 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
Ex-members J Reid, Dutchie Holland, and K Gill at the Bluff Old Timers function, 19 November 2006
Lyttelton Local 43 Phone: 03 3288 306 Fax: 03 3288 798 Mobile: 0274 329620 Address: PO Box 29, Lyttelton Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Timaru Phone/Fax: 03 6843 364 Mobile: 021 2991091 Address: PO Box 813, Timaru Port Chalmers Dunedin Local 10 Phone: 03 4728 052 Fax: 03 4727 492 Mobile: 0274 377601 Address: PO Box 44, Port Chalmers Email: email@example.com Bluff Phone/Fax: Mobile: Address: Email:
03 2128 189 027 4475317 PO Box 5, Bluff firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maritimes | December 2006 | 31
32 | The Maritimes | December 2006
“Touch One, Touch All”
24–26 October 2006, Wellington, New Zealand
Maritime Union of New Zealand Second Triennial Conference
Published on Dec 1, 2006