The Issue 24 â€˘ December 2008
Maritimes Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand
UNITY Pacifica workers take a stand
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 1
STRIKE LATE NEWS: Ports of Auckland One Day Stoppage
2 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Maritime Union members at the Ports of Auckland took a one day strike in early December. Around 300 workers in the Ports of Auckland container terminal stevedoring, road, rail, shuttle and engineering services areas withdrew labour for a 24 hour period from 10.59pm on Tuesday 2 December through to the following evening. Workers attended an eight hour meeting at the New Lynn RSA on the day of the strike to discuss employment issues. The meeting gave unanimous mandate to take a proposal to management. Officials said members had been pleased to have the opportunity to go over issues in an all up meeting, and the Union would be coming forward with a proposal that was good for workers and the company.
A proposal for an eight hour stopwork meeting had earlier been turned down by the Ports of Auckland management. Maritime Union Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says the industrial action came about because workers needed to discuss employment issues. He says short meetings proposed by the Company were not adequate. Mr Carlisle says the Ports of Auckland had made a number of unilateral proposals for a new employment agreement, but these had not been the result of negotiation and were a way for management to give the impression of action with no substance. â€œThe company has made all sorts of proposals but have not addressed some core issues such as casual employment.â€? The use of out of town labour in the port had also caused concern for Ports of Auckland workers, he says.
Globalization of solidarity Edition 24, December 2008
Contents Editorial and contents General Secretary’s report Update from National President Pacifica workers Union benefits Lyttelton Port Chalmers merger Mining and Maritime Maersk Network MUNZ-EPMU offshore alliance ITF Asia Pacific MUA Youth Conference East Asia Dockers Conference ITF News Port Roundups Book reviews Port contacts
3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 18 20 21 31 31
Lyttelton Port Chalmers merger page 9
‘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: email@example.com Web: www.munz.org.nz Editor: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Fax: 09 9251125 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: PO Box 339, Dunedin New Zealand Editorial Board: Trevor Hanson, Phil Adams, Garry Parsloe and Russell Mayn Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters: 8 February 2009 for next edition Cover photo: Wellington Waterfront Branch MUNZ members at Pacifica, 25 November 2008, photo by Victor Billot
Youth conference page 14
Contact the Maritime Union National Office Telephone: 04 3850 792 Fax: 04 3848 766 Address: PO Box 27004, Wellington Office administrator: Ramesh Pathmanathan Email: email@example.com General Secretary: Trevor Hanson Direct dial: 04 8017 614 Mobile: 021 390585 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org National President: Phil Adams Direct dial: 03 4728 052 Mobile: 0274 377601 Email: email@example.com
For more on-line photos, see www.flickr.com/maritimeunion
National Vice President: Garry Parsloe Direct dial: 09 3032 562 Mobile: 021 326261 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to our photographers, including Jaime Midson (MUA), Max Williams, Garry Parsloe, Alf Boyle, Bill Connelly, Les Wells and others
Assistant General Secretary: Russell Mayn Direct dial: 09 3034 652 Mobile: 021 760886 Email: email@example.com ITF Inspector: Grahame MacLaren Direct dial: 04 8017 613 Mobile: 021 2921782 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Communications Officer: Victor Billot Mobile: 021 482219 Fax: 09 9251125 Address: PO Box 339, Dunedin Email: email@example.com
By Victor Billot The Maritime Union will have an important role to play in the months and years ahead. We are facing challenging times as a conservative Government takes power in New Zealand and a global economic recession of unknown magnitude unfolds. This issue of The Maritimes provides an overview of the big issues facing workers. Close to home, we see the effects of the global recession hitting home with the threat to jobs becoming a reality for MUNZ members at Pacifica in Wellington. Their response and attitude is something we can all learn from. Industrial action is going ahead at the Ports of Auckland as this issue of The Maritimes goes to press. Ports of Auckland continue an aggressive approach towards their workforce which will be countered by collective union power. It is likely that more employers will start to use more direct tactics to maintain their profits at the expense of workers. The increasing pressure for port rationalization has now taken a step forward with the proposed merger of port operations at Lyttelton and Port Chalmers. This news comes hot on the heels of Chinese shipping corporation COSCO expressing an interest in buying into ports in Australia and New Zealand. The ownership and control of New Zealand’s maritime industry will have a major impact on workers. Our response as unionists will make the difference. The tools which the working class can use are organization and solidarity. The Maritime Union is its members. Without active involvement of delegates on the job and members who take a role in the unions affairs, we will be unable to act as an effective organization for members. Our relations with other unions in the maritime sector both inside and outside New Zealand will be critical, such as the oil and gas offshore alliance initiative. We need to move towards more unity and better organization, while maintaining militant, rank and file democratic unionism. Over time, we need to strengthen our role in the International as the future for unions can only be global. Corporations are now global organizations who in many cases have greater power and resources than nation-states. The Maritime Union of New Zealand continues to maintain active contacts with our global networks. These include the International Transport Workers Federation and its international campaigns such as the Maersk network, the Asian and Pacific regional groupings, and the international network of Mining and Maritime unions that spans several continents and many like-minded unions in key areas of the global economy. We have a strong relationship with the Maritime Union of Australia and over 2008 the “Trans Tasman Federation” has come into its own with regular contacts between the unions and the growth areas such as the offshore industry. MUNZ officials and rank and file delegates attended the MUA Conference and representatives from both unions attend each others executive meetings. Several of our younger members attended the MUA Youth Conference in Melbourne recently and have reported back on their experiences. These are promising developments and we hope that more members can take part in such events in the future. Perhaps, one day, we may even see an international Maritime Union of the South Pacific?
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 3
Unity the best response to recession Well, a change they will get, and it will take another three years before they get a chance to reconsider.
By Trevor Hanson General Secretary
National meeting The Maritime Union Executive met in Wellington on the 24 and 25 November 2008. The Union discussed a number of issues including changes to the Union structure around a regionalization plan that is aimed at ensuring the most efficient and effective use of union resources. The results of these discussions will go back to the branches for consideration. It is important to focus on the future of our Union as the challenges ahead are considerable. We have seen the global economy hit the skids in recent months and we are seeing constant developments in the maritime industry. These include port rationalization, redundancies, ongoing changes in shipping schedules, and opportunities in the offshore industry.
A new Government The political situation is also entering a period of change. There is a new Government of the political Right, which means that the working class face tough times. The main goal of the new Government will be to ensure profit levels for employers are kept up. Their stated commitment to public services and limited changes to employment laws will soon take second place to ensuring that big business and the wealthy elite are protected from the recession. The tax cuts will largely help those in the top income bracket. The result will be a lot of people will be left high and dry, some of whom will have voted for National for the superficial reason they “wanted a change.” 4 | The Maritimes | December 2008
The world is currently in the worse financial crash since the 1930s, with the resulting recession spreading to the real productive economy. The problems have been developing for the last 20 years. Government and business have managed to keep a lid on things but now the reality of a failed system is coming home. This time around unregulated greed has brought the entire world financial system grinding to a stand still. The problems are met by increasing the pressure on workers around the world. I recently met a group of visiting Chinese Trade Union officials who were worried that some Chinese companies were relocating to Vietnam because the labour is cheaper. So the race to the bottom continues. Comparisons of the current crash to the great depression are being proliferated widely, but none of us were around to feel the effect. I can recall my father telling me that as a boy in the Great Depression on the 1930s he had no shoes, and they used to follow the cows to school and warm their feet in the cow pats. He also told us about coming home to a stew made of the family pet goat, and depending on trapped rabbits for food. Although I don’t believe that this would be allowed to happen in New Zealand today, right now we have many financially stretched and in poor living conditions, and a resurgence in the kind of problems we see in recessions and depressions. Thousands of New Zealanders have lost their life savings. Many finance companies were part of the great lending binge especially in property and as a result have collapsed or frozen funds. As our members are well aware, we have been caught up in the financial crisis through our Superannuation, as have all other participants in Superannuation schemes. It should be remembered that Superannuation is no different to any other investment. Over a long period the swings and roundabouts evens the whole thing out – this has been a fact since I joined our Super at its inception. There has been some rocky patches but inevitably the turn around has taken care of those periods. This may be little comfort to some like myself nearing retirement age, but even with the losses the Super schemes put us in a much better position than maritime workers in past generations who left the industry in some cases with next to nothing.
The current approach by governments around the world is to try and kick start economies by throwing huge amounts of cash at the problem. This will be paid for by future generations of workers. The main thing I have trouble comprehending is how world wide highly paid investors never took any precautions to protect their clients. They all followed the crash over the cliff. The only analogy I can apply was that none of them were prepared to step back in case they missed out on a profit.
Active unions the answer However, it would be foolish for any Union movement to rely on a friendly Government. Unions must be in a position to fight effectively for their members and for the working class at all times regardless of the Government. We have to defend the gains that have been made over the last nine years and continue to advocate our cause. The issues that face many workers are job security, housing, and debt. The effect of a job loss on a working family with heavy mortgage commitments is serious. Membership in a union is the best strategy for workers to get protection at a time of international economic turmoil. Both major political parties have outlined “job transition policies” to assist redundant workers. While minimum redundancy provisions, retraining and Working for Families are all part of the mix, workers need to unionize to protect wages and conditions. Unemployment and job security will be major issues for 2009 as the global recession starts to bite. Regardless of who is in Government, workers should seek to negotiate better than the minimum. The best guarantee that workers can have to ensure they have good wages and conditions, and provisions for redundancy, is to be a member of a union that negotiates well on their behalf. The Maritime Union will be pressing the new Government to continue with the current review of casualization in the New Zealand maritime and other industries as part of our ongoing work We are committed to getting the best for its members. Thank you for your continued support – “unity is strength.” Have a good Christmas and New Year, and best wishes for 2009.
Challenging times for workers Political front
By Phil Adams National President
Challenging times In the last several years, workers in the maritime industry have had some good times and some bad times. We have seen an increase in some areas of employment in recent years, especially with seafarers in the offshore industry. Problems that remain are the constant pressure to work unsocial and sometimes unsafe hours and shifts, some members surviving on too few hours of work, and the old problem of scab yellow associations being used by employers against genuine unions has not gone away. Some of these issues were discussed at our National Executive meeting in November and it is obvious that we need a strong national approach to these problems. As workers we are only as strong as our weakest link in the employment chain. Bad practices have to be addressed at both a local and national level. Those ports which are struggling due to factors outside their control need the support of the national union and other ports. This is one reason we see the new regionalization plan of the union as a way of achieving our goals of secure jobs. The Maritime Union is a socialist union and a collective union. The reason we have succeeded over the years is by a strong commitment to the benefit of all members not individuals.
Those who have been in the industry for several decades will know that it has experienced highs and lows. We are now entering into a period of some danger for workers. The major issue is the election of the Tory Government. This will not be a good thing for workers in our industry. We must be vigilant to protect gains such as the rights of Unions to organize, health and safety, annual leave, and so forth. Many of the problems inherited from the 1990s such as casualization were not properly addressed in time and now we look forward to another shakedown period. It is concerning to see some parties such as the Maori Party working with the National Government especially as they seem to have received some support from the Council of Trade Unions in the election. We may have to review what future support is forthcoming in future to parties which line up with the wrong side.
Ports are not ordinary businesses. They are the essential part of the supply chain between New Zealand and the global economy, and they need to be treated as such. The Maritime Union say we need a national ports plan and some form of national ownership to avoid the tendency to parochial competition and duplication of resources under the current system. Since we have KiwiRail, perhaps it is time for KiwiPort? Coastal shipping remains a concern for members as well. The recent changes with Pacificaâ€™s coastal vessels have resulted in some job losses on the waterfront side. Many of our ports have seen shipping schedules rapidly changing in recent months. The best way in which we can deal with these uncertain times is to remain an active member of a Union, your Union, the Maritime Union of New Zealand. Attend your stopwork meetings and get involved.
Global recession The other problem is the global recession which is going to bite hard over the next period. This could result in threats to jobs. Combined with a pro-employer Government, employers will become more aggressive and try to claw back our wages and conditions to keep up the profits for themselves. Other issues that have come onto the radar recently include the major changes we have been seeing in our industry. The proposed merger of Lyttelton Port Company and the Port of Otago signals the start of the much talked about process of port rationalization. The Maritime Union is a strong backer of ports remaining in local control to preserve employment and business opportunities. We are opposed to the loss of key infrastructure to overseas interests and it we are hopeful the new arrangement with these two South Island ports will fit in with our view here. However it is obvious that the relationship between the new structure and the Ports of Timaru and Southport (Bluff) needs to be looked at. Any port rationalization should involve other ports in the region. We cannot allow this process to disrupt local economies, threaten jobs and cause problems at a time of global recession. COSCO recently announced it was looking to buy into New Zealand and Australian ports. The threat of ports of convenience is always there and the continued pressure for free trade deals puts our national assets at risk.
â€œThe Maritime Union is a socialist union and a collective union. The reason we have succeeded over the years is by a strong commitment to the benefit of all members not individualsâ€?
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 5
NEWS Photo by Max Williams
PACIFICA WORKERS FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD The human face of the recession 6 | The Maritimes | December 2008
NEWS By Victor Billot Eight Maritime Union members at Pacifica Stevedoring in Wellington are facing an uncertain future after the Pacifica roro (roll on, roll off) vessel “Spirit of Competition” was withdrawn at short notice from the Wellington to Lyttelton service. The eight workers have been told they have no jobs – and have had to fight to get written statements of their entitlements from their employer. The workers were told on 24 October that their jobs were to be terminated, but no date was given. On 31 October, a further statement was made by the Company, who told the workers their final day would be 5 November. Maritime Union Wellington branch secretary John Whiting, who has worked for many years on the Wellington waterfront, says the situation was of major concern to the Union, especially the way the workers have been treated by their employer. He says the Union invoked the redundancy provisions of the collective employment agreement of the workers, which had been negotiated with the employer. But by the end of November, the workers were still to receive written confirmation of their entitlements from the employer. Mr Whiting says Pacifica’s failure to produce written statements of the member’s entitlements resulted in a stand off that saw the final sailing cancelled. The vessel’s crew transferred to Pacifica’s new ship, with the “Spirit of Competition” now laid up on the Wellington wharves. Despite the stress and concern caused by the situation, the eight redundant stevedoring workers are standing strong and keeping a positive attitude. It is obvious when you speak to them as a group that they are looking out for one another and are a real team. Thousands of New Zealand workers are facing redundancy, casual work and reduced incomes as the international recession hits. The same situation is faced by workers around the globe who are paying the price for the failures of an unstable capitalist economy that treats workers as disposable commodities, not human beings. The Pacifica workers were the subject of a television documentary story by TVNZ’s Close Up in November, and their plight was shown as an example of the situation many workers are in today. They are the human face of the recession. Ordinary working people, they show an extraordinary sense of solidarity, dignity and resilience in hard and difficult circumstances. The workers are Max Williams, John Cowan, Jason Simi, William Robbie Phillipps, Peter Finch, Damien Haami, Rupert Simi and Mike Keepa.
Two of them have spent almost their entire working life on the waterfront and are almost at retirement age. Others are young men who have been working in the industry for less than a year. Damien Haami has been working on the Wellington waterfront for Pacifica since 2001. He says the redundancy is placing strain on the workers, but for him it is important to maintain morale and dignity despite the injustice of the situation, “ . . . and to get paid properly!” Two of the older workers, Max Williams and John Cowan, are considering retirement. Despite the fact that they will be hit less hard, as they are not far off retirement age and are due redundancy payments negotiated by the union, both Max and John are looking out for their younger workmates. Branch Secretary John Whiting says the two have been the “backbone of the Union”, contributing over their entire time on the job. Max has been on the waterfront for 44 years and has worked for Pacifica since 1989, and John Cowan started on the waterfront in 1963 (45 years ago) and has been with Pacifica the same amount of time as Max. Max says the older workers have encouraged the young workers to step up to taking an active role in the Union as delegates. “We stood back and the guys took to it like ducks to water – they have come to the front.” He says its important for all workers to have a union delegate on the job, and all workers should join the Union as “numbers count, especially during negotiations.” Another issue is to take a delegate with you when you are called in to see the boss, according to the group, as it is important to have a witness to all discussions. Damien says the older members are held in high regard for the knowledge and information they have passed on to younger members on the job. Some of the workers like Damien, Jason Simi and William Phillipps have been working on the waterfront for several years. Three of the group, Peter Finch, Rupert Simi and Mike Keepa, only joined Pacifica in February 2008. Branch Secretary John Whiting says the group are highly skilled workers, whose main job included bringing vehicles on and off the “Spirit of Competition.” With the help of the Union, the workers are hoping to find new jobs. Some may have to come back as casual workers at the port to make ends meet.
But what they really want is the security of permanent jobs. Jason says the problem with casual work is the inconsistent nature of the work and the lack of security. He would love to stay in the industry. “I’ve been with other companies and just gone with the flow. But it’s harder without the Union – the support from MUNZ has been outstanding. I’ve never been with a union with this unity.” Damien says it is difficult to provide for a family with casual work. “It’s a psychological step backwards.” He has been disappointed by the way the employer has treated them. But the group are determined to help each other through a tough patch. John Cowan sums it up by putting the Union philosophy into his own words. “You’ve got to stick together.”
“Despite the stress and concern caused by the situation, the eight redundant stevedoring workers are standing strong and keeping a positive attitude”
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 7
Cardplus fuel discount Cardplus are pleased to offer a fuel discount for Maritime Union of New Zealand members.
• 5 cents per litre discount off the pump price for both petrol and diesel at any Caltex or Challenge Service Station throughout New Zealand. • Half price car wash • Cardplus “Value discount Voucher” pack for all Fuelcard customers • Multiple cards linked to one account for partner and family • Up to 35 days Free Credit • No Transaction Fees • Free two year coffee card • Six months free delivery of the Sunday Star Times valued at $57 • Only $2 per month card fee – no other costs Easy to apply. Simply go to: www.membercard.co.nz click on “apply here” and log on to Maritime of New Zealand member to print our your Fuel Card application form. Please complete and Freepost to: Cardplus Fuelcards, PO Box 38-307, Wellington 5045. www.membercard.co.nz
Website lets workers check on unclaimed tax refunds The country’s first automated website that helps workers check if they are entitled to any of the estimated $700 million in unclaimed tax refunds is up and running. The website www.taxrefunds.co.nz, provides a free, no-obligation assessment of whether workers are owed a tax refund, director of taxrefunds.co.nz, Geoff Matthews says.
8 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Nationally, it has been estimated that up to $700 million in tax refunds may have gone unclaimed since 2000 because many salary and wage earners are no longer required to file a tax return. As well many taxpayers with dependent children are unaware that they can claim a Working for Families tax credit. Workers, especially anyone earning overtime, should check the site, Mr Matthews says. “When your income has highs and lows, the peaks get taxed at a higher rate than your overall income warrants. This means a refund is likely.” As well, many taxpayers with dependent children are unaware that they can claim a Working For Families tax credit, Mr Matthews says. “We have found that 79% of people applying are receiving three tax years worth of refunds out of a possible five years we can go back,” Mr Matthews says. “While the average per-person refund is $316, we are constantly coming across some amazing stories, Mr Matthews says. “In assessments carried out by the company a Fonterra worker received $23,700 over a three-year period because the worker’s bonus payments were being taxed at too-high-a-rate. “In another assessment a freezing worker received a tax refund of $4,781 for a fiveyear period because as a seasonal worker he was taxed at a higher rate in the months when he worked. “Within the first eight weeks TaxRefunds. co.nz has returned $3 million into the pockets of New Zealand taxpayers. Soon this could be over $1 million a week,” Mr Matthews says. The new website took more than 10 months to build and cost well over $500,000. It is the only Internet-based system certified for e-filing. Mr Matthews says that the new website addresses the three main reasons so much money has gone unclaimed by wage and salary earners. “It gives people an easy, simple, no obligation to check on whether they are due a refund. Secondly, it makes filing for a refund as simple as it can be. And thirdly, we offer the lowest rates in the country, 12.5% for filing tax refunds, with a minimum fee of $12.50 and a maximum fee of $500 per refund,” Mr Matthews says. “Any fee is automatically deducted from the refund so there’s no money upfront, and if there’s no refund then we charge no fee,” Mr Matthews says.
Targetzone continues to gain support Maritime Union member Roger Bain is continuing to promote his patented invention the “Targetzone” and has created a user friendly option for the container transport market. These are user friendly, fit and forget, fluro reflective handles used as a method of alignment and target indicator. Roger says the Targetzone deals with many of the visibility problems faced by straddle operators positioning containers and twist locks. Restricted visibility is due to many issues such as night or dull days, glare off over height gear, module arms, soft top containers, and flapping tarps. The paint scheme of trailer can camouflage twist locks and there can be a bad glare problem from the glass house effect due to the straddle cab design. The benefits of the Targetzone are many, says Roger. • Minimise risk of damage or lost time due to unnecessary repairs • Swing lift operators use a line up tool • Quick visual glance to ensure twist locks are open during transit • Forklift Operators can also use them when lining up a container • Quicker loading times • Economical method to protect an operators investment The Targetzone has been approved for use at the Lyttelton Port Company. It has a retail price of $20.00 plus GST per set of four handles. Targetzones have already been getting good feedback from many people in the industry. “Targetzones are worth their weight in gold. Every carrier who cares about their equipment should be using them. They are value for money and realistically priced,” says Mike Ching, a Container Controller with Kenworthys Transport. “The feedback from drivers has been really positive. There is a quicker turnaround for trucks because drivers can place containers straight on with no looking around. They are particularly good for cloudy days or when it’s dark”, says Kevin McCreanor, Logistics Manager at Lyttelton Port. For more information on Targetzones, contact Roger Bain at: Address: 72 Laing Crescent, Heathcote, Christchurch Phone: +64 03 3764 1565 Mobile: +64 03 027 640 9405 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LYTTELTON PORT CHALMERS MERGER Is port rationalization here? By Victor Billot The Maritime Union of New Zealand has offered qualified support to the merger of Lyttelton Port Company and the Port of Otago that was announced in October. The two South Island ports have agreed to explore a merger of their operations. Port Otago is wholly owned by the Otago Regional Council and owns 15 percent of Lyttelton, which is listed on the share market but is majority owned by the commercial arm of Christchurch City Council. Port Otago chairman John Gilks says infrastructure assets will not be sold, and will be retained by the Otago Regional Council and Christchurch City Council. The operating businesses and assets including cranes and straddles will be sold into a merged company, while wharves and land will remain in public ownership. The prospect of a merger is seen in the transport industry as a way of stopping shipping companies like Maersk playing one port off against another and a way of getting sensible investment in new equipment to service the next generation of large container ships.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Union is a strong backer of ports remaining in local control to preserve employment and business opportunities. “We are pleased to see local control as the Union has long been opposed to the loss of key infrastructure to overseas interests.” Mr Hanson says the relationship between the new structure and the Ports of Timaru and Southport (Bluff) needs to be looked at. “It is our view that any process should involve other ports in the region. New Zealand cannot afford to have port rationalization disrupt local economies and cause problems at a time of global recession. Ports are not ordinary businesses – they are the essential part of the supply chain between New Zealand and the global economy.” Mr Hanson says the Union is watching developments closely as it is concerned about members jobs. “Obviously this announcement will mean the long talked about process of port rationalization is now well under way, but we have to ensure the process is carried out in a sensible way to minimize any insecurity or confusion.”
Mr Hanson says the opportunity is there for a national ports plan and some form of national ownership to avoid the tendency to parochial competition and duplication of resources under the current model. “Could it be time to consider KiwiPort?” he suggested. With the successful operation of public enterprises like KiwiBank and KiwiRail, a bold move to ensure vital infrastructure is operated in the public interest could be a way forward. He says the current world financial crisis makes the Port Chalmers-Lyttelton announcement all the more relevant. Mr Hanson says the move is a natural fit for recent moves by the Government to encourage domestic coastal shipping. “The only caution we have is that employees of these companies are given every consideration in retaining employment within any new structure that evolves.” The Maritime Union was part of the 2006 campaign to keep the Port of Lyttelton in public ownership when an attempt was made to part-privatize the port with a sale to global terminal operator Hutchison.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 9
Mining and Maritime Meeting Capetown, South Africa, 8–10 September 2008
The next speaker was General Secretary of SATAWU Randall Howard. Randall addressed the meeting under the heading of “Development of a Africa Regional Committee”. He spoke about researching, mapping and planning before we go forward. The last session on day one was a presentation from Peter Murray. Peter’s presentation was headed “Mine Safety Training”. Peter spoke on mine safety in the Hunter Valley, then he showed a DVD on Mine Safety Training.
By Garry Parsloe National Vice President
Day One In early September 2008 MUNZ National Assistant Secretary Russell Mayn and I attended the Mining and Maritime Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. The meeting opened with an address from the hosts. The Chairman spoke on ILO Conventions, Social Justice, Health and Safety issues, workers rights, and improving workers conditions of employment. The Co-Chairman from SATAWU welcomed everyone to the meeting then went on to address workers rights within South Africa. He expanded on some of the problems that workers face in South Africa and how international solidarity was helping to overcome these problems. After the opening address we watched a DVD which covered all the activities from the Sydney Mining and Maritime Conference. The first speaker after the DVD was Deputy General Secretary of NUM (South African miners) Oupa Komane. 10 | The Maritimes | December 2008
He addressed the meeting under the heading of “Setting the Scene”. He stated that these meetings were most important for workers and must continue on. They must not be seen as talk shops but must be seen as strategy meetings for action around joint campaigns. Next speaker was General Secretary of the CFMEU Peter Murray. Peter spoke under the heading of “Ditsela Project and Funding for Education”. Peter went on to address a budget around funding. He then went on to say that the funding was just about in place. After lunch on day one the first speaker was Assistant National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Rick Newlyn. Rick’s presentation was under the heading of “M&M Structure and responsibilities”. He spoke of bringing all the Transport Unions together. Rick went on to talk about the importance of the Regional Committees and how these committees must function in a positive manner and concluded by talking about agendas and timing.
Day two opened with a discussion on the planning and preparation for the next Mining and Maritime Conference that is to be held in South Africa in 2011. The first speaker on Day Two was General Secretary CFMEU Peter Murray. Peter addressed the meeting under the heading of “Mining and Maritime going forward – assign tasks.” Peter spoke on the Secretariat position and the subsequent funding for that position. In this section the meeting discussed the role of a research convener. There was debate then agreement that the next Mining and Maritime meeting would be held in San Francisco in late February 2009. The meeting then heard reports on some Mining and Maritime projects: • The X Strata Campaign. • The Rio Tinto Connection to the Ports Campaign. • The Peabody US Campaign. • Temporary Skilled Labour to Australia. Whilst at the meeting we discussed the question of non-union encroachment into some of the New Zealand ports. It was agreed that MUNZ would raise this issue at the Maritime Union of Australia National Council that is to be held in Brisbane in October 2008. All in all it was a most positive meeting that identified a lot of issues that need work on as we go forward.
Maersk Network Meeting Antwerp, 16–17 September 2008 By Garry Parsloe National Vice President
Day One On 16 September the meeting opened with the usual introduction and welcome. One of the opening speakers was ITF Assistant General Secretary Stuart Howard. Stuart stated that whilst we have issues with many companies, Maersk is the company that we need to focus on. Stuart went on to talk about how important the Maersk Network was. We had a presentation from Marc Loridan of BTB Belgische Transportarbeidersbond, the Belgian Transport Union. He stated that Belgium law only permits workers that are in the BTB to work on the docks. Marc went on to talk about the earlier struggles in Belgium to secure good conditions on the docks. At this time AP Moller Maersk representatives Executive Vice President Knud Pontoppidan and Head of Human Resources and Labour Relations Tiemen Meester joined the meeting. This gave an opportunity for each union to introduce themselves and raise issues that were concerning them. After each union had raised their concerns Knud Pontoppidan then addressed the meeting. He gave an overview of the company structure before addressing all the areas that Maersk is involved with including shipping, port terminals, trucking, offshore oil and gas and many other areas. He stated the only area where Maersk is making money is in oil and gas production. He also stated that if they could get each one of their vessels turned around just 20 minutes quicker it would shift the profit of his company up by $800 million. Amazing. Maersk have just ordered another 36 new vessels and are looking forward to getting them into service. After Knud’s presentation we had a video presentation which contained an overview of all of Maersk’s operations.
After the video presentation delegates put questions to Maersk mostly around Maersk’s behaviour in the port terminals. Most delegates that spoke were unhappy with Maersk and their managers not recognising some of the unions in some of the ports. After lunch on day one we had a presentation from Ron Carver of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Ron’s presentation was headed “Report on Mumbai – TDWU Contract Drivers Organising Campaign”. Ron spoke on how drivers working for Maersk were sacked and how the Union fought back and got everyone reinstated. The drivers had been sacked because they put bumper stickers stating “Teamsters Union” on their trucks. Imagine being sacked for putting bumper stickers on your own vehicle. Unbelievable. Ron then reported on drivers in Mumbai getting beaten then sacked. He spoke of the damage that the Yellow Union caused by undermining the union contracts and agreeing to very bad conditions of employment. The struggle was a long and difficult one but showed that when workers and their union fight back they can turn the situation around and win. The next session was headed “Global dialogue update.” In this session delegates reported on some of the difficulties that their unions were having with Maersk. It was interesting in this session to find that Maersk behave themselves in some countries and misbehave badly in other countries. It seems to me they behave badly where the legislation allows. This is the case of a bad employer using the countries bad legislation to their full advantage. This also tells us the importance of acting in solidarity and using our international unity to stand up to Maersk. After the afternoon smoko P.K. Raman from the Transport and Dockworkers Union in India gave a presentation titled “Trade Unionist Intimidation by Maersk Contractors in India”. He spoke of beatings, evictions and intimidation of transport workers.
These workers are employed by contractors of the Maersk owned GTI Port Operator. The ITF demands “that employees, who are contracted on core Maersk/GTI activities in Mumbai, to be represented by a union of their choice without being subjected to violence or intimidation”.
Day Two Day two commenced with a presentation from Jeremy Anderson of the ITF under the heading of “Overview of Maersk Group”. Jeremy reported on developments within Maersk, port terminals, oil and gas exploration, expanding the tanker fleet, port tugs, tug and barging, warehousing, trucking, rail and the Maersk container network. The question and answer session after this presentation was very intense with speakers presenting their problems from their areas that involves their union coverage. After the question and answer session Jeremy gave another presentation on a global view of Maersk. He stated that all the Maersk vessels that don’t have ITF agreements are the vessels that Maersk charters. He then presented a map on video, which showed how many Collective Bargaining Agreements were in place at APM Terminals in each Country. The next session was headed “extending union power in Maersk”. In this session we broke up into workshops so as delegates could discuss ideas on: 1. Ways of giving support 2. Building along the transport chain 3. Bringing more unions into the network After lunch we had report back from the groups. After the reports the chair summed up what was a most productive meeting.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 11
MUNZ–EPMU Offshore Alliance
By Joe Fleetwood Wellington Seafarers Secretary MUNZ General Secretary Trevor Hanson, Yeotide delegate John Brown and I attended the inaugural meeting of the Offshore Alliance between MUNZ and EPMU (Engineers Union) held in New Plymouth on 11 November 2008. Representing MUNZ were rank and file delegates from ships and the waterfront, Richard Rankin, Vern Belcher, Fraser Thomas (Pacific Warlock), Branch President Mark Larkin and Terry Whitehead. The EPMU had a number of national and local organizers in attendance including Paul Tolich, Ged O’Connell, Wayne Roscoe, Ross Henderson, Blair McFarlane and rank and file delegates from land and sea based rigs, FPSO’s, GeoThermal crews, miners, shore based engineering firms, and welders. The one day seminar was opened by Paul Tolich who welcomed all, then stressed the need to forge a strong working alliance between our two Unions. He welcomed MUNZ input into the Trans Tasman Hydrocarbon Alliance with our Australian brothers and sisters from the MUA and AWU. We need to be organised in our industry or be left on the outside looking in. The seminar was a full on day, and we broke up into workshops to discuss specific issues.
12 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Topics were guidelines and working protocols to avoid demarcation disputes, how to achieve joint membership, union clearance for Trans Tasman work, no ticket no start if achievable, industry training and trainees, the environment, the mapping of land and sea based work sites. We discussed the need for a network of all Alliance delegates, communication between us all on both sides of the Tasman. Industrial issues included pattern bargaining, MECAs (multi employer collective agreements), industry bargaining standards, pay parity with our Australian members, industry health and safety regulations, administration fees, Yellow Associations, and publicity material for all members. It was also noted there should be update meetings held to see what progress is being made into organizing on the job. We covered a lot of areas in order to ensure we could have a framework in place. I gave an overview of what MUNZ is doing on the national and international scene with the MUA and ITF in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry including New Plymouth, Great South Basin, Gulf of Mexico, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands, which was received well. The Trans Tasman Hydro Carbon Alliance and the Mining and Maritime connections were discussed and debated at length.
It is obvious we need to engage with these international groupings. We must give our rank and file members the same knowledge of the International as officials have. It is important we take our rank and file members with us as they provide the grunt needed on the job to get results. I must make mention the hospitality provided by the local EPMU organiser Ross Henderson. He has provided space in their branch for MUNZ to work out of when we are in New Plymouth on Offshore Alliance business. I would like to thank all the members of the EPMU and MUNZ that attended the seminar. It was a great day and it is always good to sit and talk with like minded workers. On day two of our New Plymouth visit, I attended the New Plymouth branch stopwork meeting along with Trevor Hanson and John Whiting. Branch President Mark Larkin had called the meeting to coincide with our visit. There was a good turnout of members and we discussed a number of issues. I gave a report on the International and Trans Tasman Alliance and other topics included superannuation, port issues and box gangway nets. The Branch endorsed the concept of amalgamation between MUNZ and the RMTU.
ITF Asia Pacific Regional Task Force meeting By Joe Fleetwood Wellington Seafarers’ Secretary We were welcomed to Bali, Indonesia, by our hosts, the Balinese Branch of Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia (KPI – the Indonesian Seaman’s Union) on 4 November. They then handed over to the chair of the Asia Pacific Regional Offshore Task Force Group Mick Doleman of the MUA. Mick gave an update on the situation in Ciudad del Carmen (Mexico) where our affiliate brothers and sisters are working on a number of projects. These include standardising contracts for workers, introducing world standard health and safety protections and training standards, getting a proper structure for all seafarers and offshore workers, and the creation of a Mexican coast guard that will enforce maritime law and order. The Union is openly promoting new legislative changes to achieve this. Mick Doleman reported on international Offshore Taskforce Group activities. These activities are work the MUA and ITF are doing in Papua New Guinea, the Trans Tasman hydrocarbon alliance, and the new Oil and Gas Alliance in New Zealand between MUNZ and the EPMU.
We discussed the full establishment of who will make up the Asia Pacific Regional Offshore Task Force Group (APROTG) that may include Unions from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Timor Leste, Norway and Russia and we are also looking at the Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Vietnam. There was much constructive debate from all. The start of a regional development mapping programme was put together concentrating on issues we need to develop and promote. I gave a brief report on the situation on the New Zealand Oil and Gas industry, the Trans Tasman Federation, the new MUNZ – EPMU Alliance, and the Trans Tasman Hydro Carbon Alliance. The Trans Tasman Hydro Carbon Alliance will be holding its first meeting in Melbourne on 1 December 2008 putting a frame work and guide lines in place for Unions on both sides of the Tasman after the singing of the official document at the MUA National Council held in Brisbane, October 2008. The multinational company Prosafe are set to work in Australia, and Mick Doleman is working closely with the company and IE (Norwegian ITF affiliate) to reach agreement for Australian workers.
Mark Davis gave an overview of the trade union situation in Timor Leste as we were due in Timor the next morning. It looks more than likely a bilateral agreement will be more achievable than a tripartite agreement on training issues as the employers are being difficult and haven’t delivered on any promises. We are looking at ways of funding for the Timor Union office to be attached to collective agreements, getting a Union car, and also looking at cheap organizing minibus for February 2009. A group of Timorese workers are to be trained at the Indonesian Maritime Organizing Project (IMOP) to be funded by the Norwegian Welfare Fund. In conclusion the APROTG has its work cut out for it, but there are also exciting times ahead. On behalf of the Maritime Union of New Zealand I would like to thank the brothers and sisters of KPI for hosting the seminar. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. Unity in Struggle.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 13
Youth Conference By Stuart Crawford Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch
The Maritime Union of Australia held its annual youth conference in Melbourne from 29 Octoberâ€“1 November 2008. An invitation was issued to MUNZ and three youth representatives attended (one seafarer, two wharfies) from around New Zealand. They were Trent Gunther (C3, Auckland), Marion Leslie (Interislander, Wellington) and myself (Port Otago, Dunedin). As it was a conference for MUA members, there were aspects that were not that relevant to the MUNZ members, due to their different legislative environment and superannuation schemes in Australia. However, we all considered it to be a very valuable time. It has made us better educated about the history, operation and functions of unions, not to mention creating new connections between a younger generation within the two unions. This was not merely a conference of speeches and DVD watching (though there was plenty of both). It had a strong workshop, action planning and practical experience component.
14 | The Maritimes | December 2008
As a venue, Melbourne provides a good historical backdrop. The Victoria Trades Hall, which we toured on the last day, is the oldest, continuously used Trade Hall building in the world, being around 150 years old. The State of Victoria is also the first place in Australia to achieve the eight-hour workday in 1856. Unfortunately many people who have had the eight-hour workday have lost it, while the rest of us face ever increasing pressure from employers to give it up, as they endeavour to remove hard won working conditions.
Wednesday 29 October 2008 The day began with registration, before a Victorian branch welcome by Branch secretary Kevin Bracken. This was followed by an address by MUA deputy national secretary Jim Tannock. We were then shown a short video from the 2007 Youth Conference. MUA Sydney branch secretary Warren Smith gave an introductory speech on being a delegate, before we split into five separate workshop groups, to develop delegate skills, followed by a group report back.
Members of the veteranâ€™s section then provided a BBQ lunch. After lunch, drug and alcohol councillor Gary Wright of Inco Link (a building and construction industry organization) gave an educational talk with a video on drug and alcohol use and abuse. This was followed by MUA Brisbane branch delegate Adam McArthur, who gave his prior experiences as a Salvation Army councillor, working with street kids. MUA national journalist Zoe Reynolds gave an overview on how they are redesigning the way their website works, with a more inter-active focus. Building on an existing use of YouTube, there are plans to add Google Earth functionality. They are also looking at ways to incorporate social networking sites like Facebook. Before the afternoon break, Jim Tannock gave a presentation on the Tas Bull memorial fund and APHEDA Union Aid Abroad and their recent work in Timor-Leste.
MUA YOUTH CONFERENCE After the afternoon break, Sydney assistant branch secretary Paul McAleer and Adam McArthur spoke about the ITF youth conference held in Brussels during September and the positive experience that the Australian delegation left with. The day closed after Melbourne based ITF inspector Matt Purcell gave a presentation on the FOC (flag of convenience) campaign. The ITF is working to maintain and improve conditions and wages for crews aboard FOC ships. This campaign is important, not only to improve the lives of the crew aboard FOC ships, but to remove the incentive for shipping companies to use flags of convenience in a cynical and methodical approach to cutting costs. This is stifling employment opportunities for the citizens of countries who expect and should be entitled to decent wages and conditions. Significantly, the use of FOC ships has over the years severely limited the ability of seafarers to be able to work the ships that ply their own coasts.
Thursday 30 October 2008 After sign in, the day started with an introduction to organising in the workplace. MUA Western Australia branch organiser Will Tracey provided a very educational presentation on the work he did in organising non-union mines into fully unionised mines, at a time when unions had no legal access to the mines. He outlined the planning, strategies and implementation that allowed them to achieve success. We then separated into the same groups as the previous day for our workshops and then reported back. After a morning break, a short MUA video was shown, before women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers spoke about equal employment opportunity and how to deal with harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace. White Ribbon youth ambassador Asher Preston gave a presentation on the White Ribbon Foundation of Australia and the aims of international White Ribbon Day to highlight and campaign for the elimination of violence against women. SRF (Superannuation) Manager Sharon Parr and Maritime Workers Credit Union CEO Mark Genovese gave a presentation on personal financial planning, with a question and answer session at the end of their respective parts. It was interesting to note that SRF is developing five different investment strategies, ranging from very conservative/low risk to high growth/risk.
The veterans again provided a BBQ lunch. After lunch MUA South Australia branch secretary Jamie Newlyn spoke about international solidarity and it’s importance in relation to localized activity. It was then time for the MUNZ representatives to give their speeches. We all spoke of our personal views and experiences of union activity in the maritime environment, which was well received by our Australian counterparts. MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin flew in to address the conference before flying out to Canberra. We then had an afternoon break before communication and research officer Rod Pickette spoke about the political and lobbying role of the MUA. The day finished with a veterans report by retired member and BBQ cook extraordinaire Percy White. The veterans also ran a raffle to help their funding, as they do not rely on financial assistance from the rest of the MUA. That evening we were provided with bus transport to take us back to the union rooms for a seven-course meal with an open bar and DJ. It is fortunate that most maritime workers are hardened to working unpredictable and erratic hours, as a couple of members didn’t manage to find their way back to the hotel until breakfast time and we still had a half day left of the conference to attend.
It is said that he was banned from the bar and on his way out, down the stairs; he turned around and shot up the wall. In another episode, after a fight in the building, while cleaning the blood off the walls a mural was discovered under the paint that reads, “Persons are requested to abstain from injuring these walls.” There are many murals on the interior walls. Though many of them have been painted over through the years, they are slowly being restored. While waiting to start the last parts of the conference, we listened to talks by some visiting unionists from Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile. We were then given a presentation on global warming by OHS project officer Steve Mullins of the ACTU. A number of resolutions were passed, including a resolution for the MUA to hold a youth conference every twelve months. MUA Victorian deputy branch secretary David Schleibs then closed the conference.
Friday 31 October The day began at the Victoria Trades Hall. From there we joined a Union march to the Melbourne magistrate court to offer moral support for Noel Washington who was attending a preliminary hearing, before he goes on trial, for refusing to submit to an ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) interrogation. Because he stood up for fellow workers, Noel faces six months imprisonment. The ABCC can force construction workers and their union representatives to attend interrogations, record union meetings without workers knowledge, and remove the right of workers to choose their own legal counsel. Afterwards, we walked back to Victoria Trades Hall to be taken on a tour of the historic building. It is a building with many stories to tell, such as the bullet holes in the wall, at the top of what is now a very worn bluestone staircase. The circumstances are not precisely known about the shooting incident, about a hundred years ago, but there is one popular story about a guy by the name of Squizzy Taylor.
“It has made us better educated about the history, operation and functions of unions, not to mention creating new connections between a younger generation in the two unions”
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 15
Youth Solidarity By Marian Leslie 0918 Wellington Seafarers Branch The 2008 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) youth conference was held in Melbourne in October and I had the pleasure of attending on behalf Wellington Seafarers Branch MUNZ. Most of the delegates arrived on Tuesday night and we somehow managed to meet up in the pub and then went out for dinner. This was a great time to get to the other delegates before the conference started. On Wednesday morning the conference was opened by MUA Victoria branch secretary Kevin Bracken. This was followed by a speech from MUA deputy national secretary, Jim Tannock. MUA Sydney branch secretary Warren Smith started the day off with a really good introduction on being a delegate. We then broke up into groups to work on being a delegate. After lunch we had a presentation given by Gary Wright of Inco Link and Brisbane branch delegate Adam McArthur on drugs and alcohol. This covered the different types and the effects each drug has. Adam gave an in depth report on what the effects are and what happens to users, and the troubled youth he helps out who have come from a background of drug problems. 16 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Jim Tannock talked about the Tas Bull memorial aid project and the APHEDA Union Aid Abroad organization. We watched a video of the great work the MUA have done with these projects, this includes helping orphans who have AIDS, hospital equipment, and AIDS education in the shanty towns of South Africa. There was a report on the ITF youth conference which had just been held in Brussels. This report was given by Paul McAleer, Adam McArthur, George Gaskis, Luke Bracken and Brooke O’Mara. All of the delegates were blown away by their report. It is great to see the youth of the MUA getting involved in projects like that. I find it hard to put in to words how I felt listening to the group – it would be really great to see our youth take a page out of their book and start doing the same. This was followed by a report from ITF inspector Matt Purcell based in Melbourne on the ITF flag of convenience campaign. He also stated the importance for the youth to get involved in the ITF.
White Ribbon Day Day two began with Bernie Farrelly, Brooke O’Mara and Will Tracey who gave an introduction to organising in the workplace.
This included how to talk to new members about the union, what to look for in a delegate, and how to get them interested in stepping up. We broke up into workshops to discuss the issue. Later in the morning, MUA Women’s Liaison Officer Mich-Elle Myers talked about harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace. This co-incided with a presentation on the White Ribbon Foundation of Australia. White Ribbon Day was 25 November both here and in Australia and is an international day to stop violence against women. Mich-Elle got some great news at this time, that all Sydney ferries would fly White Ribbon flags on 25 November, as well as other shipping companies around Australia. She has to be congratulated on all the hard work she has done. We then had a presentation on the Australian SRF (superannuation fund) just before we broke for lunch. After lunch Jamie Newlyn give a report on how important international solidarity is to the union. MUNZ is very important to MUA and they were happy to have MUNZ members there and I can say we felt the same. After Jamie’s speech, the MUNZ delegation of myself, Stuart Crawford (Port Chalmers) and Trent Gunther (Auckland Local 13) www.munz.org.nz
ITF had the opportunity to speak, and we were warmly thanked by all the delegates not just for getting up and talking but for just being there. That afternoon we had other reports on the MUA Veterans and the role of the MUA in political lobbying. The day ended with MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin coming in to talk to the delegates. He gave a short speech (he had a plane to catch) about how important youth are for the Union, as well as having women members involved in the Union. The day ended with a conference dinner at the Union rooms and the night was enjoyed by all.
Protest at the ABCC The final day (day three) started off with all the delegates meeting at the Victoria Trades Hall. We walked down to the Court House to join in a protest against the ABCC (Australian Building Construction Commission). There was a delegate from the building trade who had been at a stop work meeting and had refused to say who and what was said at the meeting, and for this he had been arrested. The morning of the protest was the first day of the court case which was set down for a week. The MUA were thanked once again for their strong opposition against the ABCC. The ABCC was set up by the Howard Government to force workers to give evidence on their workmates and union delegates. The new Rudd Labor Government have said that they will put a stop this but so far have not. After the protest we returned to the Trades Hall and were given a tour of the building. There is a lot of history in this place for the trade union movement and if you are ever in Melbourne it’s worth it visit. We then had a group from the Latin American Solidarity network who talked to us about the issues that they are facing, with speakers from Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile. The last presentation of the Conference was from Steve Mullins of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) who gave an interesting presentation on global warming and what it means for all of us. The conference ended with the conference resolutions been read out and was closed by MUA official Dave Schleibs (who some members may have met during the Port of Napier dispute). I would like to thank the MUA once again. It was a great experience. It is always good to spend time with the members from the MUA. It shows you how close our unions are, and we know that we will always be there to help each other out. I would also like to thank MUNZ Wellington Branch for sending me. www.munz.org.nz
Seatrade The ITF global campaign targeting the Dutch reefer company Seatrade is now in full swing. Seatrade operates the world largest reefer fleet with about 75% of their 140 odd vessels not covered by any ITF approved agreements. Six of these vessels call at New Zealand ports, mainly Tauranga. MUNZ Tauranga Branch Secretary Eddie Cook, Branch President Peter Harvey and I conducted an inspection on the Seatrade vessel “Polarstream” at Mount Maunganui. The vessel being one of six Seatrade vessels with no ITF approved agreements that calls into New Zealand. During this inspection we made it clear that the situation regarding no ITF approved agreement being in place was totally unacceptable, and that we would be pursuing the matter not only when the ship was in New Zealand but globally. Since this inspection five of these six ships that visit New Zealand and have no ITF agreements have been replaced with vessels that do have current ITF approved agreements.
Training I will be attending an ITF Inspectors Induction course in London from 15 November until 5 December. Once I have had this official training it is planned to organise some training around the branches for members interested in carrying out ITF inspections by New Zealand ITF inspector Grahame Maclaren
Thanks I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the branches for their support and help with ITF inspections and other related matters around the coast, with special thanks to Joe Fleetwood and Trevor Hanson for taking me under their wing and showing me the ropes. Finally I would like to wish all members and their families a great Christmas and a happy New Year.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 17
East Asia Dockers Conference
By Phil Adams National President In October 2008 I had the privilege of representing MUNZ at the 10th East Asia Dockers Conference in Kobe, Japan. The Conference was held over three days and included representatives from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, ILWU (West Coast USA), and the Maritime Union of Australia. ITF Dockers Secretary Frank Leys was in attendance along with ITF reps from Japan and Trevor Munday from Australia. The first day was given over to country reports and it appears that New Zealand compares favourably in wages and conditions. Frank Leys gave an ITF report and concentrated on the shipping line Rickmers, noting the death of a cargo handler in Yokohama in September 2008 caused by the parting of a wire. Health and safety is an international concern. I presented a report on New Zealand and included mention of recent disputes at Napier, Auckland and Port Chalmers, casualization, yellow unions, union history and amalgamation, and coastal shipping.
18 | The Maritimes | December 2008
I also spoke about our upcoming elections and how our Union works with ILWU, MUA and Asian unions. I took the opportunity to thank ZenkokuKowan (Japan dockworkers union) for their assistance in the Mainland dispute some years ago. The ILWU gave a country report then gave a report on the Blue Diamond workers in the USA. The meeting pledged their support for these workers. A non-union hotel in Hawaii was also reported on by the ILWU. Throughout the meeting the global players in the maritime industry were discussed, and the problems encountered with them by unions in different countries. These included DPW (Dubai), Hutchisons, AP Moeller and PSA. The representative from Taiwan gave an extended report on the problems in the port of Taipei culminating in the Union rooms being bulldozed in the middle of the night. There are a small number of unionized workers at the Port. They blame corrupt Government officials who openly support non-Union companies.
After he concluded his speech, he invited all to attend the 11th East Asia Dockers Conference in Taipei next year. Another topic of discussion from the ITF was the problem of insecure loads in containers on trucks and the problem of loads shifting causing the trucks to tip over. It was an interesting conference and a privilege to be in the company of international dock workers who all shared the same goal of getting the best for members. I am thankful for the opportunity to attend and the excellent hospitality from the hosts. I even mastered karaoke.
KOBE DECLARATION Send it in! The 10th East Asia Dockers’ Meeting was held in Kobe jointly organized by ITFaffiliated dockers’ unions in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, with observers from USA, Australia, New Zealand, and ITF. • Confirmed that the member unions would share international solidarity and continuous cross-border mutual support on issued related to the interests of port workers in the countries concerned who are confronted with the same shipping lines and shippers. Resolved to unite under the umbrella of the ITF to actively promote POC campaign and to fight against attacks from Global Network Terminals. • Recognized seriously that a port worker was killed in a serious accident caused by the parting of a wire of an on-board crane in the Port of Yokohama in September 2008 and that accidents caused by defective on-board cargo handling equipments have occurred many times. Confirmed to strengthen campaigns in each country to urge shipping companies and shippers to secure safety and to eliminate sub-standard ships. • Noted a report that trade union rights and workers’ rights are denied in Hong Kong, and agreed to provide support and solidarity as much as possible to the unions in Hong Kong. • Noted a report that the Chung Ai Job Waiting Office Building, which had been the basis of trade union activities, in Keelung City, was destroyed by the authority without any compensation and that the workers in the harbour area were deprived of their right to work on the terminals operated by Wan Hai-managed TK Logistics International Co. Ltd and the Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. Confirmed to support Taiwanese port workers who were fighting for their trade union rights and right to work, and agreed to actively take solidarity and support action in each country. • Noted a report that the government of South Korea had a plan to newly develop a port and a distribution complex in the hinterlands and to designate it as a special economic zone, which would deprive existing port workers and their unions of their right to work, and agreed to provide solidarity as much as possible. • Recognized that the governments of China, Japan and South Korea were examining the introduction of the mutual use of container chassis, which Zenkoku-Kowan warned would deprive the port workers concerned of their job opportunities, and agreed to monitor the situation carefully in each country. • Declared in the port city of Kobe to remind ourselves of the social responsibility of port workers who play an important role in global distribution, and to contribute to the development of ports where workers can work safely and securely.
Members: National Council of Dockworkers’ Unions of Japan (ZENKOKU-KOWAN) Taiwan Provincial Federation of Dockworkers’ Unions (TPFDWU) Korean Federation of Port & Transport Workers’ Unions (KFPTWU)
Observers: Union of Hong Kong Dockers Hong Kong Storehouses, Transportation & Logistics Staff Association (HKSTLSA) Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU)
All members are welcome to send in contributions to The Maritimes. It’s our magazine – and we need photos, letters, articles, comments and anything else you can think of. On the job or off the job – if you or another MUNZ member you know are doing something interesting, let us know! If there is something you’d like to see in The Maritimes, send it to the Editor: Mail PO Box 27004, Wellington, New Zealand Email email@example.com Fax (09) 9251125
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 19
Wellington Waterfront By John Whiting
Life Membership The November meeting of the MUNZ National Executive endorsed our branch recommendation that life membership be accorded to Ben Criscillo and Len Monk. Both members have served the branch in leadership roles over many years upholding Unionism and Union conditions on the Wellington Waterfront. The presentations of these life awards will be made at our Wellington Past and Present function on 6 December.
Pacifica Wellington Closure Our members employed by Pacifica to operate the Wellington stevedoring work were informed on 24 October that the Lyttelton/Wellington service was to be terminated. No date was given. One week later on 31 October a further statement was made by the Company. This email advised that the Ship’s final sailing would be in five days time on Wednesday 5 November. It will be obvious to all readers that these time frames are minimal in terms of workers being told that their jobs are finished. We invoked the redundancy provisions of the Collective Agreement and negotiations defined what compensation would be paid. Pacifica’s complete reluctance and/or inability to produce written statements of the member’s entitlements resulted in a stand off that saw the final sailing cancelled, the crew transferring to Pacifica’s new ship and the old ship still lying alongside, in Wellington unmanned. At date of writing these members still did not have a detailed written break down of the payments to be made to them by the company. Pacifica’s Wellington employees appear to be the only casualties so far of the Company’s re-organisational moves. Despite the company’s cavalier attitude towards them our members have stayed united and are working through the trauma of job loss and the difficulty of finding on going work and income for their family’s survival.
20 | The Maritimes | December 2008
CentrePort Our collective agreement with the Wellington Port Company (multi-union with RMTU AND EPMU) has been ratified for a two year term following six days of negotiations. Included are satisfactory wage increases now, and at the first year anniversary. Other improvements include a break through in achieving a higher hourly pay rate for working between the hours of 2300 and 0700. This has been a longstanding claim and the outcome ticks first base of a process to reach a fair reward for the personal and family pressures of night shift work. Also of notice is the retirement of Port Company CEO, Liz Ward, after five years in the job. Liz’s tenure has been notable for many developments including new container cranes, new tug, new straddle carriers, long overdue wharf and hard surface repairs, and construction of three office buildings for the Port Company’s property arm. More importantly, from our perspective, was Liz Ward’s commitment to an upfront, no surprises relationship with the Port Unions in complete contrast to the management before her. That commitment has been honoured and we have had consultative meetings with the Company each month enabling the satisfactory resolution of many issues. We look forward to continuing in this manner with the new CEO, identity presently unknown.
Late News: Death of New Zealand seafarer
New Zealand seafarer Richard Maras died on 25 November 2008 after receiving injuries the previous evening aboard the vessel “Spirit of Esperance” in Townsville, Queensland. An incident report from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority stated that Mr Maras, an IR aboard the ship, sustained serious injuries while acting as dogman in the stowing of the ship’s 40 T No. 3 cargo crane prior to departure from Townsville. He was admitted to Townsville Hospital but died the following day.
Wellington Seafarers By Joe Fleetwood
Government Elections The result was not a surprise. Unfortunately the same thing happened in Australia with John Howard a couple of elections ago, a large minority of workers decided to vote against their class. The tax cut most workers have been promised will be dwarfed by the tax cut received by managers and politicians. Tax cuts will be paid for by cuts in social services, health, education, and benefits. As unionists we know that employers don’t just hand goodies out without a catch. Neither do Governments. The problem lies in the fact that many of our workers are outside Unions and young people especially haven’t had the chance to learn about the benefits of collective power. They think that if they vote for the bosses party that somehow magically makes them special. Unfortunately the reality is that a National Government in a recession will come down hard on workers. There will be higher unemployment and wages and conditions will be under attack. In future we need to do a better job of educating our members and also the wider working class and we need to increase union membership and the fighting spirit that has got us where we are today.
Amalgamation of the Wellington Branches We are in meaningful talks over this matter and are confident that we will have a final resolution in the beginning of the New Year. The merger of our branches will only make us stronger.
Free Trade Agreements Our new leader Mr Key is already overseas cuddling up to other dictatorships in the name of free trade agreements. The Maritime Union has criticized free trade agreements as undermining job security and democracy itself. Seafarers already have experienced free trade – flag of convenience shipping and the decimation of New Zealand shipping. Now they want to try and finish the job. New Zealand will be opened up to be bought up by global corporations and we will see the use of short term casual labour being imported to drive down wages and conditions. Don’t say it can’t happen here, because it has already been happening around the world. www.munz.org.nz
Pacific titans: MUNZ and MUA crew involved in the recent hard laying dispute on the “Pacific Titan”. Standing from port to starboard, Ruka Rarere (MUNZ), Don Crawford (MUA), Nathan Bartlett (MUA), Jason Fletcher (MUA), John Masters (MUNZ), Alf Boyle (MUNZ), seated Ken Stephens (MUA), Tony Archer (MUNZ), Colin Wilson (MUNZ)
The next time you hear the word “free trade” or “free market” ask yourself “free” for who? Not for workers. Free trade must be resisted and questioned.
KiwiRail The branch attended a meeting of a new induction of caterers due to join the Cook Strait Ferries. We are currently in agreement talks renegotiating the expired collective agreements. Once we get to the final period of negotiations the negotiating team will be conducting ship board meetings. The “Arahura” is back from its three month refit in Singapore. I believe there are still a few minor teething problems to be sorted, but by all accounts she seems to be running trouble free.
Strait Shipping The “Kent” is currently on the Lyttelton run now carrying ex “Spirit of Competition” cargo. The removal of the Pacifica run to Lyttelton has opened the way for Strait Shipping to put their ship on the run which is a good thing for coastal shipping. But it has created fifteen redundancies on the wharf in Wellington.
After watching the TV1 Close Up interview of the redundant Pacifica workers in Wellington, I believe Pacifica Shipping has shown no social responsibility to these workers and their families and have conducted themselves in a shambolic way to say the least. John Whiting and I were in Picton last month and met with our members in the Terminal. Things seem to be functioning well because of the good delegate system in place. Picton is a small town and they all work closely together.
NIWA Contract talks will commence on 18–19 December in Wellington for the renewal of the expired collective agreement with MUNZ, AMEU and MSG.
Offshore We currently have the “Pacific Titan” seismic vessel working off New Plymouth and Nelson with a mix of MUNZ and MUA members which is only a short term arrangement. The “Geobay” has left New Zealand waters and is currently working in the Bass Strait. The New Zealand offshore is in go slow mode that sees quite a few seafarers unemployed and looking for work, but in saying that we are in constant contact with employers on both sides of the Tasman discussing upcoming work and short term relief work.
CentrePort We have a signed two year collective agreement with MUNZ, EPMU and RMTU, and a signed alcohol and drug policy that provides security for all of our members.
Branch Clothing Members, we still have a few t-shirts and caps left for sale with union and branch logos.
Delegate System The delegate system is the life line of our union. All delegates have to be thanked and praised for their unwavering dedication to the job for upholding Union principles, policies, health and safety, and all terms and conditions of our collective agreements. The strong delegate system we have on board and on the wharves makes your union officials jobs easier to say the least. We are the working class and a struggle based union and proud of it. Kia Kaha Tatau (be strong we are all one). On behalf of the branch I would like to wish all members and families of the Maritime Union of New Zealand and working class a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please be careful and safe if you have to travel. The Maritimes | December 2008 | 21
Auckland seafarer Sean Kelleher with Filipino crew in Auckland following up west coast USA vessel inspection
Auckland Seafarers By Garry Parsloe
Newcastle People’s Chorus On 3 October 2008 the CTU Unions Auckland hosted the Newcastle People’s Chorus at the Trades Hall, 149 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland. They sang in two sessions with a break for refreshments in the middle and again at the end. Along with many other songs, they sang Bread and Roses, The Red Flag, Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever. After Auckland the Chorus went to Wellington, Westport, Greymouth and Christchurch. The Auckland night was a very enjoyable one and we wish the Chorus well wherever they perform.
22 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Newcastle Peoples Chorus perform in Auckland
Campaigning in the 2008 general election for workers rights: Auckland seafarers Lucky Peaufa, Phil Smith, Andy Owens (front), Byron Cummings, Mario O’Merovic, Sean Kelleher, Danny Tilby, Gene Towers
Wayne Holt (PSA), Mario O’Merovic, Garry Parsloe, and Sean Kelleher at the Newscatle People’s Chorus night in Auckland www.munz.org.nz
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 23
MUA National Council report By Garry Parsloe National Vice President
Day One MUA National Presiding Officer Mick Carr opened the National Council meeting on 13 October 2008 by welcoming everyone to the meeting. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin then gave an overview of the Agenda for the meeting. He spoke on MUA policies and the need to set a strategy for an agenda for going forward. Paddy went on to talk about all the work that is being done within the ITF. Paddy then addressed the importance of building the Trans Tasman Federation. Paddy concluded by talking about Union coverage, Union density and how to conduct ourselves within the present political climate. After morning smoko there was a presentation from MUA Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman under the heading “Building Branch Organising Capacity”. Mick talked about Union organising on Non-Union sites, expanding on some of the difficulties that the MUA is being confronted with in this area. The next speaker was MUA Assistant National Secretary Rick Newlyn. Rick’s presentation was under the heading “Membership, Power, Influence”. Rick spoke on team training, then gave a report on bargaining issues and other areas that he is involved with. Rick expanded on developments from the Mining and Maritime Conference which was held in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2008. The next presentation was from MUA Deputy National Secretary Jim Tannock, under the heading “Building a Strong, well resourced Union”. Jim spoke on campaigns, legal issues, and branch audits, which is all about organising for safe and secure jobs. Jim spent time explaining the current membership levels and the present financial position of the Union. He expanded on how members were paying their dues. Some by direct debit which was working well as opposed to those who were paying by cash. This cash group seem to fall behind and the Union was working hard to get all members on direct debit. The first session after lunch on day one was presented by Paddy Crumlin and Bill Giddins under the heading “MUA Enterprise Bargaining Strategy” over the next four years.
24 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Paddy enlarged on the bargaining process that the MUA was adopting in their negotiations with Patrick’s. Bill gave a powerpoint presentation which covered the future industrial direction, national employment process, timetable and progress, unfair dismissals and good faith bargaining provisions. There was a long debate by Council around the best ways to achieve a result that was acceptable to the membership. The next session was presented by Zoe Reynolds under the heading of “New Maritime Website”. Zoe did a powerpoint presentation which contained global solidarity, a global strategy, website alerts, e-bulletins and the use of multi-media. The next session was a Western Australia Branch report by the Branch Secretary Chris Cain. Chris gave a detailed report on activities and developments in Western Australia. Chris expanded on all the work that is coming up in the offshore in Western Australia. Chris then expanded on all the developments in the regional ports in Western Australia. The next session was the Northern Territory Branch report by the Branch Secretary Andy Burford. Andy reported on all the growth taking place in the Northern Territory region.
Day Two Day two opened with the South Australian Branch report from the Secretary Jaimie Newlyn. Jaimie spoke on the importance of supporting Merchant Navy Day, towage issues, membership growth and other developments in the Branch area. The next session was the 2007/2008 financial auditors report. Paddy Crumlin gave a full and comprehensive overview of the financial situation of the Maritime Union of Australia. David Robinson the auditor then addressed the council. He expanded on the issues of significance contained within the report. In the first session after smoko, Australian Council of Trade Unions President Sharan Burrow addressed the meeting. Sharan spoke about the demise of global capital and the wage structure in the USA which had hit an all time low where working families could not meet their mortgage repayments. All of these factors have led to the collapse of the market. The trickle down theory promoted by the capitalist system has failed.
After Sharan’s presentation we had an address from the Secretary of the Maritime Energy and Transport Union of Timor Leste, Paulino De Costa. The next presentation was from Papua New Guinea Maritime and Transport Workers Union Vice President Norbet Sela. Norbet spoke on the increase in tonnage going in and out of PNG and how they were coping with these increases. The first speaker after lunch was Jason Campbell, MUA Tasmanian Branch Secretary who gave a report on activities in the Tasmanian Branch. The next session was the Sydney Branch Report which was presented by Branch Secretary Warren Smith. Warren expanded on some of the campaigns that his Branch is involved in. He also expanded on the current membership drives to achieve full membership in Sydney. The next session was presented by Paddy Crumlin under the heading of “The MUA Skills and Training Development Plan”. Paddy stressed the importance of developing skills and training. The task ahead for the Union is to make sure that enough training is taking place so as there are enough ratings coming through to service the industry. The initiative of an industry funded maritime training facility was received by the meeting with every speaker supporting the project. We were able in this session to become part of the discussion into the importance of training. We enlarged on the trainee programmes in the tankers and the possibility of simulators for the stevedoring section. MUNZ was invited to become involved with this bold and forward thinking project. The last session on day two was a MUA APHEDA report which was presented by Deputy National Secretary Jim Tannock about union aid projects.
Day Three The Asia Pacific regional committee of the Mining and Maritime met along with members of the International committee. The meeting reported that the next Mining and Maritime Convention would be held in South Africa in 2011. The schedule for active campaigns was reexamined with the issue of Noel Robinson and his impending trial on 2 December being agreed as a day of action around the world, protesting at Australian embassies and followed up with further letters of protest.
Day three at the National Council opened with a presentation from Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Paul Lucas. Paul spoke on the importance of having a good logistics chain and how that chain will then bring benefits to all negotiations. The next session was headed “An Emissions Trading Scheme”. The speakers were Tony Maher (Mining Division, Construction Forestry Mining and Engineering Union – CFMEU), Paul Howes (Australian Workers Union – AWU), Tony Sheldon (Transport Workers Union – TWU), and Paddy Crumlin (Maritime Union of Australia – MUA). Paddy Crumlin spoke first on sustainability investments, collective bargaining and road transport. Tony Maher spoke on climate change, union involvement, union concerns, carbon pricing, trading schemes, energy demand, exemptions and carbon tax. Paul Howes spoke on issues around climate change, union coverage, the Australian economy, carbon output, global capital and government involvement in carbon tax emissions. Tony Sheldon spoke on road transport and how that impacts on climate change with the carbon emissions. The next session was headed “Safety in the Maritime Industry”. The panel was made up of General Manager Maritime Operations, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Mike Kindly, General Manager Maritime Safety Queensland John Watkinson, Assistant National Secretary MUA Mick Doleman, Martin Byrne (Australian Institute Of Marine And Power Engineers – AIMPE) and an AMSA board member.
The panel spoke at length on Safety at Sea, how we can do better in all areas of safety, both ship safety and crew safety. There are so many ways in which we as unions can improve in this area. The first session after lunch was headed “The National Shipping Policy Agenda”. This session was presented by Paddy Crumlin , Martin Byrne (AIMPE) and Fred Ross (Australian Maritime Officers Union – AMOU). Paddy spoke on the shortage of officers as opposed to there being an excess of ratings worldwide. Fred Ross spoke on how Australia moved (through training and skills) to the manning levels that exist today. Fred went onto talk about the importance of bringing trainees into the industry or we will not have any seafarers to man any new tonnage. Martin Byrne spoke on the Australian shipping taskforce. He went on to talk about having mixed crews if Australian seafarers want to be part of international shipping. The next session was headed “Strategic Alliances”. The first speaker was Mick Dolman (MUA) who spoke on the offshore task force. Tony Maher of CFMEU spoke next on building alliances with other unions. Paul Tolich of the New Zealand EPMU was the next speaker. Paul spoke on the alliance between the MUA and MUNZ with the Trans Tasman Hydrocarbon alliance. The next speaker was Paul Howes (AWU). Paul spoke about union coverage, membership levels and union poaching.
The next speaker was MUNZ General Secretary Trevor Hanson who gave a report on how the alliance was brought together, and expanded on all the benefits that this alliance will deliver. The next session was under the heading of “Building the Trans Tasman Federation”. The first speaker was Paddy Crumlin (MUA). Paddy gave a overview of some of the history behind the Trans Tasman Federation. The next speaker was Tony Sheldon (TWU). Tony spoke about delivering on the challenges before us. The next speaker was Andrew Thomas from Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). Andrew spoke on recent disputes and the solidarity that those disputes brought with them. Trevor Hanson (MUNZ) spoke on amalgamations and other Trans Tasman issues. Both Russell Mayn and Garry Parsloe spoke in this session. They spoke on the New Zealand 2008 election campaign, amalgamations, union coverage and other issues that are facing the Maritime Unions in both New Zealand and Australia. Both speakers expanded on the encroachment of non-union labour into some of the New Zealand ports. In the last session we had a superannuation presentation from the two Australian maritime superannuation funds, Peter Robertson (SERF) and Glenn Davis (SRF). There was a powerpoint presentation with both presenters stating that if you were to move to cash when the fund is in negative all you do is lock your losses in. As you can see by the above, it was a full-on Council meeting which was both positive and productive.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 25
Bob Te Maro and foreman Roger Pharazyn at Port of Napier (photo by Bill Connelly)
The membership was unanimous in their appreciation of what Russell had to say and showed it by acclamation.
By Bill Connelly
I am pleased to report that we have concluded the negotiation process and have a new Collective Employment Agreement in place for the next two years.
Around and about
Election 2008: Russell Fairbrother MP
Arising from the Annual General Meeting it was decided that we would hold a Christmas function and invite all the Old Timers along and see if we can get them interested in joining the Veteranâ€™s Association. It was further agreed that the local members of the RMTU would also be invited along to express our appreciation for their assistance, during the picket in December 2007. Now the only problem is to pick a date when there is little or no shipping due and get all members along to the function. Yeah Right! With that the Officers, Executive and Members Napier Branch wish to take this opportunity to wish all members throughout the country a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2009.
The port is reasonably quiet at the moment. The Christmas holidays are almost upon us and the New Year is just around the corner.
C3: Formerly Toll Logistics New Zealand Limited Their current Collective Agreement expires on 31 December 2008, so hopefully we will be in negotiations shortly to try and ratify a new agreement for the three permanent members left on the Napier register.
Hawkeâ€™s Bay Stevedoring Services Limited 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 the 31 July 2009.
Kelcold Limited The Branch has currently been in negotiations with the Company for a new Collective Agreement, with the expiration of the current Agreement on 1 October 2008.
26 | The Maritimes | December 2008
We held our Annual General Meeting on 10 November 2008, which was two days after the General Election. Russell Fairbrother, our local Labour List Member of Parliament, attended the meeting. He said that although he was disappointed at not winning back the Napier seat he was pleased to retain the vote he had received in the last General Election and said that the reason for the loss was one of the public being complacent and not happy with the performance of some of the minor parties. If Labour could have picked up the some of those dissenting votes that went to National, then maybe the seat could have been won. He thanked the membership for their continued support over the past six years and also thanked the Branch for the financial assistance over the years. He told the membership he is now returning to being a lawyer and his services were available should the membership wish to seek his legal assistance.
Mount Maunganui Tauranga By Eddie Cook The Branch has nearly 300 members now, and we are looking to do some more new Collective Agreements which could include 20 to 50 new members at the port. We have our AGM on 4 December at 3pm5pm at the Hockey Club which should have a good turnout and hopefully add some more members for our Branch Executive although we have a good number at the moment. I would like to thank the following people for their help over the eight months since I have taken over as Branch Organizer and Secretary: Russell Mayn, Garry Parsloe, Peter Harvey, Leroy Tipene, Jamie Neil, Corrine Parore, Robin Douglas, Duncan Collins, Ray Ashford and anybody else that has helped. The Branch is doing quite well now financially and we can look to a bright future with the recruitment of more members. NZL Group is still a stumbling block but negotiations are nearly complete and Bayline is getting closer and with a few more agreements coming up we should be fairly busy. Some more mediations soon so hopefully good results there and I would like to wish all our members and families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, looking forward to a great year.
Gisborne By Dein Ferris As the world has been pretty quiet for us on the shipping scene, with a few outport transfers in the past couple of months there is little to report on. So from all in Gissy, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Timaru By Kevin Forde The Branch is looking forward to hosting the Interport tournament which kicks off 8 February 2009 in Timaru. So far we have 44 golfers and 22 fishermen lined up. Work is the same as normal with fish boats and Maersk. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Timaru Branch.
Bluff By Ray Fife The arrival of MSC vessels has given the port a needed boost, arriving on a weekly basis to exchange up to 400 containers per voyage, particularly as Tasman Orient Line pulled out of its calls to the port. As with most small conventional ports, it is hard to attract shipping lines to call into the port as most produce now is containerised and sent to the larger container ports. Small conventional ports are finding it tough to compete against the larger ports and with more and more bulk cargo now going into containers the squeeze will go on ports like Bluff to be able to compete in today’s environment. This reflects on the amount of work our members now get and there are now less opportunities for our casual members to move up to a permanent job. The worldwide recession will affect exports with producers finding it more difficult to find markets for their goods. This naturally flows onto the stevedore companies who struggle to get contracts and then flows onto the workers whose wages drop and jobs are put at risk. It is a matter of riding this recession out and hoping that there is enough work around to keep our members employed through the next year or two.
Negotiations Southland Stevedoring Services have finally settled negotiations for a local port schedule for the permanents and casual members of our Branch. As with all settlements not everyone is happy but in today’s environment we were still able to get a reasonable increase on all rates of pay.
Elections The outcome of the General Election where the centre right National government romped into power will reflect on future industrial legislation. Whatever way you look at it is not good news for the union movement. The ACT party boasting of nearly doubling their vote to 3.8% is a direct result of tactical voting under MMP, mostly by right-wing monetarist and National voters to give the Key government a majority. With the United States, Australia and other countries moving to the centre left of politics for the greater good of the people, what does New Zealand do? Turn the clock back 20 years for a National-ACT government.
Branch Elections The Officers and Executive of our Branch for the following year are. President: Harry Holland Secretary: Ray Fife Executive: Ross Tangney, Ivan Pollock, Terry Osborne and Ray Crown.
The Union A lot of members think that the Union is there solely to represent them in negotiations, grievances and ACC matters. That is not so, our Branch on numerous occasions have supported other unions when they have had industrial issues, either by physical presence on the picket line or donating food parcels. Being affiliated to the Labour Party, we have attended the Invercargill Electorate meetings, delivered leaflets leading up to the elections and helping out on election day. We have supported various fund raising organisations where the funds raised go into the Southland Communities, such as: • charity bowls tournament where all donations go towards Southland Hospice and St John Ambulance Invercargill. • The Police Managers Guild where the donation this year goes towards a journal that will be delivered to all households in the community to educate parents on the drug P. • The Kids Foundation where all funds again go into the local community to support families living with primary immune deficiencies and related disorders. • The Relay for Life where all funds raised go to the local cancer society. Another area we are involved in is our environment. The Branch is currently donating funds to sponsor traps to control pests on Bluff Hill, thereby providing a safe haven for native wildlife on the hill, which covers approximately 600 hectares of land. We also have volunteers to help check pest control lines and set up trap lines.
Past Members Function Our yearly function was held in November and this year we had one of our biggest turnouts for a number of years. All past members said that they look forward to this event every year as it is the only time they get to see their old work mates and talk about the good old days when there were over 300 members in the Branch at any one time and the working conditions were a lot easier. Their interest in the Union and what is happening on the Bluff waterfront is as strong as if they were still working under the hook now. On behalf of our Branch I would like to wish all fellow unionists a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 27
Port Chalmers Dunedin By Phil Adams Merry Christmas from the Deep South. As the weather warms up, the recession seems to have brought quiet times although ship visits are much the same. The terminal has been quiet with the chance to train the new entrants which is good given we are short of skilled drivers and hatchmen. Our officials and executive recently met with a new group of cargo handlers and explained the expectations and services provided by the Union. This meeting was a chance for them to have their say and the officials were buoyed by their interest. We reminded them to attend meetings and have their say, or ask an official who is always available to answer questions.
Port Chalmers Cargo Services PCCS have been quiet. Phil Adams and Noel Currie are about to negotiate an agreement for the casuals employed by them. With the election result going in favour of National, a return of Mainland is always possible in the new environment. However I know all the lads who work for PCCS would not have voted for them as a vote for National is a vote to have Mainland and yellow labour back in the Port. Thanks for not voting for them. At the Terminal, the smoko room is currently being renovated and smoko is being held in the Bureau. This gives new members a chance to look at the photos on the wall of past members who fought to obtain the wages and conditions we enjoy today.
Retired members/Union shout On 12 December we have the retired members shout in the WIC bureau hall from 4pm–7pm. Hope to see everyone there.
Sports Tourney Our Branch has a good size team heading to Timaru in February 2009 and we wish Winky and his team all the best. As the Union grows we need to bring through new officials and with this in mind the branch recently sent one of our executive members Stu Crawford to the MUA Youth Conference in Melbourne. We are also taking executive members Iain Quarrell and Paul Napier to our national executive meeting in Wellington in late November.
28 | The Maritimes | December 2008
The annual meeting of our branch was held in October with 70 members attending. For the first time in many years we had a surplus which is good for the future of our branch, and the numbers at the meeting gives the officials confidence that members recognize the importance of these branch meetings.
Our Queenstown holiday unit has some vacancies. With a $50 deposit and $300 for a weeks accommodation it is well worth it. Contact Iain Quarrell on (03)4727216 or the Secretary on (03)4728052. The maintenance gang have just completed a weeks work and everything is ship shape. The week of 17 November we will have an international guest as MUA assistant general secretary Jim Tannock will be staying at the unit.
Political update With the elections behind us I would like to congratulate local member Victor Billot on again topping the Alliance electorate vote nationally, better luck next time Vic. With National in, supported by ACT and the Maori Party, I believe we have some tough times ahead and need to be more united than ever. I believe National will revisit industrial laws and this is not good. Our Branch would like to acknowledge the work of Peter Brown MP of New Zealand First. Although at times we had differences we did appreciate his knowledge of the industry and the troubles we have had in it, especially with the casualization review he helped get up and running.
Deaths Recently we have lost several retired members. George Berryman served on the executive of the Union and Ivan Nicholson will be remembered by many as someone who could get a laugh out of most. Retired watersider Frank Collet has passed away and also his brother in law Don Montgomery, a former executive member and seaman. Condolences to their families.
Superannuation The Super continues to be a concern to us all and unfortunately a lot of it is beyond our control. Hopefully the future will be brighter but for those contemplating retirement in the next few years it is not a good outlook currently. Kirstie at the national office of the Super fund is leaving and our branch would like to wish her all the best for the future.
Japan In October I had the opportunity to represent the Union as national President at the East Asia Dockers Conference in Kobe, Japan, and it was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable trip. A full report is elsewhere in the magazine.
Sick In November Cyril Todd also known as “Toddy” took ill and there were great concerns about his health. Cyril has come through and we wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he will be back at work soon. Finally our port and the Port of Lyttelton are contemplating a merger which our branch and the national Union believe is a positive move. It has been suggested that Lyttelton branch could become a sub branch of Port Chalmers, hopefully Les Wells will agree to this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all and remember to be proud of our Union as with the new right wing Government a united approach is all important.
Spirit of Endurance Pacifica are returning to our Port under the container cranes. We hope everything works well for this venture as coastal shipping is an important part of the Union and Pacifica have been a substantial employer of our members at sea and on the waterfront. A local seafarer Robbie McDonald is leaving to live in Australia and I believe may continue his work at sea in Aussie. We wish Robbie all the best.
MUNZ welcomes the new intake of PRPs at the Port of Lyttelton to the Union
Lyttelton By Les Wells
Lyttelton Pacifica At the moment we are going through the changes that are happening down at Pacifica, with the loss of “Spirit of Competition”. We have had two trips from the “Kent” which used Pacifica labour when it arrived. Hopefully this could lead into them being used all the time. This would help towards our members holding onto their jobs. After speaking to some of the men at the containers it would seem that the new vessel “The Spirit of Endurance” went reasonably well when it went under the container crane with a few teething problems as expected with a new vessel.
C3 Limited C3 have seen the departure of Gavin McNaught to greener pastures. I wish Gavin all the best in whatever he takes on in the future. I have always found Gavin as someone you could sit down and talk with, especially with his background in the Industry. These days we find that many people we have to deal with on the management side have no history in the industry – I believe that this is a deliberate ploy by companies. Best wishes Gavin.
Lyttelton Stevedoring Services LSS are still plugging away with bulk carriers and the odd scrap job. One of my major concerns is the world wide recession that is taking place and the effect it will have on our members, not just on the waterfront but in all areas we have members.
SGS We have just signed up ten members from SGS, and we would like to welcome them to the Union as they are the first members for this Port outside of the waterfront. I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of Lyttelton members to wish our brothers and sisters around the country a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Lyttelton Port Company LPC have just taken on eleven more PRPs, all of whom have joined MUNZ. I believe that this company has just advertised for more PRPs in the newspaper. I think one of the most positive things to have happened is the signing of memoranda of understanding between the port companies at Port Chalmers and Lyttelton. I believe this can only benefit our members in both ports and once again the South Island leads the way in making positive change for the future. www.munz.org.nz
Lyttle Chalmers: a proposed new logo to go along with the merger of Port Chalmers and Port of Lyttelton (supplied by L. Wells)
The Maritimes | December 2008 | 29
Auckland Waterfront Local 13 By Russell Mayn At this time last year the Union was gearing up for the Napier dispute. Even though it was a year ago it seems like yesterday. Much has been written regarding the Napier dispute so I am not going to reiterate all the details, but it may be worthwhile reflecting on how this dispute was handled and where the Port is today. The winning of the dispute, although complicated in its own right, can be summed up briefly. The Napier Port Company was trying to establish the beginning of a Port of Convenience. This would mean de-unionised labour with a mainly casual work force that would have destabilised unionised labour in the Port and further drive down the conditions of all workers in the Port. A fully committed MUNZ campaign in New Zealand with the support of the CTU along with an extensive international campaign spearheaded by the International Transport Federation and the Maritime Union of Australia was crucial in winning the day. None of this happened by mistake but was due to a concerted effort over a number of years to increase the Maritime Union of New Zealand profile within the international union movement. As in all things there is no such thing as a free lunch and if we are to continue on the path we have established both internationally and domestically we have to make sure as a union we are in a position to play an effective role on an ongoing basis. The Trans Tasman Federation and the International Transport Federation are great benefits and will be a key to our future. But there also has to be a balance where domestically we strengthen our union. This can only happen if we have a strong structure in place that is financially stable and quick to react to industrial and political campaigns.
Regionalization At the November National Executive meeting the MUNZ structure was debated at length and a resolution was passed for each Branch/Local to debate the issue of regionalization. Branches/Locals are then to supply feedback to the National Officials who are to design a blueprint for further consideration by the National Executive.
30 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Any blueprint is then to go back to the membership at stopwork meetings for consideration. I am hopeful that this will be the move towards a more effective structure that benefits all members whether they are in a small or large Branch/Local. Like all things only time will tell, but it is imperative we arrive at a decision one way or the other and try and complete what is a tight time frame over the holiday period. This I believe is what is needed to complete what has been a very successful amalgamation of the seafarers and the dockers. It is a bit like the “Mainland Cheese Ad” – it has taken some time but all good things take time. So I wish each Branch/Local well in their deliberations on what is a very important step for the Union.
Recession With the National Party now in power unions will come under attack and changes to industrial legislation are inevitable. I hope I am wrong on this one but either way we have to be prepared to fight for what we hold to as basic working rights. The spectre of privatization will again raise its ugly head and no doubts ACC will be the first cab off the rank. The global recession will impact on New Zealand and we have already seen this in the returns from our superannuation funds. The unknown is how companies within our industry handle the impact. If the reaction is to slash and burn, then everyone in the industry, union members and employers alike will have missed out on what could be a great chance to fix some of the glaring problems we are faced with. The easy option is to further deregulate the industry, increase casualization and marginalise workers. This is a time, where just like in the financial markets, stronger regulations are called for, so companies and workers alike can ride the storm out. Port Companies should be lobbying government to form Kiwi Ports. Port Chalmers and Lyttelton have got the jump on the North Island ports with the proposed amalgamation. This should be used as a catalyst to change what has been a destructive over competitive market, and put in place a stable port structure that is serviced with a strong New Zealand owned and operated domestic shipping service. If the downturn in world shipping impacts as some are predicting, what better opportunity could there be for New Zealand to invest in ships to move our domestic products nationally and internationally. This could be bargain basement buying.
The knockers will be saying it’s not that simple. I don’t agree, positive actions would stimulate the economy while providing an opportunity to revitalise our transport sector. It would be interesting to poll stevedoring companies on a confidential basis throughout New Zealand. I am sure that for them to survive they would agree to a stronger regulated market where they are not cutting each others throats.
Veteran’s Association The Veteran’s Association has been another of the great success stories for the Union this year and the numbers are growing stronger by the day. One of the telling comments at the National Executive meeting was that we spend enormous amounts of time keeping regular contact with our members while they are employed in the industry but after that the next time we make contact is at their funeral. How true this is. With the Veterans booming and Branches/ Locals inviting Veterans to Christmas functions, Picnic Days, Old Timers do’s and so forth we have changed what was missing in our Union. Who would ever want to miss the Seafarers Old Timers do? It is an absolute ripper and a credit to those who organise it, from the donations to the cooking and logistics on the day. Interport is another shining example of where past and present meet to socialise and compete. The socialising may be informal but the good natured competitive spirit is alive and well. It must be mentioned that Auckland is going for the treble in the golf this year, just thought I would slip that in. The truth of the matter is their success is due to a very good tactical decision from Arthur Peke to ban me from the team. In summing up, the New Year will provide as many highs as there are lows but the focus should be to celebrate the successes and learn from the mistakes and minimise these going forward. If we are to get one present from “Santa” this year please let it be a bumper recovery to the Superannuation as I know how important this is to our retired and current membership. From the Auckland Branch, Local 13 we wish every Veteran, Member and their families a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year. “Touch One Touch All”
PORT CONTACTS Whangarei Mobile: 021 855121 Fax: 09 459 4972 Address: PO Box 397, Whangarei Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Auckland Seafarers Phone: 09 3032 562 Fax: 09 3790 766 Mobile: 021 326261 Address: PO Box 1840, Auckland Email: email@example.com Auckland Local 13 Phone: 09 3034 652 Fax: 09 3096 851 Mobile: 021 760887 Address: PO Box 2645, Auckland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Corner: Memoirs of a Kiwi Seaman
Samuel Parnell – A Legacy
by Kevin Levien
by Paul Corliss
On the Corner is the memoirs of retired Kiwi seaman Kevin Levien. His book deals mainly with his younger days when he went away to sea as a teenager in 1950s New Zealand and his experiences over the next couple of decades around the coastal trade and further afield in the Pacific. Kevin sticks to the colourful tales of the life and times of a young seamen and recounts experiences that will probably be familiar to many other veterans of those times, although it has to be said Kevin has a few experiences that are probably unique. Like many other maritimers he has the feel for a good story and paints a picture of the larger than life characters and situations he came across in his days “on the corner”, with a gift for language and description, this is working class history from the eyes of someone who lived it. The story sticks to the life of a working seaman and does not deal so much with the union politics or big issues of the era although we pick up some accounts of a few controversies and battles along the way. A worthy addition to the several volumes of memoirs authored by retired New Zealand seafarers in recent years, On the Corner captures some never to be repeated times in the New Zealand maritime industry. – VB
Former Canterbury union official Paul Corliss has published his short book on Samuel Parnell, hot on the heels of “Words at Work”, his annotated bibliography of New Zealand trade union literature. Parnell occupies a major place in New Zealand working class history as he established the “eight hour day” shortly after arriving in Wellington as an immigrant in 1840. Up to then it had been common practice for 12 or 14 hour days for carpenters in London from where Parnell had come from. However he and others like him had not come to the colonies to carry on the iniquities of the old country, and due to a shortage of labour, their bargaining position was a strong one. The eight hour system was established for tradesmen and labourers, and spread throughout New Zealand years before other countries like Australia and the United States, even though for many workers longer hours were still the norm. The book includes a brief history of Samuel Parnell and the campaign for an eight hour day, as well as other labour struggles in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the book there is also a reprint of Bert Roth’s essay on Parnell from the New Zealand Dictionary of Biography, notes on other labour activists of the era, further reading, timelines, reproductions of colonial newspaper reports, and information on current “work life balance” campaigns. This book deserves a place on the bookshelf of every unionist. –VB
Kevin has copies available for $20 plus postage and he can be contacted at email email@example.com or 24 Matthews Crescent, Printers Bay, Cromwell 9310
Copies available from the author at email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mount Maunganui Phone: 07 5755 668 Fax: 07 5759 043 Mobile: 0274 782308 Address: PO Box 5121, Mt. Maunganui Email: email@example.com Gisborne Local 38 Mobile: 025 6499697 Address: 5 Murphy Road, Gisborne Email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Plymouth Mobile: 021 479269 Address: PO Box 659, New Plymouth Email: email@example.com Napier Phone/Fax: Mobile: Address: Email:
Wellington Seafarers Phone: 04 3859 288 Fax: 04 3848 766 Mobile: 021 364649 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 Fax: Mobile: Address:
03 5472104 027 6222691 PO Box 5016, Nelson
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:
06 8358 622 027 6175441 PO Box 70, Napier firstname.lastname@example.org
03 2128 189 027 4475317 PO Box 5, Bluff email@example.com The Maritimes | December 2008 | 31
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Executive, Wellington, 25 November 2008
32 | The Maritimes | December 2008
Published on Dec 13, 2008