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Issue 25 • Autumn 2009 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418 The Maritimes The Recession: what does it mean for workers?

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Official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

Text of Maritimes Autumn 2009

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 1

    Issue 25 Autumn 2009 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418

    TheMaritimes

    The Recession:what does it mean for workers?

  • 2 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    Union On AirA lot of the news we get in New Zealand is poor quality. Corporate media, talkback radio and lowest common denominator standards give a distorted sense of the world complete with commercial hype and anti-worker bias.But around the world, independent media is making a big impact. Workers and activists are creating their own news and their own media to cut through and share information that is useful to workers. The Maritime Union of course has the Mari-times magazine and our website, and Local 13 publishes the Port News magazine.However theres a lot more alternative media out there where you can find real news about real people.Two Maritime Union of New Zealand members produce their own radio show in Wellington that can be heard weekly. Whats more, you can now download their show via the internet.

    Seafarers Alan Windsor and Russell Pierce are part of the team that produces Educat-ing for Social Change/Behind the News. Together with fellow presenters Victoria Quade and Jim Delahunty, the show is produced on behalf of the Wellington Workers Education Association.The show is broadcast on Access Radio Wellington 783 AM at 4pm every Sunday.Lively debate on issues and subjects which are important to all working people in New Zealand.If you miss the show or live outside Wel-lington, you can download a podcast from the following website:http://www.accessradio.org.nz/community.html

    Voices of Solidarity There are a number of other radio shows around New Zealand that have featured the Maritime Union and union issues, and are supportive of workers rights and trade unions. These shows are all available, not just on the radio, but on the internet as live streams or podcasts. A selection is listed below.

    The Revolution will not be televised This is a weekly show on Dunedins Radio One 91FM on Saturday morning 9am11am with host Olivier. It features inter-views and discussion about current events with a wide range of activists.You can stream the show live on http://www.r1.co.nz/ or download podcasts from http://therevolutionwillnotbetelevisedradio1.blogspot.com/

    Community or ChaosCommunity or Chaos is a Dunedin radio show on Toroa Radio 1575AM broadcast on Tuesdays 11amnoon.Host Marvin Hubbard presents an hour of informative discussion on various topics spanning from economics and politics to local and touring musicians.http://www.toroaradio.co.nz/podcasts.php

    Community FocusBroadcast Saturdays 9.3011.30am, Community Focus is a two-hour examina-tion and analysis of issues involving Ham-ilton and the Greater Waikato, focusing on local, regional and national politics, and community events and personalities.Martin G and Craig (Willsy) regularly interview community leaders, individuals working in social services, local and na-tional politicians, and commentators about regional and national issues; and comment on local happenings and concerns.Well worth a listen online at http://www.communityradio.co.nz/or download podcasts at http://www.communityradio.co.nz/index.asp?pageID=2145827197

    If you know of any good pro-worker media, let us know.

    Workers voice: Maritime Union members Alan Windsor and Russell Pierce in the studio

    NEWS AND MEDIA

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 3

    Edition 25, Autumn 2009

    ContentsUnion on air 2Editorial and contents 3General Secretarys report 4Update from National President 5Global recession 6MUA West Australia Conference 10News 11Gaza 12Price fixing 15Spirit of Competition model 17Seagulls fighting for crumbs 18Pacific Titan 19Union History 20ITF News 23Interport 24Vindicatrix Reunion 30Port roundups 32Letters and notices 51Port contacts 51

    The Maritimes is published quarterly by the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

    ISSN 1176-3418

    National Office:PO Box 27004WellingtonNew ZealandTelephone: 04 3850 792Fax: 04 3848 766Email: [email protected]: www.munz.org.nz

    Editor: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Fax: 09 9251125Email: [email protected]: PO Box 339, DunedinNew Zealand

    Editorial Board: Trevor Hanson, Phil Adams, Garry Parsloe and Russell Mayn

    Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters: 8 May 2009 for next edition

    Cover photo:MUNZ members on the Kaitaki, Wellington, 30 January 2009, from left Ajay Kapoor, Keli Kanipule, Dave Molloy, Tameri Teeneta (photo by Luke Appleby)

    For more on-line photos, see www.flickr.com/maritimeunion

    Thanks to our photographers including Terry Ryan, Alf Boyle, Russell Mayn, Barry Howe, Dave Milner, Joe Fleetwood, Garry Parsloe, Les Wells, Harry Holland, Bill Connelly, Luke Appleby and others

    Contact the Maritime UnionNational OfficeTelephone: 04 3850 792Fax: 04 3848 766Address: PO Box 27004, WellingtonOffice administrator: Ramesh PathmanathanEmail: [email protected]

    General Secretary: Trevor HansonDirect dial: 04 8017 614Mobile: 021 390585Email: [email protected]

    National President: Phil AdamsDirect dial: 03 4728 052Mobile: 0274 377601Email: [email protected]

    National Vice President: Garry ParsloeDirect dial: 09 3032 562Mobile: 021 326261Email: [email protected]

    Assistant General Secretary: Russell Mayn Direct dial: 09 3034 652Mobile: 021 760886Email: [email protected]

    ITF Inspector: Grahame MacLarenDirect dial: 04 8017 613Mobile: 021 2921782Email: [email protected]

    Communications Officer: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Fax: 09 9251125Address: PO Box 339, DunedinEmail: [email protected]

    EDITORIAL

    Resisting the recession page 6

    Socialist answers required for capitalist crisisby Victor BillotDeregulated, free market capitalism has failed.Corporate globalization and the open markets driven by the short-term self-interest of the big players of the global money markets have ground to a halt. Despite the recession being caused by the inherent flaws of the system, it appears workers will be made to pay for the crisis. Public money will rescue the rugged individualists of the finance and business world who eagerly accept the handouts.The result of mass unemployment in major world economies, especially the USA and China, will have huge roll-on effects.In New Zealand, the effects have been less immediate, but job losses are now causing disruption and insecurity.The recent Jobs Summit brought together business interests, bureaucrats, National politicians and a sprinkling of invited unions (including the Maritime Union) to discuss solutions for unemployment in New Zealand.Unions need to be represented at such events to advocate for workers. But unions should also be promoting political and eco-nomic alternatives that work for workers, not just helping to find quick fixes to bolster up the same crook system.The pressure to find practical solutions must not hide the fact that the current crisis and recession are the direct result of deregulated, free market capitalism.The suggestion that a nine day working fortnight could save jobs is not without merit. The concept is one very familiar to our permanent part-time and casual members of the Maritime Union.However losing a days wages every fortnight in exchange for a sketchy promise of training is simply not an option for the hard pressed majority of workers.Basically workers are being asked to pay for a failure of the capitalist system.The selfless example of CEOs and corporate managers giving up a small percentage of their salary is cynical window dressing.Most of these individuals are already paid far too much, and will not even notice the difference, especially after John Keys pro-millionaire tax cuts give them another boost.Unions must use this opportunity to press home a more radical agenda for secure jobs and decent living standards for all workers. But it is no secret that organized labour in New Zealand is not in a powerful position.The fact is that during the 1980s and 1990s the workers movement in New Zealand, as elsewhere, sustained a series of body blows.The progressive and social democratic reforms that had occurred in Western nations over the twentieth century, such as the welfare state, and regulation of labour markets, were under attack.This caused a crisis of confidence in the workers movement that became defensive and reactive.Despite the pain and disruption caused by economic hard times, unions must now use the chance to organize working people.Even in the heartland of capitalism, US President Obama has spoken to the people and clearly stated that the corporations and the super-rich are no longer going to get a free ride at the expense of the working people of America.In New Zealand, we should see which way the wind is blowing. The time is now to revive and push for progressive social change and a peaceful revolution in our society and around the world.The old socialist ideas of solidarity, equality and concern for each other are the values that we need now. They are values that the maritime unions in New Zealand and Australia have always stood for. We need to provide leadership now for working people and not let the same people who caused the mess get put back in a position where they can do it all again.

    Interport 2009 page 24

  • 4 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    COMMENT

    Workers should not pay for crisis

    by Trevor Hanson General SecretaryMany New Zealanders have started 2009 with apprehension and uncertainty about their jobs and their economic security.We need to put our collective thinking towards ensuring that all Maritime Union members are given the best protection pos-sible in what could be a difficult year.The international recession is beginning to hit home. The financial crisis caused by the deregulated and extreme form of free market capitalism is hitting the productive economy hard. Spikes in unemployment, inability to pay mortgages or debt, and other financial stress are now the realities for people throughout Europe, America and Asia.We can only achieve a good result by responding to challenges as a national Union.The attitude of looking after our own port or employer first (parochialism) and disregarding the big picture will not get a good result.

    Global outlookThe recent response by Governments worldwide averted a complete global financial catastrophe, although the cost has been great, and what will be done to en-sure a repeat performance does not occur is not yet clear. In short, socialist measures and Govern-ment action were used to stabilize the economy. It is interesting to note how the major capitalist institutions quickly ac-cepted this safety net. This is despite the rest of us being told for years that social welfare, regulation, and public investment are all inefficient and outdated.

    Yet when the big boys stuff up, they are only too happy to abandon the discipline of the market place and feed at the public trough. Its a funny old world.What is of concern is that the losses and economic damage will be paid for by the working class through taxation and reduced living standards.Since the mid-1980s we have witnessed several downturns in the economy on top of the major restructuring of the maritime industry and labour market.In the mid-1990s global capitalism in-creased the pressure to maximize profits at all costs. The search was on for the cheap-est labour source, with continuing attacks on unions, casualization, relocation of in-dustry and the use of cross-border workers being imported for short-term work.China became the major manufacturing engine of the world and became depend-ent on exporting to the countries they had originally taken the manufacturing from.Today China is in trouble as the recession bites deep. Millions of its population are unemployed and are returning to their rural communities. The country is faced with social unrest as a lack of job security or welfare shows the dark side of the capi-talist road they have taken.

    Union responseThe only correct response as a Union is to keep aware and alert, and when we have to act, to do so as a united national body. Workers should not have to pay for the greed and corruption that has led to the current economic recession.We have seen major attacks on waterfront workers and seafarers over the last two decades. There will be continued attacks on wages and conditions, and job security, as capitalist enterprises compete to push up their shrinking profits.The only way forward in the long term is for all workers inside the wharf gate to have one union and one voice.

    Debt problemThe debt problem is another big issue.The mass availability of cheap credit through credit cards and personal finance, together with the unsustainable over valu-ing of house prices, have left many people in a difficult situation.It is likely that there will be a turn away from corporate globalization as nations concentrate on building their domestic economies or working within smaller regions. There has already been a large extension of public ownership, especially in the finance and banking sector which will probably continue.

    SuperannuationThe many members who are part of our two superannuation schemes have all been hit with reductions in their superannua-tion accounts.In my recent visits to ports as a trustee of the Waterfront Industry Superannuation Fund, it was obvious that most members are aware of the realities of the situation.The main question from our members at these meetings was when did we think that the situation would improve.None of the trustees has the answer to this question. All the fund managers that currently administer our investment portfolio have told us that the global financial situation is worse than the Great Depression. But it must be remembered that even at the worst case scenario, the employer contri-butions and accumulated interest from the super still put us far ahead of what many workers have.

    Interport 2009I recently attended Interport 2009 in Timaru along with many other maritime workers from throughout New Zealand.The annual interport sports tournament shows how the Maritime Union has a strong culture of its own, built up through many years.Members of the Union from many ports come together in a convivial social envi-ronment and spirit of friendly competition.The Council of Sport and the hosting port Timaru must be congratulated for their hard work which saw another successful interport this year.There seems to be a small resurgence going on around the ports with many branches hosting revitalized social events for their members, including picnic days, childrens parties, end of year gatherings and old timers get togethers, which pro-vide a great opportunity for the Union to be more than just about the job but also about our wider families, veterans and communities.This is an important part of the role of the Union and I encourage all branches to keep these events going, or consider re-starting them.In times gone by, watersiders and seafar-ers had a lively culture that ranged from sports clubs, music groups, debating clubs and political discussions. Although in our time stretched world and with a numerically smaller Union, this culture is not as easy to sustain, it builds a better Union and it also makes life more enjoyable.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 5

    COMMENT

    Working for a well-organized Union

    The Maritime Union is strongly critical of free trade deals that promote the exploitation of cross-border, short-term and casual workers, as is happening elsewhere in the world.

    by Phil Adams National President

    RegionalizationThe national officials of the Maritime Un-ion met in Wellington in February to dis-cuss regionalization plans for the Union.It had been planned to hold a special meeting of all branches to discuss this important issue, but it was felt that more planning had to be done and a better framework drawn up so that branch of-ficials will have a better idea of what they are discussing by our next National Execu-tive meeting in 2009.It also gives us an opportunity to present the concept to the membership.Regionalization simply means grouping together our branches in larger regional groupings. There are three planned re-gions: northern, central and southern.The purpose of the exercise is to run a more effective Union. We can pool resources and look at appointing regional organizers if required. The goal is to provide a better level of service and union organization to all ports, especially those smaller ports or ports with a more difficult industrial environment.The national officials believe this could be of benefit in many areas, including organ-izing, co-ordination, during disputes and with negotiations or legal actions.The regionalization plan is discussed in more depth in this issue of the Maritimes. All members will have the opportunity to have their say through their branches.

    Ports The continuing relationships (good and bad) between New Zealand port compa-nies have continued to be high profile.The Port of Otago and Lyttelton Port Company merger was in the news late last year and now we have seen the latest instalment, this time the ongoing rivalry between Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga. NZL stevedoring has announced its inten-tion to re-establish a second container terminal at Sulphur Point in competition with Port of Tauranga. NZL claim to have the right to do this under a 2003 contract.Port of Tauranga are disputing that. The Ports of Auckland announcement that it would be a major customer of NZL at Tauranga is all part of the volatile situa-tion.What is badly needed in New Zealand is a national ports strategy, public investment and perhaps the concept of a KiwiPort (we have KiwiRail and Kiwibank after all). The parochialism and mindless competi-tion between ports show that leaving a vital part of our infrastructure to the chaos of market forces is a mistake.

    Overseas labourRecent events in the UK are a reminder that the use of cross-border labour is causing growing problems throughout the world. Local workers in construction and heavy industry are striking to defend their jobs and conditions.The Maritime Union is strongly critical of free trade deals and jobs policies that promote the exploitation of cross-border, short-term and casual workers, as is hap-pening elsewhere.This simply leads to employers being able to undermine wages and conditions in high wage countries, while holding back the development of poorer nations who lose their most skilled workers.The Maritime Union is an international-ist union, we do not have a problem with overseas workers.What we do have a problem with is free trade deals permitting short term, casual and non-union labour to be imported across borders by employers to drive down wages and conditions.At a time of recession and growing unem-ployment, this has the potential to create conflict and division between workers.This is exactly what employers want.

    Police spyThe national officials of the Maritime Union were disturbed to find out late last year that our Union was one of a number of legitimate groups that had been spied on by a police informer.While it appears our Union was not a ma-jor target, other Unions were also spied on.The Union is following up the incident and wants to find out why the Police are wast-ing money spying on legitimate public organizations like unions. The release of papers from the SIS on the 1951 waterfront lockout last year showed how these secret agencies are used not on enemies of the people but on the people themselves.It is the right of every citizen to belong to a legitimate trade union, organization or political party without the approval of the secret service or the Government.After all, we dont suppose they spy on employers.

  • 6 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    NEWS

    We wont pay for their crisis!According the the Irish Times: Up to 120,000 people have marched in Dublin in protest at how the Government is handling the economic crisis. The march, which was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), took nearly one and a half hours to make its way from Parnell Square to Merrion Square Photo by Infomatique http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/3299446278/ Licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

    The global recession is hitting workers hard. Unions need to lead the resistance to attacks.by Victor BillotAround the world, unemployment queues are growing, the financial system is reel-ing, and Governments are pouring billions of dollars into keeping their economies from going into a deep freeze.The world is experiencing the worst eco-nomic crisis in generations.The response from Government and busi-ness leaders around the world has been one of shock and amazement. However, the economic crisis is the predictable result of the instability of the extreme form of capitalism that has been pursued aggressively in recent years.Globalization, or rather a global system based on the power of transnational corpo-rations, has been promoted as the solution to poverty and inequality.

    The transformation of societyBuzzwords such as open and competi-tive markets, flexible labour and free trade have become part of the English language. These words are used as eu-phemisms, hiding the reality that these concepts benefit some and harm others.Since the 1980s deregulation and priva-tization have been promoted.Any control or law that required private business interests to work within the boundaries set by society were regarded as bad, so deregulation meant these controls and laws were abandoned.Privatization was driven by business seeing it could make money out of public services ranging from health, education, transport, infrastructure and other services.The ideology said that private services were more efficient than public serv-ices. In reality, private business was only interested in making profit, so took over the profitable areas.Socially and culturally, the effects have been massive. Insecurity has bred selfish-ness and intolerance. Social problems such as crime and family breakdown have increased.

    People are encouraged to look after number one and to see personal wealth as the only measure of success. These values are described as individualism. The values of collectivism and solidarity that have served working class people well were under attack. Unions were in the firing line. Welfare state provision for public health, educa-tion, housing and services were reduced. Taxation changed from progressive tax to regressive taxes such as GST that moved the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor. Job security became a thing of the past as free trade policies and flexible labour markets forced workers to compete with each other, and then with workers in low-paid economies where human rights and democracy were under siege.The benefits accrued to the already wealthy, the global ruling elite, and the major shareholders in the global corpora-tions who played nation off against nation, worker against worker.At the same time, the environmental devastation created by the profit system has created global warming, damaged the atmosphere, created toxic waste, destroyed the forests, denuded the oceans, and de-pleted natural resources from oil to water.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 7

    The effect on workersUnited States

    The USA jobless rate will reach 9.4 percent this year and remain high until at least 2011, threatening the nations longer-term growth potential, according to a survey from the business website Bloomberg News. The USA has already lost 4.4 million jobs since December 2007.

    United Kingdom

    A national business organization predicts UK unemployment will hit 3.2 million as the economy shrinks - over one in ten people. Official unemployment figures are rising and currently stand at 2 million.

    Iceland

    Icelands financial sector crumbled late last year and three of the countrys biggest banks were nationalized. Icelands currency lost half its value and thousands of Icelanders lost their savings and jobs and the government later resigned amid popular anger.

    China

    Around 20 million migrant workers have returned to the Chinese countryside after failing to find work in the cities. This creates around 26 million to 40 million unemployed people in the countryside, depending on different estimates.

    Middle East

    The UN puts the average unemployment rate as 15 per cent in the Arab world, reach-ing 40 per cent among people between the ages of 15 and 24 a total of 66 million out of the total Arab population of 317 million.

    Japan

    Declining exports have pulled the Tokyo stock market to a 26-year low. Japans is the worlds second largest economy which shrank by 12.7% in the last quarter.

    Global

    The world is in the grip of a great reces-sion in which the global economy could shrink for the first time since the Second World War, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says. The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, says that the global financial meltdown was set to be worse than even previous pessimistic forecasts. The IMF expects global growth to slow below zero this year, the worst performance in most of our lifetimes, he said. Global unemployment is expected to hit 50 million.

    While the industrial system and even capi-talism itself have proved to be dynamic systems that have created great wealth, they now threaten the very basis of life on earth itself. Compared to this concept, the current economic crisis is a minor glitch even though it will mean misery and hardship for hundreds of millions.

    The financial roots of the crisisThe global economic recession has its roots in the deregulated global finance markets.Financial institutions were responsible for the subprime disaster in the United States. Bad loans were packaged up into obscure and complex investment vehicles that per-colated through the global economy. When the inevitable problems occurred, the shock waves spread quickly through-out the entire interconnected economic system.The United States Government and the vast corporations quickly abandoned their usual talk of free markets, and organized massive subsidies to keep big business afloat.While workers benefits such as a public health system have always been criticized as taxpayer-funded creeping socialism by the business and political elites, no such concern was evident as huge handouts of public money were poured into the private sector in recent months.Despite their dire straits, corporate bo-nuses in the US actually increased by 14% overall in 2008.The leader of the international trade union movement ITUC, Guy Ryder, says companies receiving public bailouts have invented the latest financial innovation recycling taxpayers money into execu-tive bonuses. This is nothing less than grand corporate grand theft, and sadly it is not limited to the US.The situation represents the failure of the policies of extreme capitalism that have dominated the world in the last quarter of a century.

    Effect on New ZealandThe effect on New Zealand has become more evident in 2009.Job losses are mounting as companies lay off staff or relocate overseas to exploit cheap labour. New Zealands unemployment for the December 2008 quarter was 4.6% and Gov-ernment officials expect this to increase to 6.4% over the next year.Hundreds of job losses were announced in the first week of March 2009 alone, including 105 at Irwin Industrial Tools in Wellsford, 180 positions at Sealord in Nel-son and 60 from timber products company Nelson Pine Industries.National Distribution Union secretary Laila Harre said retail workers were being hardest hit.

    Ms Harre said thousands of jobs have been lost over the last two months as employers choose not to replace people leaving. The Warehouse chain was cutting the equivalent of 600 jobs this year by reduc-ing hours and dropping positions.The union response to the crisis has been mixed.There is a tension between Unions engag-ing with Government and business to de-velop practical solutions, but also a clear sense that unions need to lead a fightback against anti-worker policies.The CTU has engaged with the Govern-ment job summit process and has backed the idea of a nine day working fortnight to avoid further job losses. The Government would subsidize the day off.But the secretary of the largest private sector Union the EPMU, Andrew Little, says the Governments nine day fortnight announcement is underwhelming and will have to be met with substantial employer top-ups if it is going to work.The EPMU has supported the idea of a nine day fortnight in principle but only if the government provides a decent subsidy for lost wages.While its important to ensure as many jobs are saved as possible, unions need to be building alternatives to the current economic system that has led to the crisis. Despite the recession, in several coun-tries such as the UK and the USA, union membership is on the increase. Unions have to use the sense of anger and frustra-tion amongst workers to create a positive movement for change, not just trying to restore business as usual.This means campaigning on a range of issues. Jobs, wages and conditions are cen-tral, but so are related issues like housing, health, education and public services.The housing market, which has been dominated by unsustainable specula-tion, has lurched from being overpriced to grinding to a halt as prices drop and houses sit unsold. The situation for young families looking to buy a house still remains poor. Previously the cost of housing was so unaffordable that many took out 95% or 100% mortgag-es, which they are now stuck with as the value of their property sinks. Those still trying to get into a house still face inflated prices, and banks now demand 20% deposit, which is completely unrealistic for most working class people.Although the finance system has not been hit as hard in New Zealand, many finance companies have collapsed taking the in-vestments of ordinary people with them. The high level of debt in New Zealand will mean many problems as unemployment and financial stress rise.

    [continued on next page]

  • 8 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    [continued from previous page]As New Zealand has become reliant on a limited range of exports or services, such as volatile agricultural or primary prod-ucts and a vulnerable tourism industry, the effects of the global recession will be magnified.

    Maritime mayhemThe downturn is hitting shipping and shipbuilding hard around the world. Hundreds of container ships have been laid off as trade between Asia and Europe has slumped.More than 10% of the worlds container ship fleet, or over 450 ships, are laid up.The total capacity of the container ships laying idle (no movement for 19 days or more) is over 1.35 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit). The number one global shipper Maersk is preparing to increase the number of idle container ships and is rumoured to be con-sidering laying up around 8% of its fleet, up to 25 vessels. The shipbuilding industry is in trouble, especially for major producer South Korea. The Korean Samsun Logix, the worlds seventh largest shipping company, has filed for receivership. Newbuild orders for South Korean ship-yards fell by 40.6% in 2008.

    Response from workersGlobal trade unions have denounced bonuses ripped out of failing banks and businesses in recent months, as tens of millions of workers worldwide face loss of their jobs and homes and more businesses hit the wall.Many countries have seen workers taking an organized approach to defending their interests.French waterside workers were among hundreds of thousands of French people who took part in a national one-day strike in January 2008.Both ports and shipping services were heavily disrupted as workers demanded measures to protect jobs and wages.In Dublin, approximately 100,000 people marched through Dublin in February to protest government cutbacks in the face of a deepening recession and bailouts for banks.They accused the government of sticking teachers, nurses, civil servants and con-struction workers with the bill for Irelands economic woes while letting banks and property developers off the hook.Leaders of the G20 nations are meeting in London to coordinate actions to revive the global economy.The meeting will be greeted with a mass protest on Saturday 28 March organised by Put People First, a coalition of unions, charities and other groups.

    Workers mobilizing National Distribution Union members and supporters demand decent wage increases at the Skinny Santa Parade, Auckland, 21 November 2008http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndu/3085974040/ Photo used with permission of NDU

    Put People First is about creating an economy based on fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low car-bon future.Martin Copson, a senior shop steward in the Unite union at Corus steelworks in Scunthorpe, told the Socialist Worker newspaper that Ordinary people need to protest at the G20 summit of the worlds leaders to demand that they put people before profit and invest in jobs. We have to make sure that theres a future for working people.The people being affected arent the ones who caused the crisis its ordinary work-ers and their families.

    Roads aheadAny solution will have to go beyond tem-porary measures to restore a system that does not work for the majority.The following proposals outline ways in which economies and societies could move to overcome the instability and failure of the current system.Financial markets and global finance will need to be heavily regulated to ensure that the current situation does not simply repeat itself. The role of finance must be to serve the interests of global develop-ment and investment, not short-term and irresponsible profiteering.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 9

    General Strike, France, 29 January 2009 up to 300,000 people march in Paris and 2.5 million across the country to protest attacks on workers in the economic crisishttp://www.flickr.com/photos/timlam18/3316137992/ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en

    The introduction of international rules and agreements to control the flow of money including taxation on financial transac-tions rather than workers incomes or productive work. The power of finance corporations must be curbed and brought under control by the people.Free trade will need to be replaced by a global system of trade that puts work-ers interests, the interests of the majority, first. This means ending the freedom of corporations to seek the lowest level of wages and conditions by relocating to low wage economies where human rights and workers rights are under attack.Instead of plundering developing coun-tries for their resources or selectively draining them of their educated popula-tion through immigration, wealthy nations need to provide support to ensure the equitable development of all nations.The end of flexible labour markets, the end of anti-union laws, and the end of contracting out and transfer of labour across borders to drive down wages and conditions. Casualization must be tackled and the need for secure jobs recognized as a key part of this.The empowerment of unions to play a central role in developing plans for a more equal, just and stable economic and social system.

    Greater democratic input from workers into decision making processes.Social measures such as affordable hous-ing, health care and education must be collectively paid for and provided for all.The sovereignty and role of democratic Government and communities to make decisions in their own interest without the interference and pressure of private busi-ness interests.Introduction of progressive taxation to reduce the gross inequalities of the free market economy. Any bailouts of corporations should come with ownership rights for the peo-ple, the public, whose capital has saved these companies from failure. Representation of workers and the public on the management and boards of these companies. A much greater role for public, collective and co-operative business and enterprises.The requirement that all corporations must comply with strong regulations to reduce pollution and resource depletion.If workers merely react to the current recession, we will once again come last. Unions need to aggressively organize and mobilize workers to demand major changes to the economy and to society. These changes are required not just for short-term benefit, but for the survival of humanity.

    NEWS

    Unions need to aggressively organize and mobilize workers to demand major changes to the economy and to society

  • 10 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    MUA Western Australia Conference February 2009

    by Garry Parsloe National Vice President On 1820 February 2009 I attended the Australian MUA state conference in Fre-mantle.Wellington Seafarers Branch Secretary Joe Fleetwood and Peter Stills from the Wel-lington Seafarers Branch executive also attended the conference.The conference opened with an Aboriginal welcome. MUA Western Australia Branch Secretary Chris Cain then welcomed all the Interna-tional guests.The State opposition leader Eric Ripper officially opened the state conference. He spoke on the importance of being in Unions, the need to implement good industrial relations legislation that will protect workers wages and conditions, the need to invest in port infrastructure and the immediate need to put apprenticeships and training programmes in place.

    The conference was then shown a video around the struggles that the Maritime Union of Australia has faced over the years. This video gave a full overview of the Patricks dispute, and the campaign to defeat the Howard Government.Following the video, National Secretary of the MUA Paddy Crumlin gave his address to the State Conference. Paddy spoke on global unemployment, support for a Labor government and the need for workers and Unions to have decent industrial relation legislation to work under.After smoko we had an address from Allanah McTiernan from the Australian Labor Party.Allanahs presentation was on the ALP position on regional ports, future of Fremantle Harbour and maritime policy.Allanah spoke on workers rights at work, industrial relations, subsidies to shipping, maritime programmes and supporting port development.The morning session concluded with a DVD of recent disputes in the Western Australian region.The afternoon was taken up with regional port reports.Day two opened under the heading of Internationalism and the relevance of unions in the international economic downturn.As I was on the agenda to speak in this session, I took the opportunity to thank the Maritime Union of Australia for their sup-port in the Napier dispute. I then went on to give a report on our recent dispute with the Port of Tauranga and our subsequent victory which ensured that our members in Tauranga were not re-placed with non-Union labour just because the Port of Tauranga could not resolve their issues with NZL.After morning smoko on day two we had a panel presentation under the heading of Community Campaigning.Various speakers spoke on community is-sues and the support unions have received from their communities when in disputes.Also in this session we had an excellent presentation from Willie Adams of the ILWU.

    Willie spoke on the world economy, indus-trial relations, the protest against wars and the recent political campaign in the USA.The last session on day two was under the heading of Industrial Relations including the Industrial Relations system, current negotiations, bargaining in the cur-rent environment, forward with fairness, the future of Industrial Relations, and the impact of legislation.Joe Fleetwood spoke on this panel and on New Zealands Industrial Relations laws. The campaign around our support for the Labour Party in the General Elections, New Zealands free trade agreements, sale of public assets, tax cuts and casualisation.The last speaker on day two was Secre-tary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Workers Union Michelle ONeill.Michelle spoke on wage rates within the industry that her members work in and on some of the problems that her members are facing.Day three opened under the heading of Unions Working Together in Western Australia including Unions Working To-gether, the Ten Point Plan, Hydrocarbons Campaign, and joint campaigning between unions.All the panel speakers spoke with pas-sion on the importance of unions working together.It was in this session that we had a Veter-ans report which identified all the good work that the MUA Veterans have done especially in support of picket lines.After smoko on day three we had a session under the heading of Growth including building capacity, growth campaigns, and organising.Speakers in this session spoke at length on how they are growing the Union member-ship.After lunch on the last day the conference addressed all the resolutions that had been debated in the earlier sessions of the conference.After the closing speeches we headed off from what was a very positive conference.

    INTERNATIONAL

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 11

    NEWS

    Plans for minimum wage referendumThe Maritime Union is backing moves for a referendum on boosting the minimum wage.Maritime Union of New Zealand spokes-person Victor Billot says the Union has of-fered its support for the proposed referen-dum put forward by the Unite Union.The Unite Union has submitted a request to the Clerk of the House for the right to petition for a referendum on raising the minimum wage to two-thirds of the aver-age wage.The proposed wording would read Should the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour and then in steps over the next three years until it reaches two-thirds of the average ordinary time hourly rate as recommended by the 1973 Royal Commis-sion into Social Security and the Interna-tional Labour Organisation?Mr Billot says the problems of low wage work and casualization were serious problems for New Zealand and needed to be sorted out.He says the spiralling costs of basic goods such as food and housing were putting many working families under immense pressure.We are basically looking at a substantial number of low waged workers in New Zealand doing necessary work, and con-tributing to society, who are being exploit-ed and used to prop up the economy for the benefit of employers.Mr Billot says the proposed referendum would attract a groundswell of support from workers.People are sick of seeing a small elite enrich themselves while others have to struggle with poverty wages.The Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch of the Maritime Union has already passed a resolution supporting the concept of the referendum at its February 2009 stopwork meeting.

    National Governments 90 Day Serfdom Lawby Peter Harvey President, Mount Maunganui Tauranga Branch It strikes me like something out of a bad comedy watching the National-led Gov-ernments selling changes to our employ-ment laws as for the benefit of working people. The last time this happened was in the early 1990s when the then National led Government was in the process of enacting the Employment Contracts Act. Workers were told at that time that the Act would give them the increased flexibility they yearned for to bargain directly with their employers for mutually agreed contracts. Of course many workers who remember that time would not agree that that was the outcome. Now workers are being told that by empowering employers with the right to dismiss them at will within the first ninety days of employment (in certain enter-prises) this will create more job opportuni-ties in the labour market. This is a twisted piece of Tory logic, it doesnt sit well with the high levels of employment we have enjoyed over the last few years with-out this policy. The reasons given by the Government and employers for the taking away of such essential worker rights are equally fallacious. Apparently there is an army of ex new workers out there that have risked lawyer fees, court costs and been able to hoodwink employment court judges into awarding them big payouts for what were frivolous personal grievance cases. Of course that is fantasy but it is what the Government and employers would have us believe. So now along with other changes to the Employment Relations Act, New Zealand worker rights begin the slippery slide down to those suffered by our brother workers in countries governed by the more oppressive regimes. The New Zea-land Trade Union Movement has of course already begun the fight to prevent these changes from becoming established and accepted as the norm in our workplaces. In the meantime though the message the new law sends to all workers is clear - dont need the job too much, keep your head down no matter how bad the job gets, dont even think about joining a Trade Union, we dont want to hear a squeak out of you.

    Maritime Union named in police spy caseThe Maritime Union is looking at legal action after newspaper investigations revealed the Union had been spied on.Emails released to the media in December 2008 revealed how a paid police informer was providing information to the Special Investigations Group (SIG) of the New Zealand Police on a number of legitimate organizations.The Maritime Union was one of a number of unions reportedly named in emails about union actions sent by police in-former Rob Gilchrist to his handler in the Special Investigation Group.Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Maritime Union believes an inquiry is required and is looking for an apology from Police.He says the spying actions discriminate against union members and have dam-aged the reputation of the Union, as well as intruding on privacy.We want to find out just what informa-tion is being held and the reason behind our Union being targeted.He says the weak response of the Govern-ment has been disturbing, and if the Police had nothing to hide, they would not object to an inquiry.If the police are serious about tracking groups who threaten the wellbeing of ordinary New Zealanders, would they pay informers to spy on employer groups wanting to attack wages and conditions?Who exactly decides who goes on the spy list, who authorizes these decisions, and what accountability and procedures do such special investigations have to ensure they are not corrupt or politically biased?

  • 12 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    NEWS

    Wellington seafarer Jack Thompson (with Palestinian flag) and Wellington Seafarers Branch Secretary Joe Fleetwood at the Free Palestine March to Parliament in January 2009

    A first planeload of humanitarian supplies for the people of Gaza touched down in Egypt in January 2009 as part of a trade union relief operation.An Airbus of emergency supplies was organised and loaded by Jordans General Trade Union of Workers in Air Transport and Tourism with the support of the ITF.Containing three ambulances, medical supplies, food and water, for distribution in Gaza by the Red Crescent, the aircraft was made available free for the flight by Royal Jordanian Airlines.ITF Representative for the Arab World Bilal Malkawi, who was on the airplane which he and Jordanian trade unionists helped load, reported: Weve collected what was most urgently requested by medics in Gaza. Mostly non-perishable items examination tables, beds, wheel-chairs, swabs, casts and splints for broken limbs. Plus bottled water, milk for babies, rice, wheat, and childrens food.The international trade union movement, including the ITF, ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), and the Palestinian and Jordanian trade union congresses (PGFTU and GFJTU) have all backed a call for trade unions to sponsor humanitarian relief aid to Gaza. Unions around the world have called for a ceasefire and condemned the bombing of Gaza in January 2009 by Israeli military forces.In response to calls for support from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and the International Trade Union Confederation, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions called on the New Zea-land Government to take practical actions including revoking the credentials of the Israeli ambassador and ensuring that the New Zealand government does not make use of Israeli products or services in its procurement provisions.CTU President Helen Kelly said these actions were similar to those taken by the Government in relation to Fiji and are an appropriate and proportionate response to the totally disproportionate actions of Israel against the people of Gaza.Families in Gaza are the poorest in the Middle East and have nowhere to hide from these attacks. They are not only los-ing their lives but also the limited work opportunities that do exist are being destroyed, she said. New Zealand is a long way away from this conflict, but we can make a real differ-ence through these actions and in doing so, we make it clear to Israel that they must leave the occupied territories and work for peace in the region if they want interna-tional relations with countries like ours.

    Unions react to Gaza catastrophe:Humanitarian aid, calls for ceasefire and denouncement of disproportionate response

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 13

    NEWS

    Women keeping watch on working rightsWorking women must be vigilant that their quest for parity and opportunity in the workplace does not fall victim to the recession, CTU President Helen Kelly says. Speaking to mark International Working Womens Day on 8 March, Kelly said that unions everywhere are very concerned about how the economic crisis will impact on womens employment.The New Zealand Governments recent decision to suspend two enquiries into pay and employment equity for its own female employees is a very serious concern, said Helen Kelly. Well be keeping a very close eye on womens jobs and wont allow their work-ing conditions to go backwards.The International Trade Union Confed-eration (ITUC) reports that pay inequity worldwide is higher than official govern-ment figures suggest, and that women bear a disproportionate brunt of job losses in the recession. The ITUCs evidence showing that trade union membership leads to much better incomes for both women and men, as well as greater equity, confirming the vital role that unions must play in promoting fair treatment for women at work.

    Ports of Auckland must remain in public handsThe Maritime Union of New Zealand says that any proposal to privatize the Ports of Auckland would create a perfect storm of opposition.Maritime Union Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says those pushing the plan were people out of time.There is obviously a faction out there who want to bring back port privatization plans from the dead.Mr Carlisle says that the privatization strategy with the Ports of Auckland failed in the 1990s due to mass public opposi-tion and recent attempts to part-privatize the Ports of Lyttelton had also ended in failure.It seems bizarre at a time when the deregulation and privatization agenda has now been completely discredited globally, there are people who still want to continue on down the same old path.He says that the port has recently seen major productivity gains and to complain about reduced profits when the global economy was in crisis showed privatiza-tion proponents were out of touch with reality.Mr Carlisle says it was obvious that there were problems with the port system in New Zealand.These problems were due to lack of a national ports plan and regulation, leading to self-destructive competition and the casualization of the workforce, and privati-zation would only make matters worse.In the end analysis, the role of ports is to ensure the flow of goods to and from New Zealand, not as a cash cow for private investors looking for a quick buck.He says it made no sense for a small, maritime trade dependent nation like New Zealand to pass over control of its transport infrastructure to private interests whose only motive is short term profit.He says that if board members were not comfortable with the status of the Ports of Auckland they should clear out.

    A ferry good resultThe weeklong Manly Fast Ferry dispute was settled in February 2009, as Bass and Flinders management and the Maritime Union of Australia signed off on an agree-ment to raise both wages and safety for the Manly Fast Ferry.Its a win for commuters and a win for the workers, said MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Warren Smith. Commuters will get the insurance of a service that will maintain the highest com-munity and safety standards, the workers will get decent wages and conditions. Its all we ever wanted.However Mr Smith also called for the NSW government In future to give proper consideration to workers rights in tender-ing processes.Maritime workers and community sup-porters have been protesting the new service with picket numbers swelling to around 70 a day at Circular Quay.Under question was the company decision to bypass the union, cutting back on wages and safety conditions on the new service at the same time undermining the public ferry service. Negotiations broke down last week and the union has been mobilising supporters daily, raising safety and wage issues while urging commuters to give the new fast ferry a miss.Union officials and management met and agreed to work together, signing off on a heads of agreement, which includes com-mitment to a union collective agreement, guaranteed safe operating procedures and a 25 per cent pay rise for crew.The parties aim to finalise the agreement by March 31. All pickets and protests will stop while negotiations are under way.For more information, see www.mua.org.au

    Documentary makers seek old crew membersWe wish to hear from any one who may have been part of coastal steam ship crews in New Zealand during December 1956. We are particularly interested in crew members of the Koromiko and the Kopara that passed through East Coast ports during this period.

    If you can help, please email or call us on the number below.Many thanks,Scott BainbridgeEmail [email protected] Ltd09 303 3339 EXT 303

  • 14 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    NEWS

    Where theres smoke, theres fireThe Roger Award 2008 has gone to British American Tobacco NZ Ltd (BAT), who beat out stiff competition from Rio Tinto Aluminium NZ Ltd for top place.Its a prize you dont want to win and a nightmare for corporate public relations managers.The annual Roger award goes to the worst transnational corporation operating in New Zealand. The award is organized by the Campaign Against the Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and was announced at an Auck-land event on 2 March 2009.Judges included economist Geoff Bertram, past President of the Methodist Church Brian Turner, RMTU life member Paul Corliss, Nurses Organization industrial manager Cee Payne, Banks Peninsula writer Christine Dann, and former Waikato University vice chancellor Bryan Gould.Other finalists for the Roger included ANZ, Contact Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, Infratil, McDonalds, and Telecom. A special Accomplice Award went to Busi-ness New Zealand.The winner has to be a transnational (a corporation which is 25% or more foreign-owned) which has the worst record for Economic Dominance, treatment of peo-ple, environment damage and political interference.The judges noted that BAT product kills 5,000 people every year and ruins the lives of tens of thousands. It perennially refuses to take responsibility for the social and economic consequences of its activity, while maintaining a major public relations effort to subvert the efforts of the Govern-ment to reduce cigarette consumption. Rio Tinto Aluminium was runner up be-cause of its single act of political intimida-tion, threatening to close the Bluff smelter if the former Governments proposed emissions trading scheme went ahead. More information available at www.cafca.org.nz

    New US labour laws would help union rightsWorkers in the US are backing the new Employee Free Choice Act so that other workers are able to benefit from union rights in the workplace. The act is due to be considered by the US Congress later this year.Teamster Union member Fred Hargrove, who has worked for UPS Freight, formerly Overnite Transportation, for more than 20 years, mainly without union backing, spoke at a press conference in Raleigh, North Carolina in February. Teamsters Local 391 and other labour, religious and community groups held the meeting to express support for the EFCA and to challenge an event hosted by an anti-labour coalition, involving big business, which is fighting the pro-worker legislation.My brothers and sisters wanted to be in a union, Hargove said. Overnite did everything they could to keep us from organising, but UPS Freight was the exact opposite. With a card-check agreement and no management standing in our way, we quickly joined the Teamsters in a mat-ter of weeks.Our wages, benefits and work rules are all improved because we could finally join the union, he said. Now I want other workers to have the same opportunity, without having to wait 20 years to do it. The Employee Free Choice Act will pro-vide that opportunity.Let us be clear said Jack Cipriani, In-ternational Vice President and Local 391 President. These big business groups that are fighting the Employee Free Choice Act dont care about workers. All they care about is their ability to line their own pockets. Were going to keep on sharing the truth about the legislation.The Employee Free Choice Act would al-low for stronger penalties against employ-ers who violate workers rights when they attempt to form a union and during first contract negotiations, provide mediation and arbitration for first contract disputes and allow workers to form unions by sign-ing cards authorising representation.For more information http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/3085

    Send it in.We want to hear from members about what they want to see in the Maritimes magazine.Its your magazine.Were looking for photos and news tips from members.Get in touch to tell us if there is something youd like to see in the Maritimes.

    Mail PO Box 27004, Wellington, New Zealand Email [email protected]

    Fax (09) 9251125

    Mobile 021482219

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 15

    NEWS

    By Tim Hunter The Commerce Commissions prosecution of 13 airlines for alleged extensive and long-term cartel activity in air cargo, ie. price fixing, looks like a robust defence of market principles by the government.It is nothing of the sort.Right under the noses of regulators cartel activity is going on that makes the air car-go trade look like tiddlywinks, but nothing is done about it. Why? Because its legal.In the year to June, airlines carried $14 bil-lion worth of New Zealands international trade, comprising $5.5b of exports and $8.5b of imports. That trade earned airlines about $400 million, according to the Commerce Com-mission. Over the seven years the cartel operated, air cargo revenue was worth $2.9b, it said.In its statement on Tuesday, the commis-sion said the alleged airline cartel will have caused extensive harm to the New Zealand economy. New Zealand is a long way from its overseas markets and so the harm to our economy and our ability to compete internationally will have been dispropor-tionately greater than in other jurisdictions in which the conduct took place.Many New Zealand businesses and every consumer will have been directly affected by the increased air freight costs over many years.

    It will have resulted in increased costs for exporters and importers and higher over-all prices for many consumer goods.There are several ways the cartel was said to operate a key one was by agreeing to impose surcharges on fuel. As commission chairman Paula Rebstock commented at the press conference, if surcharges were genuinely a cost recovery measure there would be no need to discuss them with competitors.While the financial cost to New Zealand was difficult to estimate, she said overseas studies suggested cartels tended to raise prices by 10-20%.By that figure, the alleged air cartel could have cost New Zealand businesses at least $300m over the seven years.Aircraft, however, carry just a fraction of New Zealands international trade. In the year to June, $70.4 billion worth of goods were shipped by sea five times the amount going by air. Thats $35.3b of exports and $35.1b of imports.Sea cargo is therefore much more impor-tant for our merchandise trade than air cargo. Yet sea freight is dominated by cartels that blatantly fix fuel surcharges. Known in the trade as the bunker adjustment factor, or BAF, one particular surcharge is a signifi-cant cost for businesses shipping goods in and out of New Zealand.

    According to one shipping industry source, several BAF increases this year have added a total $US400 ($690) per 20ft container to freight prices. Those BAF increases pay for the entire fuel used by the ship coming down from Europe. Its profit, undoubtedly. The shipping lines are absolutely creaming it.Yet despite the importance of sea freight to New Zealand and the potentially huge burden of price fixing, parliament in 1987 specifically exempted inwards and out-wards sea freight from the anti-competi-tive provisions of the Commerce Act.The law was perfunctorily revisited in 1996 when then-transport minister Mau-rice Williamson was advised that there was no pressing reason for change, and there were very good reasons why any review should be delayed.Nothing has been done about it since.Some provisions of the Shipping Act 1987 cover abuse of power by shipping com-panies, but these are so limp-wristed they make Liberace look like John Wayne.So when we see the Commerce Commis-sion targeting airlines its worth reflect-ing on the foibles of legislation. Clearly, airlines just didnt lobby hard enough for special treatment.This article originally appeared in the Sunday Star Times on Sunday, 21 December 2008, and is reproduced with kind permission.

    Price fixing? The regulators are all at sea

    Photo by Jef Poskanzer licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

  • 16 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    FEATURES

    by Paul Staggers Saggers MUNZ 1446, NZSU 2682Built from one kauri log, the last of her kind, the Te Aroha is a hundred years old this year.MV Te Aroha was built for the Wairoa and Mohaka Shipping Company by T.M. Lane and Sons of Totara North in 1909.Te Aroha was purchased by Richardsons and Company in 1913, and was one of the many vessels that provided the only means of communication between Napier and northern Hawkes Bay.In 1916 the Wairoa Farmers Co-operative Meat Company built a freezing works in Wairoa. Te Aroha was insulated for the carriage of frozen meat and along with the scows Koau and Echo shipped up the whole output of the Wairoa Freezing Works.In 1928 she was sold to the Anchor Ship-ping Company of Nelson who employed her in their trade from Nelson bays and ports to Wellington, Wanganui, the West Coast and Lyttelton.In 1933 the Te Aroha was bought by the Karamea Shipping Company to replace the illfated Fairburn which had sunk on the Buller River bar.For the next 48 years the Te Aroha served Nelson bays and ports and Wellington and crossed Cook Strait more than 10 000 times.

    Tim Phipps (aka The Arab), who was an ex-Rail Ferry mate as you may remem-ber, purchased the Te Aroha in 1976. In 1979 the Te Aroha was sailed to Auckland where she was sold to the Aotea Shipping Company. They carried out major refit and changes to convert her from a cargo ship to a passenger charter vessel.She is now lying alongside in Whangarei and owned by ex member and now MUA member Gordon Snowdrops Snowden.I and many others started our seatime on scows and auxiliary scooners like the Te Aroha, Portland and Echo.Many other vessels before my time include the Pearl Casper and Oban.They are now gone, along with the sailors who sailed on them.There are many Kiwi seamen who owe their worldly goods, livelihoods and regu-lar income to these small wooden ships that gave them a start in life at sea, some of them going on to become foreign going masters.Even watersiders received regular work at New Zealand ports thanks to regular calls from these old wooden ships.Recently I came back from Whangarei as a guest of Snowdrops Gordon Snowden, now owner of the Te Aroha, with the inten-tion of purchasing the vessel myself.

    100 year odyssey:A History of the Schooner Te Aroha

    I thought it might be nice to own, there cant be many seamen that own the first ship they worked on.Soon after arriving on board the Te Aroha I realized what a big job I was taking on, financially and maintainence wise.Gordon and I agreed that she needs to go to a trust, as shes too much for one person to take on.When she was a cargo vessel she had a captain, a chief engineer, two able seamen and two deck boys to maintain her and keep her seaworthy.Its important to keep this historical vessel going, lets not have the attitude of a lot of people today and see this taonga (treasure) made into a kauri table or a piece of furni-ture another part of New Zealand history gone forever.The Te Aroha is 100 years old and going strong but needs some love and care. If you have any ideas or input or finance to keep her going into the next century com-rades, please get in contact with me.StaggersPaul Saggers72 Grove Street, NelsonPhone 021643206

    MUNZ members visiting the Te Aroha from the YeoTide (in background), from left, John Brown, Staggers and Russell Alexander

    The Te Aroha today

    The Te Aroha carried 2000 mutton carcasses from Wairoa Works to Napier each day in 1918

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 17

    FEATURES

    by Victor BillotFormer Pacifica worker Matthew Smith has built a scale model of the recently re-tired Pacifica vessel Spirit of Competition.The model is 70% complete and as can be seen in the accompanying photograph is of a high standard of workmanship.I would like ex crew if they read the Maritimes to see that I did build a model of the ship after speaking about it years ago, he says.Matt, formerly of Lyttelton, has lived in Sydney for five years now.I knew a lot of seaman with Pacifica and at Milburn Cement. I work as a chef and cook. I used to help the guys out on the ships at Pacifica from 1995-2000 to get lots of work experience and that made me go to Tech in 2000.He says he is glad the Spirit of Competi-tion crew have gone to a new ship, but sad about how the wharfies who worked the ship have been treated.

    Ex-Kiwi makes it big in modelling

    The model is scale 1/100, and he started to build the model end of November 2008.The hull is made up of 5mm balsa wood for frames then covered with 2mm balsa for hull plating.The hull was coated with sanding sealer and filler, then Matt used the correct paints for hull.Matt chose the blue as the underwater hull as he thought it looks good and he has photos of the ship in drydock with blue on the hull.The model was built using ships plans from Pacifica Shipping, general arrange-ment plan and hull lines plan.Any questions or comments for Matt can be emailed to [email protected]

    Matthew Smith with his scale model of the Spirit of Competition

    First Asia Pacific Regional Offshore Task Force Group (OTFG) Meets in Bali The Asia Pacific Regional Offshore Task Force Group (OTFG) held its inaugural meeting at the Bali Seamens Club in Sa-nur, Bali on 4 November 2008. The birth of the regional group was a result of an earlier meeting held in Ciudad Del Carmen, Mexico in October 2008, where the ITF OTFG agreed to the setting up of three regional groups; one represent-ing the Americas, another representing Europe and the third representing Asia Pacific, to continue the work of the Task Force in between annual meetings of the Main Group. Among the affiliates that participated in this first regional group meeting was SMOU, which represented Singapore. Other affiliates included Indonesia, Timor Leste, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and Norway. After the election of the Chairman for the group, Mr Mick Doleman, discussions focused on the issues in the Asia Pacific, potential new members of the group and action-plan to be taken including closer ties with International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers Unions (ICEM) affiliates. A report on the Timor Leste situation was also delivered. The group agreed that they would utilise the ITFs website to maintain efficient com-munications, disseminate information and encourage dialogue. Following the Asia Pacific Regional OTFG meeting in Bali, members of the group went full swing into action to meet with the Minister for Labour and the Minister for Natural Resources in Timor Leste. The intention was to further the work in the area for the establishment of a task force with government and union involve-ment to work together to fund training and employment opportunities for Timor-ese transport and maritime workers. The meeting concluded successfully with the Minister for Natural Resources agree-ing to hold a seminar on 23-24 February 2009. Reprinted from SeaVoices, bimonthly publication of the Singapore Maritime Officers Union and Wavelink Cooperative

  • 18 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    RANK AND FILE REPORT

    by Darrin Beazley Local 13My father Norman Beazley was a steve-dore for thirty-four years. Even though it has been twenty-seven years since his early demise, the core values that he em-phasized, hard work, family and education still resonate in my life. In our house, real men played league, we always had a veggie garden, Michael Sav-age was worshipped, and a healthy diet consisted of seven boil ups per week. He was Union to the core and was on the frontline in the 51 lockout. I am ashamed to admit now that I am a Seagull* that those workers rights they fought for have since been eroded and sadly Seagulls today in many aspects are worse off than ever before. If you dont know your past you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Seagulls now are waiting for phones calls for shifts which is no different to those who begged for work outside the gates during the 1930s Depression. Once Seagulls were on the same rate as the permanents. The management of steve-dore companies has always been combat-ive, treating us as faceless numbers and putting profits first. However this article is not about attacking the four Auckland stevedore companies as they dont control the amount or when the ships come in to port. Instead its about the many difficulties that Seagulls face and why we endure them. The men and women who ply their trade on the wharves are a special breed. They sometimes work mentally and physicaliy exhausting sixteen-hour days in atrocious weather with low pay rates (it was $13 per hour until the beginning of this year). We have dramatically fluctuating pay-checks which could be brilliant one week and pathetic for the next three weeks. We are especially proud of our safety record in what is a very dangerous work-ing environment. It is not uncommon for workers to find themselves standing on top of boxes three high in ferocious electri-cal storms. Except for me, because I have such an intense phobia of heights that I get dizzy wearing my pink high heel shoes.

    Another problem with being a Seagull is that it takes many years to gain a promo-tion to become a permanent worker with the security and basic benefits like sick leave, which is something most Kiwi workers take for granted. Only one out of approximately seventy-five of our Seagulls got picked up this year for permanent work. Compound this with a dramatically declining dollar value due to the escalat-ing cost of essentials such as food, fuel, rent and beer. The result is high stress and astoundingly low morale. Due to these types of issues there is a medium turnover of Seagulls and only the hardest survive (not strictly true because Im still there and Im soft as butter. )Like any job, nothing beats experience so some of the best workers are forced to leave because it is impossible to house and feed your families when you only gain two or three shifts a week. Every industry needs those who know how to perform multiple tasks automatically. The diverse nature of our cargos make the job interesting. Many times it is like a giant jigsaw puzzle placing cargo in the holds. Driving new or powerful vehicles off ships can be awesome but personally I find car-ships mundane. We speak our own language too. For an example, a foreman may tell us there are 10 20 reefers that are DLR on the aft starboard tween. My kryptonite is lashing up, lifting heavy chains and putting on twitches makes me blonde (confused) so I just go fishing instead. We have elevated mocking to a art form with no-one immune from the foreman down. We laugh so much that I wear nappies. So many hilarious events have occurred in my life as a Seagull. I will only give two examples because what happens on the wharves stays on the wharves. A person who drove a car off a car ship but the ramp was on the lower level so he wrote the car off is an example, or the idiot who filled a white jumpsuit with paper and hung it from the roof. Someone thought that it was a suicide and called an ambulance.

    I got fired for that one but got reinstated because everyone said it wasnt his fault because he has the mental age of a three year old. Good times, good times. It would be remiss of me not to contrib-ute crucial counselling to alleviate our constant financial distress and sense of alienation from management. Seagulls should be able to work for other companies. Maybe even have a pool of workers. Consolidate the workers that we have instead of constantly bringing in new Seagulls. Train us to perform skilled jobs. Diversify so that we can do other jobs like selling firewood or vacuum cleaning the trucks. Stop changing the rules every week they dont make sense and are open for abuse with a prime example being Seagulls werent allowed to drive the company vehicles so we sat outside the base because there was no-one to drive us onto our ships. Run rule changes by us and give us details of the months shipping schedules. Make me the boss.Seagulls are proud, passionate profes-sionals. This is our career, or as in my case my last chance, because I am otherwise unemployable. (I cherish feeling the sun on my cheeks but am not allowed to work with no pants on.)There is a sensual, serene sense of satis-faction when we have turned our ships around. It can be exciting, fun, frustrating, and painfully boring in the same hour yet this is where I am meant to be because even though we come from many diverse nations we share an intense sense of com-radeship that is rare in other industries. We have each others backs. They are my brothers and sisters who I trust with my life but not my wife. This article took twenty drafts yet I will never be satisfied with the end result. It was composed to vent my anger from being broke five days a week, yet it reaf-firmed how much I love my vocation.

    * Editors note: for those outside the industry, seagull means a casual watersider.

    Seagulls fighting for crumbs

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 19

    RANK AND FILE REPORT

    Solidarity wins the day by Alf BoylePacific Titan arrived on the New Zea-land coast in late October 2008, into New Plymouth, for seismic work off the New Zealand coast.MUNZ members joined the vessel in New Plymouth on 26 October, relieving some MUA members when we joined.Upon joining the vessel, we were appalled to see the state of our shared bathroom and toilet facilities. A meeting was held with MUA and MUNZ members present, and it was voted that we pursue a hard laying claim of $70 per day per man, and request an overhaul and refurbishment of our bathroom and toilet facilities as soon as possible.A hard laying claim had been previously lodged by MUA in respect of this same issue.We were in port for at least a week after lodging our claim and requests, for mat-ters to be addressed and sorted.However, we never heard a bean, and the Master informed us on the Thursday afternoon that the ship was ready to sail at 0700hrs on Friday 7 November.

    On good advice from MUNZ and the MUA (thanks Joe and Chris), delegates Colin Wilson (MUNZ) and Nathan Bartlett (MUA) informed the Master that we would not be sailing until we were acknowledged and had the ships problems sorted out.We were approached by the Master on the Thursday night with offers of $20, then $35, and finally $50.Needless to say our members stuck to our guns with our original claim amount of $70, together with an assurance that our facilities would be sorted out as soon as possible.So we stuck it up, and hello, next minute the company is listening to us!After some good work by Chris Cain and Joe Fleetwood and the solidarity shown by the members on board, Swires came to the party and sorted matters out, allowing us to sail.A big thanks again to Joe Fleetwood and Chris Cain in winning this battle, and we hope that Swires have got the message, that we are not prepared to put up with the conditions on some of these old ships anymore.Unity is strength MUA and MUNZ members Pacific Titan.

    Pacific Titan

    An example of the unacceptable condition of facilities on Pacific Titan that led to the dispute

  • 20 | The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 www.munz.org.nz

    PORT ROUNDUPSUNION HISTORY

    by Allan Phillips NZSU 974, Life Member since 1985 On the 29 April 1974 I was asked to relieve Len Anderson in the Anzac Avenue Sea-mans Union rooms in Auckland until the 9 May 1974, holding the fort and running the corner during that time. As I was on the corner prior to this, I once again re-registered until receiving an urgent phone call on the afternoon of 21 May 1974 asking if I could take a pier head jump on the M.V. Lorena to relieve Alick McDonald, who being a sea going coun-ciller at the time was wanted urgently to attend a union meeting. I hadnt been up to the Islands since the S.S. Waihemo days so jumped at the chance and got down to the ship as soon as possible to find the crew finishing the deck cargo lashings ready for sea. Terepo Rahihi was bosun so it was good to renew his acquaintance. It was to be my first time to Niue and Aitutaki and also my first time alongside in Rarotonga. We had to call in to Raoul Island on the way back on 13 June 1974 to uplift the crew off a yacht that were stranded there. If I remember correctly there were two men and two women who had anchored their boat at Raoul Island to go visit the weather station, only to find on their return the anchor had dragged and there were only little bits and pieces strewn along the shore.

    The mate gave his cabin up to the women and the men had the hospital, while we made our way to Wellington where we ar-rived to press and television on the 16 June. We were in Onehunga on 24 June but didnt leave until 7 July, as a strike was called during that period. Harry Julian had originally purchased the Lorena but had sold it to the New Zealand National Line. She had already done a trip for the New Zealand Shipping Corporation before I joined her. During one of my early leave breaks I ran into John Kellaher (Rubber Lips), who be-ing married to a Raro girl, asked if I could take a parcel up to Rarotonga for her, to a Mrs Campbell, who I believe could have raised her. I duly took it up and Mrs Campbell came down to the ship to collect it, inviting me to go for a ride around the Island. We called at her home in Titikaveka for a cup of tea and I was intrigued to see on her front lawn two bronze signal cannons from a long ago wreck of a sailing ship. Mrs Campbell was a very nice old lady and I quite enjoyed the trip around the Island. After another trip to the Islands we were due for survey, so ended up on the Whangarei Slipway on 12 August 1974 for a couple of days. I went relieving Bosun on 22 August 1974 and about then we instigated a two-crew system, the first on the coast to do so.

    I remained bosun of one crew and Terepo Rahihi bosun of the other crew. Our motor-man then was Frank Liley who had been in the Navy with the then Kiwi fire chief at the Rarotonga Airport, so we got to know that crew pretty well. We had to take on water in Rarotonga so I jacked it up with the fire chief to bring a tanker load down. It was double filtered water at the airport as it had to be free of impurities in case of emergencies. That became a regular ritual every trip af-ter that. It was used as a fire crew practice. I guess one good tum deserved another, as I used to take potatoes and onions up for them - they were pretty expensive to purchase locally. On 7 September 1974, we met the assist-ant fire chief, John Rennie, over at Aitutaki and he took us for a tour around in their local four-wheel drive. We went up to the highest point, which still had some rem-nants of the American wartime defence gun emplacements. Aitutaki lagoon was a Catalina P.B.Y. base during the war. As we were going back to Rarotonga to change over engineers, John, the assistant fire chief, came back over with us. One of my old mates had come back to sea after a spell ashore running a hash foun-dry. Id known Terry Veale for years and we got on well together. One of the local identities we ran into at the Banana Court, Max by name, used to lend us his old bomb of a car every trip. Wed

    Wheelbarrows for Rarotonga an interlude from my sea-going career

    MV Lorena departing Onehunga for Rarotonga 20 November 1976

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | Autumn 2009 | 21

    UNION HISTORY

    leave it full of gas for him as payment plus a few shouts at the Banana Court. It sure was an old bomb the battery was jammed in with a coconut. One trip Terry and I went around to pick it up at his home and Terry couldnt get it started. Old Max pushed it out muttering to him-self, fired it up and it being in gear he dis-appeared through the back of the so called carport and was lost to view in the jungle behind. Talk about laugh, we both cracked up, it was like a scene out of a movie. During those times we used to go out to Sonny Gillands place at Titikaveka. He was a cousin of Terepo Rahihis and had gone to New Zealand. He actually finished up as a foreman of Fisher and Paykel the last I heard, but we used to use his private beach for swim-ming and barbecuing. I dont think Sonny has even been back to Rarotonga. When I visited a couple of years ago you couldnt see what was left of the house for the overgrown jungle. We used to take a full load to Rarotonga every trip. They would block stow drums on deck and put cars on top. Someone botched up in Auckland one trip, because when it came to sailing time we couldnt house the cranes because of the way they had stowed the cars. We had to defer the sailing and get a gang back next morning to rearrange the cargo. The manoeuvering into the harbour in Rarotonga was a bit tricky. We used to have to drop the anchor abeam at the end of the wharf and payout about two or three shackles while steaming across the basin. Then wed heave the bow back on the anchor to get turned around facing the open sea ready to get out in a hurry if we had to. The local yacht club in those days raced a class of yacht called a sun-burst and we used to frequent there sometimes. They used to have the local horse races along the beach in the same area. David Peake even graced them with his presence in No-vember 1975 and gave an exhibition gallop for the benefit of the local boy jockeys. We were running out of Onehunga quite a bit so I got to know the Harbour Board waterman, Shorty MacGracecutt quite well. Ive recently run into him again - he is now living up the Mount overlooking Tairua Harbour. Len Ford who Id been a shipmate with before, was driving a fork-lift at Onehunga and possibly still is. Id been to sea with one of his other brothers and of course Billy Ford was an Auckland Watersider. As we were doing Rarotonga and Aitutaki regularly, we got to know some of the lo-cals in both places. Harold Brown had the local watering hole in Aitutaki. Whenever we used to go there, there always seemed to be an off duty mate or engineer with us who would take a radio telephone with them so we knew when the last barge of bananas would be going out to the ship.

    We had two days there on 12 and 13 No-vember 1974 and had been out to sea for some time when I received some sad news. As I was permanent 4 to 8 watch, Id been turned in for a while when Tony Thomp-son, the skipper, came down to say he had bad news for me. A cable had arrived to say my dad had died that day. It wasnt really a great shock as hed had a stroke way back in 1946, which had robbed him of speech and para-lysed his right side. Hed been able to walk with a stick but his right arm was useless. Hed spent twenty-eight years like that. There wasnt much I could do except send a cable back to apologise for not being able to be there.

    Some Leopards in the CabinI cant remember the date but one trip from Onehunga we were up for 2pm so most of us adjourned to the Manukau for a final wet-the-whistle. The wharfies were just topping off the after hatch, which necessitated breaking down the pallets of canned Leopard beer. Frank Lillys cabin porthole opened onto the foredeck and he jokingly said that if they couldnt get it all in the hatch, to throw it in through his porthole. When we got back just before 1pm the wharfies were all finished and gone. However, Frank found he couldnt get his cabin door open - theyd taken him literally and he had to finish up getting through the porthole to shift some of the cases of Leopard out of the way. I think everyones locker finished up with some cases in it that trip and we had a good Sunday barbecue on Sonny Gillands beach at Titikaveka. We had left Aitutaki on 5 July 1975, and by the time we had got down to the Kerma-decs, had struck the fringe of a tropical cyclone. We were really rolling our guts out. Sliding up and down in our bunks, standing up one minute then doing head stands the next. About 10pm all hands were put on the shake, as the steering flat was awash with seawater and was getting dangerously close to the electric motors. After bailing madly using the same prin-ciple as we had in the old Puriri, dumping the water down the tunnel escape, we got the water low enough to find that we didnt actually have a hole in the side. The cooling water pipe for the refrigerator had been fractured and the water was just pumping into the steering flat. In the midst of this panic Tony Thompson came down to get me. Arthur (Pervo) Smith had slipped off the boat deck ladder and landed on his head and was nearly off the side of the ship. Between us we managed to struggle with him down to his bunk, but sad to say, he ever regained con-sciousness and died early the next morn-ing. We had been heading for Onehunga but diverted to Auckland, arriving there on 13 July 1974.

    Dave Clarke was in office then and was waiting on the wharf to hear the details. His brother Ben was in the crew then and I think Ken Stevenson had been Arthurs room-mate. Frank Lilly the motor man had plugged Arthur up, having learnt the procedure whilst in the Navy.

    Pineapple deliveryWe were back in Rarotonga on 13 Novem-ber 1975 and, after discharging the cargo, we proceeded to Mangaia on 18 November for a full load of pineapples destined for the cannery in Rarotonga. It was quite a tricky operation. As we drove the cranes we found with the swell that the bins would get quite a swing on. It was a matter of dropping them into the hatch quickly then steadying them on the side of the hatch before lowering them. Even so we ended up with pineapples all over the place. Needless to say quite a few ended up in our cabins and by the time we got back to Onehunga on 28 November, they were nice and ripe for eating. We used to buy quite a lot of canned fruit and Raro orange juice direct from the factory, usually at a cheap rate for dam-aged cartons. Greggs were to pull out of Rarotonga later and theres now a local brewery in part of the old juice factory. On the end of the wharf at Rarotonga in those days, was a little canteen run by Co-lin Scotts wife. Colin had a fish and chip place near the picture theatre, which only opened late afternoons and was usually run by others in the family.