1Issue 14 July 2006 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New
Zealand ISSN 1176-3418
Stranded in paradise: how overseas crews are being ripped
offMethyl Bromide Keep Our Port Public Kill the 90 Day Bill
TrainingPort Roundups ITF Actions Union history International
2The Maritime Union has received international support for its
recent industrial action in Whangarei.
The action has gained the interna-tional support of the Japanese
maritime unions who have backed up New Zea-land unionists in the
best traditions of international solidarity.
Maritime Union members picketed at the port of Whangarei on
Thursday 1 June to protect secure local jobs.
The action happened after stevedores NZL Group bypassed
permanent local labour and employed casual workers to load
kiwifruit bound for Tokyo on the Greek owned, Antiguan flagged
vessel Saronic Wave.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand informed our fellow unions in
Japan with the help of the International Trans-port Workers
When the ship arrived in Tokyo, it was met with a delegation
from the Japanese Seamans Union and the Japa-nese dockers union
The delegation of eight persons handed protest letters to the
master of the vessel and asked him to inform the company that
Japanese unions insisted current bona-fide dockers be used to work
their ship in New Zealand ports.
Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 President Denis Carlisle
says the action has received the support of maritime unions in
Japan and Australia, as well as the International Transport Workers
The issue is about whether local workers will have job security,
decent wages and conditions, says Mr Carlisle.
What we have seen in the industry is a concerted attempt by some
Japanese unions offer solidarity to New Zealand maritime
ers to try to knock the bottom out of the industry by picking up
inexperienced, casual labour which they move around the
Mr Carlisle says in the end everyone is a loser with
It is the small-minded, short-term approach, because eventually
you get to a point where there is no group of qual-ity, reliable
skilled workers anywhere, and then you will have a crisis in the
industry. But the employers who caused it will never take the
The stevedoring company, NZL Group, was formed recently as a
result of Dubai Ports selling off P&O operations in both the
ports of Auckland and Tauranga.
The company had reached an under-standing with the union that it
would have the right to take bonafide wharfies to Whangarei from
either its Auckland or Tauranga operations, with local members
filling any shortfall in labour requirements.
However, it later breached that understanding by using
non-Maritime Union members.
ITF Assistant Dockers Section Secre-tary, Sharon James, said the
local wharf-ies were professionals who had worked at the port
diligently without complaint from any other port user for
There is no justification for this ac-tion and if companies are
not careful, the race for rock bottom labour costs will compromise
safety and security in the longer term.
She also urged affiliated unions to sup-port the Maritime Union
through what-ever legal means were available to them.
Members of the Japanese Union delegation aboard the Saronic Wave
in Tokyo, 13 June 2006, (left to right) Mr Kunihiro Hanaoka
(Secretary of the Tokyo Port Federation of Dock Workers Unions), Mr
Taisuke Koguchi (Secretary, Council of Dock Workers Unions of
Tokyo), and Mr Shigeru Fujiki (ITF Inspector of Japan,
Members of the Japanese Union delegation aboard the Saronic Wave
in Tokyo, 13 June 2006, talk to the master of the vessel.First on
left Mr Shoji Yamashita (ITF Co-ordinator of Japan, JSU), fourth
from left Mr Fusao Ohori (ITF Inspector of Japan, JSU)
Members of the Japanese Union delegation on the Saronic Wave in
Tokyo, Japan, (front row, left to right), Kwang-Chon Lee, JSU
trainee from Korean Special Seafarers Union (KSSU), Mr Shigeru
Fujiki, Mr Shoji Yamashita, (back row, left to right) Mr Fusao
Ohori, Mr Kentaro Uchida (ITF Flag of Convenience Campaign
Assistant, JSU), three crew members, and Mr Taisuke Koguchi
3The MaritimesEdition 14, July 2006
ContentsJapanese unions support maritime workers
................................ 2Trevor Hanson Report
............... 3Phil Adams Report ................... 5Whangarei
picket .................... 6Drug & alcohol
policy................ 7Methyl Bromide ...................... 7Kill
the 90 day Bill ................... 8Letters
................................. 9Keep Our Port Public
................ 10Union History ......................... 12ITF
Dockers Conference ............. 14Fred Salelea Training Report
....... 15Overseas Crews ....................... 16ITF Report
............................. 18Port Roundups
........................ 20Branch Contacts ......................
28Obituaries ............................. 29Book reviews
.......................... 30French job law thrown out .........
31The Back Page ........................ 32
The Maritimes is the official national magazine of the Maritime
Union of New Zealand, published quarterly.
National Office:PO Box 27004WellingtonNew ZealandTelephone 04
3850 792Fax 04 3848 766Email: [email protected]:
Edited and designed by Victor BillotEmail:
Editorial Board: Trevor Hanson, Phil Adams, Joe Fleetwood
Front cover photos:(top) Port Chalmers member Alan Middleditch
works on Big Blue, the new crane (photo by Peter McIntosh, courtesy
of the Otago Daily Times)(bottom) Crew members of the Ukrainian
joint venture fishing trawler Malakhov Kurgan protest for fair
wages at the Port of Lyttelton, May 2006 (photo courtesy of the
Disturbing future under free trade
by Trevor Hanson General Secretary
2006 continues to be a busy time in the maritime in-dustry as
workers face a number of serious issues.
Port issuesThe instability of our ports has been
a continuing problem, with the Southern Cross restructuring and
the continuing talk from port owners and managers about port
Both of these issues are reported on in this issue of the
Maritimes, including the campaign to keep ports in public
Our concern is that the kind of ag-gressive competition we have
seen in the port industry has been having predict-able results.
Rather than a planned and organized system to ensure stable
workflows and an efficient industry, the ongoing dog eat dog style
capitalism in the industry is producing bad outcomes.
The effect on job security is the most serious aspect for our
However, the problem is much wider.The Maritime Union believes
is time a national strategy for ports is put in place, as part
of a wider Transport and Infrastructure plan.
If the rationalization of ports is left to market forces we will
once again be left in a position where there are few winners and
many losers and control of the industry will remain in the hands of
self-interested and short-term opera-tors.
This is not an option.The Union has also faced situations
where local unionized labour has been threatened in recent
Whangarei members with the support of Auckland Branch Local 13
picketed the Port of Whangarei recently to protect local jobs and
the Union has received support from our Australian and Japanese
A full report on this situation can be found later in this issue
of the Mari-times.
GATS and Free TradeThe Maritime Union has been put-
ting a lot of work into finding out what will happen to jobs and
working condi-tions under free trade agreements.
We have recently had some success. After substantial lobbying
and public-ity, we have managed to get assurances from the
Government that maritime services will no longer be a bargaining
chip in free trade negotiations.
Basically this has reduced the poten-tial for short-term, casual
labour being imported to undercut wages and condi-tions in our
In general, we disagree with the idea of free trade, and we are
disappointed the Government seem to be completely sold on it.
The problems with the free trade system and its effects on
working conditions have not been given enough attention.
The concern of the Union is specifi-cally that the conditions of
employment we take for granted may be swept away.
There is also the danger of the New Zealand economy being
further priva-tized and under the control of global
Once New Zealand has signed up to free trade agreements, there
is no escape clause.
Any country that signs up to free trade agreements will suffer
severe eco-nomic penalties if in the future we want to get out of
The sad fact is most people in New Zealand have no idea what
free trade agreements mean which is hardly surprising since the
public is completely excluded from any debate or input into this
Free trade is simply another name for the free market policies
that caused so much harm to working people in New Zealand, but this
time on the inter-national level.
The Maritime Union will continue to question the so-called
benefits of free trade, and supports the promotion of international
trade based on fairness, equality and the rights of workers to
safe, secure and wellpaid jobs.
[continued on next page]
4National OfficeTelephone: 04 3850 792Fax: 04 3848 766Address:
PO Box 27004, WellingtonOffice administrator: Valentina GorayEmail:
General Secretary: Trevor HansonDirect dial: 04 801 7614Mobile:
021 390585Email: [email protected]
National President: Phil AdamsDirect dial: 03 4728 052Mobile:
0274 377601Email: [email protected]
Contact the Maritime UnionNational Vice President: Joe
FleetwoodMobile: 021 364649Email: [email protected]
Assistant General Secretary: Terry RyanMobile: 021 1866643Email:
ITF Inspectorate: Kathy WhelanDirect dial: 04 801 7613Mobile:
021 666405Email: [email protected]
Communications Officer: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Email:
The Maritime Union has been help-ing the crew of the Malakhov
Kurgan, a Ukrainian-owned fishing vessel laid up in Lyttelton.
The vessel was part of a joint ven-ture with New Zealand owned
The crew had not paid been what they were owed, in the view of
In conjunction with the Community Law Centre in Christchurch we
have been working with the crew to get a re-sult, and as the
Maritimes goes to print we can report that the remaining crew have
been made a suitable payment.
However this incident is just a symp-tom of the wider disease
the fact that sections of the fishing industry are con-tinuing to
exploit overseas crews while local fishermen are leaving the
industry as wages plummet.
The Maritime Union has been fol-lowing two other incidents that
have occurred in recent months onboard the fishing vessels Marinui
and Sky 75.
This issue of the Maritimes reports on these incidents as
If the industry is not going to clean up their act on their own,
they will have to be made to.
Like the rest of the maritime indus-try, they have one interest:
Workers rights, wages, conditions, the future of the industry,
the marine en-vironment, are not really their concern.
The Union is continuing to put pres-sure on the Department of
Labour and the Government to get the situation sort-ed out before
we continue further down the path of Third World conditions for
workers in New Zealand waters.
There is a simple answer: regulation and enforcement.
Methyl BromideThe Maritime Union is financially
contributing to a class action on Methyl Bromide poisoning taken
by former Nelson member Ian Street who is still suffering the
effects of inhaling Methyl Bromide seven years ago.
We have details on this later in this issue of the
National ExecutiveThe National Executive of the Mari-
time Union met in Wellington on the 1517 May and discussed a
wide range of current issues facing our Union.
These included issues such as Southern Cross Stevedoring, methyl
bromide, free trade, the Keep Our Port Public campaign, drug and
alcohol policy, union education, union commu-nications,
international meetings and solidarity actions, a finance committee
report, and reports from all branches around New Zealand.
We were fortunate to have Maritime Union of Australia Assistant
Secretary Rick Newlyn attending the meeting.
Rick was present for our discussions and also gave an
interesting report on the political and industrial situation in
The attendance of a high level official such as Rick at our
meeting is an indica-tion of how seriously both our Unions take our
Trans Tasman Federation, and is an excellent indication of our
growing ties in the Pacific region and the wider global Union
90 Day BillThe Maritime Union with all our
unions has been concerned about the in-troduction of a 90 day
bill by National Party MP Wayne Mapp into Parliament.
This bill is an indication of where National wants to take
industrial rela-tions. In essence it allows a new em-ployee to be
sacked in the first 90 days of employment with no reason
It is another step towards job insecu-rity and is really a
The potential results would be pre-dictable especially in an
industry like ours with aggressive employers.
The Union is opposing the Bill and we ask all our members to
alert their friends and family of the dangers of this type of law
should a National Govern-ment ever be re-elected.
The Maritime Union notes that when workers in France were
recently faced by a similar attempt to make their jobs less secure,
they took to the streets by the million and stopped the whole thing
in its tracks.
It is time that we followed their example and stood up for our
right to job security.
Update: Southern Cross Stevedoring
The Maritime Union is still negotiating with Southern Cross
Stevedoring on their proposed restructuring.
Redundancies are expected in Lyttel-ton and Mount Maunganui, but
5Secure jobs and good conditions are won by collective
The Maritimes is the official magazine of the Maritime Union of
All correspondence to: The Maritimes, PO Box 27004, Wellington,
Email [email protected]
Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters:
1 September 2006 for next edition
by Phil Adams National President
The industry we work in is always at the forefront of
Maritime workers face the pressures of the global capitalist
economy such as changes in ownership, technological advances,
instability and insecurity of work, and pressures to continually
get more profit.
However it is the hard slog of work-ing people that actually
creates the wealth and creates the jobs, a fact that is sometimes
If we want to have a say over our conditions on the job, then we
have to do that through the Union.
Remember that an individual worker is powerless when compared to
a mul-timillion dollar business so do not be tempted to do it
yourself in dealing with employers, managers, and on the job
By collectively working in the Union with other workers, we have
strength in unity.
Secure jobs and good conditions are not handed out by the
employer like Christmas presents, they have been won by collective
action by workers in Unions over generations, and they can be
The answer to this situation is sim-ple: strong union branches
with good input from members.
My view is that regular meetings of Union branches are a vital
part of keep-ing an active member-organized Union.
It is not an option to leave the work to a few.
All members of the Union have an obligation to get involved in
their union branch and support our activities if we are not growing
then we are dying.
It is good to see younger members of the Union stepping up and
taking part in training and putting their names forward for union
positions. However there is no room for complacency.
By becoming apathetic and leaving it to someone else to fix, we
dishonour the memory of the old timers who fought for what we have
today, and we let down those who come after us.
So get involved and come along to your Union meeting.
Keep Our Port Public
The Maritime Union has added its voice to the campaign to keep
the Port of Lyttelton in public ownership.
We have an article about this topic later in this issue of the
In short, the attempt to sell off part of the Port of Lyttelton
to the multinational port operator Hutchison was not a one off.
The plan failed due to various fac-tors, but this attempt will
no doubt just be the first in a wave of port privatiza-tions as
ports try to position themselves as number one with the
international shipping lines.
For the last century this type of ap-proach has always seen the
shipping lines come first and the interests of workers and the
wider community come last.
Ports should be operated in a rational way as part of our
infrastructure as a trading nation.
However market madness prevails and our pint-size ports continue
to spend their time, money and energy on trying to become top
The option of a planned approach would see the end of duplicated
resourc-es and insecurity, in favour of a co-ordi-nated and
co-operative approach where ports worked together in an open
It will probably take some more debacles before the brains
trusts in management learn their lessons, but the Maritime Union
will be supporting publicly owned ports regardless.
AmalgamationThe Maritime Union continues to
work through the amalgamation process with the Rail and Maritime
Transport Union (RMTU).
The goal is to negotiate a working plan that both sides can then
present to the Union membership for their final decision.
This requires good will and some work, but it is important to go
through all the issues now.
The key point to remember is that the members have the final
The other key point is that as a democratic organization, the
majority view in our Union will prevail.
I believe that our national officials involved in the
negotiation process have the best interests of the Union at heart,
and will come back with a good docu-ment.
But in the end the decision will be made by the members.
On another note, the Maritime Union has recently worked
alongside the RMTU in the Keep Our Port Public campaign and has put
out a number of joint statements.
This is a good indication of unity in action on the waterfront,
and it is through this kind of work that we can practically build a
strong collective voice for workers.
6Young Auckland workers protest youth rates, May Day 2006 (photo
The Maritime Union is supporting a class action by people
affected by the industrial fumigant Methyl Bromide.
A former Nelson waterfront worker and union member, Ian Street,
asked the assistance of the Union. Mr Street is still suffering the
effects of Methyl Bromide poisoning after accidental exposure seven
At their May meeting, the national executive of the Maritime
Union de-cided to contribute $10,000 towards the costs of mounting
The goal of establishing a register of people exposed to Methyl
Bromide is seen as an important goal, as this has proved useful in
overseas cases of industrial poisoning.
The Maritimes magazine reported in April 2005 about the problems
caused by Methyl Bromide in ports.
Much of the concern in New Zealand has centered around the Port
Several cases of exposure of workers to the toxic chemical have
occurred in recent years at the Port.
A number of workers in the port have died from motor neuron
disease since 2002, although authorities say there is no evidence
that methyl bro-mide is responsible.
However there is no doubt about the dangerous nature of Methyl
Used as a fumigant and pesticide to kill organisms in cargoes
such as timber, Methyl Bromide is a colourless and practically
odourless gas that is heavier than air.
This means it is hard to detect without specialized equipment,
and can pool in confined areas such as ships holds and
Medical symptoms of exposure to Methyl Bromide include
convulsions, coma, and long-term nerve and brain damage. It can
also cause skin burns, lung inflammation, and irritation to nose
To be detected in humans, blood test-ing must be carried out
within 48 hours of exposure to be effective.Do you have any
experiences with Methyl Bromide? Contact the Maritimes (contact
details page 4).
Union backs Methyl Bromide lawsuit
Win for Iraq Union campaignAn Iraqi port union has won a victory
for union rights, after the government relented on a decision to
continue its suppression of the union.
A number of anti-union tactics were launched against the
ITF-affiliated Port Workers Union, based in Khour Al-Zubeir Port,
after it complained about poor working conditions in March.
These included the closure of its of-fices, the withholding of
board mem-bers salaries and the transfer of their jobs some 550
However, at the end of May, the union reported that the
situation was improving.
Union General Secretary Zaki Zabbari commented: The order of
transferring the board members of the union has been cancelled, and
salaries were received. We are now back in our departments and are
negotiating on the reopening of the unions offices and its
He also thanked the ITF for its sup-port.From www.mua.org.au
New Caledonia hit by general strikeA general strike took place
in New Caledonia in June led by dockers from the USTKE union.
The strike was called after an escalat-ing dispute based around
the arrival of the shipping companies, MSC and Maersk, in the port
The union is demanding a quota system for cargo being offloaded
in Noumea to protect local companies, and opposing the arrival of
multina-tional shipping giants Maersk and MSC because they could
dominate the freight market and force other shipping compa-nies out
of the port.
The port of Noumea has had a strong presence of striking
picketers and union members over May and June.
The Maersk container vessel Asia Decimo did not to unload its
containers at the scheduled destination, Noumea.
Three port workers in New Caledo-nia were hospitalized after a
clash be-tween members of USTKE and employ-ees of the Sato port
USTKE spokesperson Pierre Chauvat told the media the attack
could have been much worse.
We were standing just outside the port peacefully and they came
with a big forklift, they hit some police cars but fortunately we
managed to stop them before they killed anybody. So that was a real
attack by this militia.
The Union then reinforced the picket of the port by about four
hundred USTKE members.
7by Russell Mayn, Local 13 Secretary
A draft Policy for the Maritime Union of New Zealand has been
prepared and is now available to each Branch/Local.
This policy has been prepared with the assistance of the
Maritime Union of Australia who have undertaken signifi-cant
research on this subject.
The policy focuses on rehabilitation and impairment on the
These two ingredients seem to be the stumbling block with the
employers we have talked to so far.
All companies that we are deal-ing with in Auckland, Tauranga
and Lyttelton are trying to enforce company policies on their
These company policies are often off the shelf models purchased
through drug companies or Health Boards.
They contain all the negative points that make Drug and Alcohol
The main points they promote are random testing of urine as the
first line detection process with punitive actions, rather than
The Maritime Union of New Zealand is involved in talks at
present with three companies Toll Owens at Auckland, Tauranga and
Lyttelton, NZL at Auck-land and Tauranga, and Asco at
The types of policies presented by the companies vary with the
NZL policy being the least worker friendly.
The drugs and alcohol policy has been taking a large chunk of
resources but I believe we are ahead of the ball-game, and must
press on while we have this advantage.
If we dont succeed in getting a union policy accepted within our
industry we will be left with one sided policies that are used as a
tool to dismiss members within our industry.
Drug and alcohol policy looks at rehabilitation, not
by Russell Mayn, Local 13 Secretary
The International Longshore and Ware-house Union (ILWU) has been
helping Blue Diamond workers in California to organise for the last
two years and has asked the Maritime Union of Australia and
Maritime Union of New Zealand for assistance and support.
Following the Mining and Maritime Seminars held in Newcastle
(Australia) and Long Beach (USA), the Maritime Union of New Zealand
has pledged to globalize and offer our support to like minded
unions not only in the Pacific Rim but internationally in the
struggle against anti-union employers.
The Blue Diamond workers have been subjected to some of the
worst anti-union tactics by their employer: delegates sacked, stand
over tactics, continuing threats at the workplace such as closure
of the plant.
The Maritime Union has sent mes-sages to the company demanding
fair treatment for these workers and mes-sages of support to these
The main points of the dispute are the demand for better wages
for example sorters, the largest and lowest paid group of workers,
have received a total of only $2.00 in increases from 1990 until
very recently, bringing them up to about $11.00 per hour.
Meanwhile the plant manager makes more than eight times what a
The workers are also demanding more affordable health
Better job security is another demand currently there is no
seniority, temp workers are sometimes hired to replace permanent
workers, and workers schedules can be changed without their having
a say in the matter.
The Blue Diamond workers also want improved health and safety as
many workers suffer from repetitive stress injuries, heat, dust and
The Maritime Union supports the ILWU in organising these
workers, and demands fair treatment for the workers at Blue
Diamond, the right to organise, the right to belong to a union, the
right to basic conditions such as health insur-ance, superannuation
and a guaranteed wage.
The message from the Maritime Union of New Zealand to Blue
Diamond workers and the ILWU is one of No Sur-render and we pledge
Blue Diamond workers battle for their rights
The Second International Day of Action for Blue Diamond Workers
came to Vancouver on May 16. Local labour activists joined ILWU
Convention delegates and guests for a 500 person march to a Safeway
supermarket as part of the campaign (photo courtesy of the ILWU
8A national campaign is underway to defeat an attempt to attack
The Employment Relations (Proba-tionary Employment) Amendment
Bill is a major attack on the rights of all workers and is strongly
opposed by trade unions.
The Bill was introduced into Parlia-ment by National Party MP
If it became law it would enable em-ployers to sack workers
It would remove all personal griev-ance rights for all workers
in their first three months of employment.
The Bill removes basic employment rights. For example, workers
have a right to be told of concerning issues in the employment
relationship, the right to be listened to and the right to fair
process before being dismissed.
If this Bill were passed every time a worker started a new job,
basic employ-ment rights would be denied.
Although this Bill will particularly affect the vulnerable
workers (such as short term, casual and seasonal work) it would
apply to every one of us each time we start a new job.
The Maritime Union says the 90-day Bill has a simple and clear
purpose: to attack the rights and job security of working
The Bill should not be seen as a one off. It indicates the path
that a future National Government will go down in terms of their
approach to the terms and conditions that workers have in their
jobs: minimum wages, grievance
procedures, working hours, and union representation will all be
in the firing line.
The Maritime Union and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union
both dis-agree with the idea that the 90 day Bill protects
important rights for workers. The only reason it is being proposed
is to reduce those rights, allowing workers to be given the sack
for no reason and removing all personal grievance rights.
How Dr Mapp can say with a straight face this will help the
low-waged worker is quite remarkable, says Maritime Union General
Secretary Trevor Hanson.
The sinister nature of the Bill can be best explained by noting
that the maritime industry is already dangerously casual-ized,
along with many other industries.
This is especially bad given the young people in those
industries who will struggle for years with inferior pay and
conditions, before leaving the industry from burnout or worse.
We also have large numbers of exploited overseas workers
employed in areas such as the fishing industry where it is obvious
that there are bad things go-ing on aboard fishing vessels.
The results of casualization in health and safety (death and
injury on the job), stress and fatigue, too many hours or too few
hours, and lack of security for workers and their families is plain
to see, and something Unions have constantly fought against under
Kill the Bill your job security is under attack
Governments since the 1980s. This 90 day Bill is a
law that is another attack on the job security of workers.
All our past history shows that there will always be bad
employers who would use this legislation to turn over employees in
an attempt to bypass nor-mal employment legislation.
Those employers would reap the benefits of their poor behaviour
while the better employer would be penalized for providing more
This is known as the race to the bot-tom where incentives are
provided to those who attack their workers.
The Maritime Union would sup-port legislation for young workers
to be given intensive 90 day industry train-ing periods at the
start of their working lives, funded by the Government.
These programmes could educate young workers on their industry,
health and safety, training opportunities, and their rights at
Workers are not pawns to be used and cast aside with no
obligation by employers which is what the 90-day Bill allows and
We have one additional question to Dr Mapp. Will the probation
period of 90 days in his Bill apply to National Party MPs? Will
their employers, the public of New Zealand, have the right to
dismiss them in the first 90 days of their employment? If not, why
9Dedication to merchant navy
I was proud to be involved with and attend a dedication service
to honour the men of the Merchant Navy lost in both world wars held
at Lyttelton cenotaph on Sunday 5 February.
A plaque was fixed to the cenotaph to honour the men of the
merchant navy and to put them on an equal footing in terms of
recognition with the armed forc-es the Navy, Army and the Air
Speeches were given by repre-sentatives of the various armed
forces, a representative of the Canterbury Branch of the Merchant
Navy Association Mr Ted Coggins and also by the Mayor of Lyttelton
Mr Bob Parker.
Mr Parker stated that when you honour the people that were part
of the Merchant Navy, you are also honour-ing and recognising the
families and the wider port infrastructure as there are a lot of
people who have served at sea in various capacities and that means
their families are connected as well.
Winston Churchill always said if you are walking down the street
and see a man walking along with a silver button on his lapel
(symbol of the Merchant Navy) salute him because he is the man that
The dedication was well attended by dignitaries and the general
public and several members of the Maritime Union including our
local Secretary Les Wells were in attendance.
John Jeffery (Lyttelton Branch)
Mike Williams retires
It is with great regret, I will not be available to re-stand for
my position as the Wellington Seafarers Secretary-Treasurer, (as I
announced at the Febru-ary stop work meeting) due to medical
I joined the Seamens Union over 32 years ago and enjoyed my time
with the original comrades whom I sailed and struggled with.
I relished my time as an Overseas Trade Campaign Co-ordinator
and an active member of the National Council of the Seamens
I was pleased to have served my time in the Seafarers Union from
88, again as an activist National Councillor and campaign
Following this I was elected as the National/Wellington
Secretary treasurer and continued in this role leading up to the
MUNZ amalgamation in 2003.
Unfortunately, I leave office at a time when amalgamation talks
between MUNZ and the RMTU are still proceeding.
I have always supported this pro-posed amalgamation in order to
achieve our long time goal to have one union on the waterfront.
The power of one union on the wa-terfront cannot be
I have faith that with our branchs support, Paddy Crumlin (MUA)
and Paul Goulter (ACTU) it will succeed.
Such amalgamations, as the RMTU and MUNZ, will only work well if
struggle-based, with a clear rank and file democracy.
Power should reside in the collective and collective action from
a position of strength will ensure a strong new union to take us
forward into the future.
The seafarers can best contribute to this if we retain a
national structure and our seafarers identity.
The same applies, I believe, to the rail workers and the
wharfies. We should all come together in a genuine national
structure, where the main groups of workers involved gain strength
I wish the membership well. I feel very fortunate to have had
the honour of the confidence of the membership as an activist and a
union official carrying out the affairs of the union and leading
the struggle for us all.
The history of the wharfies and sea-farers is a strong one, with
many battles fought and won for the workers and it is
up to us to continue carrying the flame for justice, peace and
solidarity going forward.
Whilst I am retiring from the posi-tion, I am not retiring from
the work-force or the class struggle. See you on the picket line,
In Solidarity,Mike Williams (Maritime Union Wellington Seafarers
Secretary / Treasurer)
Many of the concerns raised by Wel-lington Branch Seafarers
about their voting rights within the new Union will resonate loudly
with some members.
The ineffectiveness of some seafarer members voting rights stem
directly from the union rules establishing the port branch
structure and affect seafar-ers in two main ways.
Firstly seafarers living in the smaller regional ports are
expected to belong to local port branches whose official does not
administer their employment agreement.
Members employment agreements are of course central to the
quality of their working lives and seafarers should be able to vote
for the advocate of their choosing a fundamental right of union
The same Union rules then go on to limit seafarer ability to
fight this issue nationally through minimal representa-tion on
union national bodies.
These concerns have been smoulder-ing for some time among
seafarers and were first raised by delegates at the Sea-farers
Ngongotaha conference in 2002.
It was clear from that conference that adoption of the old
Watersider rules into the new union would not fully cater for the
needs of a changed membership.
It was my understanding that the new executive would review the
union rules (taking in these anomalies) once amalgamation
That has not happened and so the disaffection of some seafarers
It is a nonsense to argue that these grievances are not
legitimate and that seafarer voting rights are not badly af-fected
as a result.
The existing port branch structure could perhaps be modified
(through proper process) by superimposing a number of seafarer
regional branches on to it.
This structure should allow for seafarers in regional ports to
fully par-ticipate in issues directly affecting them whilst
encouraging activism in their local ports.
Many seafarers would also like more equal representation on
union national bodies perhaps through a system of proportional
There will always be issues specific to the needs of seafarers
and watersiders that have to be dealt with equitably by these
Until these issues are properly re-solved and we effectively
clean up our own backyard any contemplation of fur-ther
amalgamation is hugely premature.
Keep Our Port PublicAn attempt to sell off part of the Port of
Lyttelton to a multinational port operator has ended in an
embarrassing flop but the threat of privatization remains.
The Keep Our Port Public campaign was formed in February 2006 in
Christ-church in response to moves by the Christchurch City Council
to cut a deal with Hong Kong based global corpora-tion
The Port of Lyttelton was listed on the sharemarket, but is
majority owned by Christchurch City Council through its business
The management of CCHL entered into negotiations with
multinational port operator Hutchison, with the goal of a setting
up a partnership.
The proposed deal would have seen Hutchison owning 50.1% of the
opera-tions of POL and 49.9% of the infrastruc-ture of POL.
In order to do this, CCHL attempted to buy up all shares in POL,
as stage one of the proposed deal.
The deal hits the rocksHowever two problems arose im-
mediately. There was a bad reaction from the
public and the formation of the Keep Our Port Public
Then there came a surprise move by Port Otago who purchased a
block of shares of POL (at this stage they hold just over 15%).
Faced with this situation, the pro-posed Hutchison deal fell
over amid public outcry and massive media atten-tion.
Accusations were flung between the two sides but it was clear
that the deal had not been handled well, with criti-cism even
coming from capitalists.
Hutchison has withdrawn for the meantime and the POL remains in
ma-jority ownership of CCHL.
KOPP campaign forms
The Keep Our Port Public cam-paign was founded in February 2006
in Christchurch by a number of groups and individuals.
Its goal is simple: to keep our port in public ownership (or to
return it to full public ownership).
The campaign has had substantial coverage and public support
including a 10 April meeting at the Christchurch Town Hall attended
by over 200 people.
Speakers included Kerry Burke (the head of Environment
Canterbury, other-wise known as the Regional Council, but speaking
in a private capacity), Murray Horton of the Campaign Against the
Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA), Green MP Metiria Turei and
port union leaders Trevor Hanson and Wayne Butson.
KOPP has laid detailed complaints against the Christchurch City
Council with both the Auditor-General and Ombudsman, stating that
the Council failed to undertake appropriate pub-lic consultation,
and questioning the Councils decision-making process and their
misleading public information.
Widespread support for campaign
Official supporters of the campaign include the Maritime Union,
the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, CAFCA, the Green Party and
the Alliance Party.
A number of Christchurch local body representatives and
individuals from other groups have supported the cam-paign with the
City Council appearing to be split on the issue.
The Government MPs from Christ-church have also put out a good
state-ment supporting public ownership of the POL as well as the
need for ports to co-operate.
The ITF and our international affili-ates have also got behind
the campaign as they see it as a part of the ports of convenience
The KOPP group in Christchurch continues to meet fortnightly and
is car-rying out a number of activities to keep pressure on, as
CCHL have indicated they will attempt to carry out a similar deal
in the future.
The Maritime Union has assisted the campaign through the setup
of a web-site and online petition, and we have also released a
number of joint media statements with the RMTU, which has proved to
work very well so far and is a good step in the direction of unity
on the waterfront.
A KOPP group has been set up in Dunedin, in order to provide
sup-port as Port Otago is now a minority shareholder of the POL.
The group gained considerable publicity from its inaugural meeting,
and has appointed two spokespeople, Victor Billot of the Maritime
Union and Green Party MP Metiria
By Trevor HansonA speech to the Keep Our Port Public meeting,
Christchurch, Monday 10 April 2006
The Maritime Union has joined the Keep Our Port Public campaign
and we make two strong points.
The first point is that what happens to the Port of Lyttelton
will have na-tional implications for all New Zealand Ports.
The second point is that what we are experiencing is part of a
global trend in the maritime industry.
The global maritime industry is dominated by a shrinking number
of conglomerates, and we can use the example of world shipping to
show the direction in which global port operators are moving.
Ports of ConvenienceThis term Ports of Convenience
is borrowed from the term Flags of Convenience.
The flag of convenience system allows countries with no shipping
industry to speak of such as war torn Liberia or landlocked
Mongolia to act as the official flag state for ships owned by
For example, you will have ships owned by European based
companies who carry the Liberian flag, paper-work done through an
agency based in America, crewed by Filipino or Indone-sian crew and
Korean officers employed through labour hire agencies.
The goal is to maximize profit by avoiding and evading national
laws, taxation and human rights.
The result in terms of lack of regu-lation, abuse of crews,
appalling con-ditions, poor wages, environmental destruction,
corruption and criminal activity is an international disgrace.
However it is a system that works very well for the global
The attempt now is to roll the free trade agenda further into
ports of conve-nience - ports owned and controlled by global
This process is taking place overseas and is part of the wider
push for free trade.
Maritime Union official Terry Ryan attended an international
union confer-ence on Ports of Convenience held in Bangkok in
February of this year.
He reports that developments in the world port industry are
increasingly following in the same direction priva-tisation of port
and terminal services, including cargo handling in many countries,
followed by a takeover of the privatised terminals by Global
Terminal Operators, such as Hutchisons.
Meanwhile, shipping lines are de-veloping their own terminals
also into a global network of terminals.
While at the conference, Terry heard an official say: If your
country is yet to have a global terminal operator, wait for the
knock at the door, there soon will be.
Two hours later, Terry heard about the proposed Lyttelton deal
being an-nounced back in New Zealand.
This little anecdote gives you an idea of how fast this process
is rolling out.
Ports of Convenience are where in-experienced, untrained, casual
and non-union labour replaces skilled unionised workers.
This means attacking working condi-tions, employing unorganised
workers and flying in cheap labour from coun-tries where trade
unions are forbidden or severely restricted.
Earlier this year, workers united in Europe to defeat a second
attempt to bring in ports of convenience through the European
Parliament by a massive series of protests and strikes.
A planned industry or a chaotic industry?
The central question is: is the de-velopment of the industry
going to be guided in a proactive and long-term way for the benefit
of our communities?
Or is the development of the indus-try going to be a chaotic
stampede driv-en by the narrow, short-term interests of local power
groups and multinational corporates?
The answer will come from the result of our campaign to keep our
ports pub-licly owned and controlled.
The shipping and fishing industry is already filled by exploited
Under free trade agreements, this kind of thing will be
increase, and the first place they will try to get it happen-ing in
will be ports.
It will be promoted as being essential to maintain New Zealands
competitive-ness and labour market flexibility, and we will be
told, as always, there is no alternative.
Few understand the implications of free trade
Few people understand the implica-tions of the free trade
agreements that New Zealand is entering into.
There has been a deliberate policy of keeping the public
excluded from any debate, and the whole issue has been reduced to
how many dairy products we can sell to China.
Under free trade agreements, we may see the importation of
exploited overseas workers sourced from the Third World , who are
employed under the terms and conditions of their home
This is already happening in over-seas ports of convenience.
Malaysian workers have already been replaced by imported
Indonesian workers in privatized Malaysian ports.
This process is completely colour blind, the jobs will go to the
workers with the lowest wages and job security.
The Maritime Union urges the local ownership and control of
Ports must work together in a co-operative and long-term manner
to plan for the future of this industry.
If they are unwilling to do so, the Union recommends that
control of the ports passes into public ownership and management
who can provide a system to ensure accountability and planning.
The central driver here has to be a grassroots campaign like
KOPP, which at this stage is a local campaign, but may soon become
a national campaign.
This issue is simply too important to be left in the hands of
some global corporates working hand in hand with a self-interested
Lyttelton is the first battle in the struggle to keep control
and ownership of our ports with local communities rather than
Lets make sure we start how we intend to go on.
Multinational control for private interests or Community
ownership for the public benefit?
The Maritimes features here the second instalment from Chapter 2
of the forthcoming history of the New Zealand Seafarers Union, by
historian David Grant.
by David Grant
The port of Auckland had a different culture. A small branch
established there after Sangsters visit soon col-lapsed although it
was revived in April 1884.
Working conditions and pay rates in the north lagged behind
those in the oth-er main ports where the Dunedin-based Union
Company set the benchmark.
Inter-colonial and bigger coastal traders operated primarily out
of south-ern ports whereas Aucklands shipping
industry was characterized by a number of small coastal shipping
companies and a larger number of the one-man-band, owner-operated
The Northern Steamship Company, the largest employer in the
port, paid lower wages than the Union Company and refused to
countenance an eight-hour working day.
The Federated Seamens Union drew up a formal constitution which
was both bold and cautious.
Provisions included to initiate re-form, sweep away abuses,
counteract influences that may be working against members
interests, watch over and guard the interests of its members
wher-ever they may be assailed.
Crucially, the members had to bear in mind that the Federated
Seamens Union was not formed in antagonism to the employers on the
contrary they were required to show by their ability and strict
attention to their duties that the fact of being members of the
union is a guarantee to the owners of ships and shipping companies
that they are consulting their common interests.
These temperate words, which be-longed to Tom Dodson, the Unions
first secretary at Head Office, remained a tru-ism for much of the
unions long history.
Members paid an entry fee of 2 and subscribed 2 shillings every
By this time, with growing recession, most companies were
setting seamens wages at 7 a month with an extra 1 for bosuns and
lamp trimmers, an extra 2 for firemen and greasers and an extra 3
The union tried to persuade the companies for the crew to work
only 8 hours in port (up to 12 hours had been common up to this
time depending on demand) with two hours off for meals and sea
watches in the stokeholds on the days of departing and arriving in
port restricted to eight hours.
It also pressed for an overtime rate of 1s 6d an hour that
included all work done by deckhands at sea between 5pm and 6am-and
to firemen and trimmers cleaning, scouring or painting the ships
between 5pm and 8am while it was berthed.
The organization was democratic. Members were encouraged to
partici-pate in decision-making at the monthly meeting at which
they were required to be present or be fined 2s 6d.
Every ship in port had to be repre-sented by one delegate if the
crew had less than eight members, or two del-egates if the crew was
To while away downtime and to con-vey the angst of the magnitude
of their working lives, many seafarers became bards or composers of
poetry and song.
What the union wanted for its mem-bers however, and what the
ship-owners and their agents were prepared to grant were two very
Ship-owners were antagonistic towards the establishment of the
union and most refused to employ union labour.
Advertisements in newspapers for unemployed seamen and firemen
to work on local steamers for usual wages offered the carrot, as
exemplified in one January 1881 newspaper notice, that
non-unionists can easily find em-ployment, became common-place in
the next few years.
Conversely, the new union began its long and hard fight to
persuade tradi-tionally self-reliant New Zealand seamen
The exhilaration of the Jubilee Company
The Sailors Rest, Port Chalmers, circa 1895. Sailors came here
to play cards, pool, eat and sleep sometimes, but it was not a pub
there was no alcohol or gambling (in theory.)
to pay a fee to join it in return for prom-ises of higher wages,
better conditions and develop a more collective culture of
resistance to unfair demands from employers, who, to date, ruled
Union membership did provide a new assertiveness for men to try
to halt the downward trend in wages.
On 4 January 1881, seamen and firemen on board a number of
steamers berthed in Wellington gave notice that in future they
expected to work only eight hours a day while in port and that they
would expect an extra 1s 6d for each hour of overtime worked. (Some
seamen claimed that avaricious captains were making them work
between 12 and 16 hours a day both in port and at sea.)
These were modest claims in the context of the time and
ironically most seamen were earning only 6 a month which was less
than they were earning in the late 1870s, sometimes significantly
so some Union Steamship Company em-ployees earning up to 8 monthly
Employers, such as those of the Wellington and Wanganui Line,
were having none of it.
Most crewmen on the coasters Stormbird, Huia and Manawatu
belong-ing to this company reluctantly returned to their posts in
the next few days before they sailed from Wellington but a number
of Huia firemen, traditionally better-paid than the seamen, held
out, were sacked and new men hired.
It sailed the following day. By now discontent had spread to
fellow coasters, Patea, Jane Douglas and Tui although they
eventually sailed with mostly new crews.
Despite assurances from the ships agents it later transpired
that the Huia had sailed with a very inexperienced gang, only one
or two of the men having been to sea before, the Tui sailed
short-handed as did another steamer, the Napier when it sailed from
Wellington on 7 January.
There was now a unwillingness, despite the burgeoning
unemployment, for free labour in Wellington to work these ships
knowing the arduous nature of the job and the long hours they were
expected to work.
Local newspaper, The New Zealand Times lambasted the union men
as tak-ing ill-judged, ill-timed and unjustifiable actions arguing
that freight business was low, ship owner and traders profits were
decreasing and there was a danger that some local businesses might
go to the wall, as well as boats being laid up.
Certainly, the country was in reces-sion but the shipping
companies had overplayed their hands building or pur-chasing a
large number of new steamers during the heady economic days of the
1870s and there was now a glut of ships.
Moreover, they were facing increas-ing competition from
privately run scows and sailing craft many of whose owners were
paying their crews higher wages to attract experienced men.
Nonetheless, the recessing economy and growing unemployment
played into the employers hands.
When, on 14 January 1881, firemen on the Union Companys
Wakatipu, berthed in Dunedin, struck for the same wages as their
Australian counterparts the company refused, sacked them and when
they advertised for a new non-union crew, over 100 men offered
themselves for employment.
At the same time The Times grizzled about the crowds of
able-bodied men loafing about the wharf in voluntary idleness.
This was an expression however, not so much of unemployment per
se but of union men who were no longer acquiescing to the tough
circumstances on board ship without some say in their wages and
conditions of work, and oth-ers who both refused to join the
union-and could not find work-or rebuffed it.
While picket lines were a thing of the future, unionists and
scabs some-times crossed paths in anger, and, often fuelled by
alcohol, scrapped in bars, or on streets, or the waterfront
Bruises and bleeding were the order of the day.
Serious injuries were rare. While these men often despised
other there seemed to exist a kind of understanding that such
conflict should not become too brutal.
In 1883 D A De Maus, a Port Chalmers-based seaman composed this
ditty in praise of his new union.
To every British seamanThat sails along our coastFair privilege
and equal rightsIs what our Union boasts.
For such a cause each noble heartShould all assistance lend,And
strive with manly energyOur sailors to befriend.
Chorus:Let us sing!Is the motto of our UnionLet us ringAs loud
as ere we can-
Eight hours work and eight hours recreationEight hours rest are
for the working man.
The distressed and distressed are sure,In times of dire dismay
to have a hand thrownTo help them on their way.
Our sailors then with manly heartsWill answer dutys call,And
with the Union at their backWork for the good of all
Chorus:Success attend the UnionAnd those thats at the helmAnd
may they weather every stormThat would the cause oerwhelmThe good
theyve done is bearing fruit,Through all the countrys length;So all
together, pull togetherFor Unity is Strength.
Thoughts of a Seaman (1883)
Such discord served more for the protagonists to stake positions
and win or maintain honour rather than re-sult in grave or
Later the Seamens Union told its members to walk away from
poten-tially violent confrontations with scabs and others as such
displays of anger would damage the pride and credibility of the
union as well as giving antago-nists the perfect metaphorical club
with which to beat it around the head.
Through 1881 and 1882, disputes continued despite the Seamens
Union growing in membership.
Ships continued to sail short handed, often behind time with
traders and owners profits declining. (A third instalment from this
chapter will be published in the next issue of the Maritimes.)
by Terry Ryan Assistant General Secretary
Report on the ITF Dockers Committee meeting, Hong Kong,
2327 May 2006
As most readers particularly Seafarer members will know, the FOC
(Flag of Convenience) campaign has been run by the ITF
(International Trans-port Federation) for over 50 years.
This campaign involves an inspec-torate comprising some 135
inspectors located in 46 countries.
While the main focus of the cam-paign is to secure jobs for
domiciled seafarers on vessels beneficially owned in their own
country, much of the campaign now centres on recurring acceptable
labour agreements and ITF minimum wages for international crews on
The FOC campaign was started as the logical response to social
dumping which affected seafarers from tradi-tional seafaring
nations including New Zealand.
Remember when over 100 NZ owned and registered ships plied the
coast and international waters, the majority owned by the Union
Nowadays the ITF is extremely concerned that Flag of Convenience
conditions are being brought ashore as multinational global giants
cover our in-dustry as transport and logistic compa-nies, which
have replaced the traditional shipping and stevedore companies.
This has resulted in threats to Dock-ers jobs, conditions, and
ability to main-tain industrial influence.
The dockers section of the ITF meet-ing in Rio de Janeiro in
2005 identified the need to respond to global develop-ments in the
ports sector, in particular the growing power of multi-national
These corporates are also known as Global Network Terminals,
with the biggest being Hutchison Port Holdings, PSA, Dubai Ports
World, APM Termi-nals, and SSA Marine.
Regional ITF meetings enabled ITF affiliated unions to share
information, develop ideas for regional strategies, strengthen
campaigning skills, iden-tify roles, and follow up priorities, to
improve communications and build regional and company networks.
With the necessary groundwork cov-ered the ITF dockers section
presented a draft campaign strategy to the ITF Dock-ers Section
committee meeting in Hong Kong last month.
The ITF is now, after 4 years of dis-cussion, on the threshold
of launching the POC campaign.
The official launch will take place in Durban in August 2006 at
the ITFs 4 yearly congress.
This will be the most exciting and difficult campaign since the
FOC cam-paign was launched 50 years ago.
It will depend on strong, viable, and energetic dockers
Can it be successful? The recent de-feat of the European
Directive demon-strated dockers capacity to organise on a global
Dockers have always been the strong arm of the FOC campaign, now
they find themselves under siege.
Once our industry was run by small national stevedoring
companies, now most are owned by multi-nationals.
The just in time phenomenon sees these giant logistic companies
Almost all the world has the same problems with privatisation,
casualisa-tion, and workers basic rights not being recognised,
along with company or yel-low unions.
Global awareness is vital as ports are not separate entities as
in the past.
Ports are now just a link in the chain of global networks of
people who work for the same employers in different countries.
A database of all ports employers is being set up.
The general view is that the only way to prevent being picked
off one by one is to work co-operatively together.
The POC campaign has the ability to target a single employer in
It is envisaged that multi-national companies generally will
come to accept they need the co-operation of dockers to maintain a
successful door to door, just in time service, as we remain the
stron-gest link in the chain.
We always perform best with our livelihood, conditions, and
The following bullet points should prove of interest to most:
ILWU President James Spinosa has completed his maximum 2 terms and
has been replaced by Bob McIllraith.
Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong as the port with the worlds
largest throughput, followed by Los Angeles and Rotterdam. A draft
document on elections to the Dockers Section committee in line with
the ITF constitution was presented, calling for affiliates to agree
on country nominations.
More important all other section committees observers are
The Dockers will allow observers provided they have something to
say or contribute. A decision will be made in Durban. ITF/IBF
agreements have a clause ensuring that seafarers play no part in
undertaking work traditionally under-taken by dockers. Hutchinsons
work with organized labour in UK (Felixstowe), but they operate
with casuals in Hong Kong, and would do same in UK if it were not
for the strength of the TGWU (dockers union). The ITF met with
Maersk on a cross sectional basis (dockers/teamsters) to show
Maersk our ability to work together. The Dubai (DPW) P&O merger
has some difficulties with administration. NZ with no terminal will
see DPW divest itself of its small holdings. The Fair Practice
Committee will meet early next year in Australia. The ITF will
undertake to invest resources in the important ports in the world
for organising purposes, e.g. Hong Kong 12,000 dockers, but only
700 unionised. In Nagoya, Japan, Toyota is develop-ing an
experimental automatic robotic port. Computer manning and operation
removes the need for any workers, other than computer operators.
Dole is closing its pineapple planta-tions in Hawaii and relocating
them to Puerto Rico. The ILWU has requested an International
Solidarity conference in 2008 prior to their contract talks. Italy
is the only country in Europe that has a law allowing self-handling
by seafarers. The ITF is the only world body with a global
Dockers meet for international talks in Hong Kong
by Fred Salelea Maritime Union National Educator
Learning Rep Programme
While in Welling-ton attending the ACC/CTU Trainers Workgroup
meeting recently, I made contact with Don Farr from the Council of
Trade Unions (CTU) who heads up the Learning Rep Programme.
The Learning Reps programme is there to help you to access
training and qualifications for your industry, and gain skills that
will help you in your job and career.
There is a link here to Industry Training Organisations (ITO),
where we would like to see a representative from the Maritime Union
here in the future.
Its clear there has been little or no support for some of our
delegates and members after attending delegate train-ing
If we use a programme available to our members within their own
branch, who are willing and have the training available to gain the
skill and knowl-edge to mentor and train others from our industry,
this would give us an organizing education tool within our
The future for us and our educa-tion programme would be to have
the employer acknowledge the importance of Industry training as an
essential and positive step towards future economic development
within our industry.
I believe that these ITO programmes will be invaluable within
our Union education.
We would be able to develop learn-ing reps within every branch
to train our other members.
Health and Safety TrainingWe recently ran three ACC/CTU
Worksafereps Health and Safety (H&S) stage 2 courses in
Christchurch, Welling-ton and Tauranga.
The aim of these courses was to build upon Injury Prevention and
the role of the H&S reps which carried on from stage 1.
The main focus of stage 2 is on inci-dent and accident
investigation, hazard identification and hazard management to
prevent illness and injury in the workplace.
We would like to thank Ray Fife and members from our Bluff
branch who attended the 2 day H&S course in Christchurch, and
Ryan Cox and Alan Holdt from New Plymouth branch who attended the
Wellington 2 day course.
There was a good showing in Tau-ranga which included members
that travelled from Auckland.
ACC/CTU Worksafereps TrainingACC/CTU Worksafereps Training
is now developing stage 3 H&S courses which will be focused
on the rehabilita-tion of injured workers back into the
A key part of this is what role the H&S rep plays in an
injury management program.
We have been asked as trainers to look into Employee
Participation Agree-ments (EPA) which may be lacking in involvement
of the Trained H&S rep in an Injury management programme.
The default system for H&S reps in the Health and Safety Act
is to promote the interest of the employees, in particu-lar
employees who have been harmed at work, including arrangements for
rehabilitation and return to work.
Generally there has not been much involvement by Trained H&S
reps throughout the country in Injury Man-agement Programmes and it
seems that in most cases management are deal-ing with our members
without the H&S rep or union representation.
Union TrainingIn some cases the injured worker has
agreed to terms they dont understand.These can include
bilitation Plan (IRA), Individual Occupa-tional Assessment/
Individual Medical Assessment (IOA/IMA), or a Vocational
Independent Occupational Assessment/ Vocational Independent Medical
When the injured worker gets into this process without union
help they find themselves with problems.
Its important that the H&S rep is involved in representing
and supporting the worker right from the start of when the worker
Therefore it is essential that we have an agreed policy and a
review of our Employee Participation Agreements that highlights
H&S reps involvement in an injury Management Programme along
with time to perform the role of a H&S rep in the
Workplace.Contact Fred Salelea on mobile 0212291432 or email
Bluff and Lyttelton members at a recent training course in
Lyttelton (photo by Fred Salelea)
Fred Salelea, Phil Spanswick and Selwyn Russell from Mt
Maunganui at a recent CTU/ACC Workshop
Crew members from the Malakhov Kurgan, May 2006 (photo courtesy
of the Militant)
Hunger Strike on the Malakhov KurganA group of Ukrainian crew
onboard the fishing trawler Malakhov Kurgan in Lyttelton resolved
their dispute with employers just before this issue of the
Maritimes went to print.
The FV Malakhov Kurgan is owned by the Ukrainian state fishing
company and was operating in a joint venture with the New Zealand
company United Fisheries.
The crew contacted the ITF through the local Maritime Union
branch with concerns about their lack of pay.
An initial group of crew members re-turned home. Of the
remaining group, a further 19 crew members agreed in May 2006 to a
deal mediated by the Depart-ment of Labour.
The remaining 8 crew members de-clined to accept this deal and
remain on board the vessel, as they believe they are entitled to
The Maritime Union supported their action with the view that all
crews in New Zealand waters are entitled to at least the minimum
wage for the time worked.
We were also concerned at the ap-proach of the Department of
Labour towards the issue.
The Maritime Union have been fortu-nate in that the crew members
have been aware of the wider situation and we have been working
closely with them.
It was also useful that we had access to a native Ukrainian
speaker who has been assisting with communication with the
The Union has been in direct com-munication with the Minister of
gration and the Department of Labour on this specific case.
We have also informed the media about the issue which has
resulted in national coverage of the crews plight.
Other issues that have arisen in-clude the pressure put on crew
by their employers in the Ukraine, including written communications
telling them they were bringing their country (and even President)
into disrepute, and a threat they would have to pay their own fares
home if they did not return by a certain time.
The crew were trying to draw atten-tion to their demands that
they want to be paid the New Zealand minimum wage for their time
working in New Zealand waters.
According to a Department of La-bour leaflet that has been
distributed to overseas crews, this is exactly what they are
entitled to under New Zealand law.
The 8 remaining crew members went on strike onboard the vessel
in Lyttelton Harbour after it was laid up.
Mechanical problems forced it to return to port where it has
stayed ever since.
Yet other crew members have ac-cepted payments that are
confidential through a mediation process undertaken through the
Department of Labour.
When the Maritime Union asked whether the DOL have a definite
figure on how much this crew were being paid per hour, we were told
the Department is still investigating.
The Maritime Union has also asked if the other crew members have
their legal entitlement to at least the New Zealand minimum wage
for work done while in New Zealand waters and how this amount was
The Union is concerned the Depart-ment of Labour has helped cut
a deal where a group of crew members have been paid under the
The Maritime Union of New Zealand has been actively working with
the ITF to ensure crews aboard foreign flagged vessels in New
Zealand waters are pro-tected from exploitation and abuse.
The conditions of crew aboard many overseas flagged and joint
venture fish-ing vessels operating in New Zealand waters has been
an ongoing concern.
The Maritime Union has provided assistance to distressed crews,
in con-junction with the ITF.
Our Maritime Union officials act as ITF inspectors in New
The Maritime Union has also called for action from the
Government and deals with the relevant authorities on a regular
We achieved an acceptable outcome for the crew in this case.
Our wider intention is to achieve the proper regulation of the
industry to pro-tect the rights of both local and overseas workers
in New Zealand waters.
International report on crew abuse highlights abuse in New
Zealand watersAs the Maritime Union fights for the rights of
seafarers in New Zealand waters, a new report from the
Interna-tional Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to the United
Nations paints a disturbing picture of abuses of human rights at
The report names the case of the Sky 75 in New Zealand waters as
one of ruthless exploitation of fishing crews.
The New Zealand ITF and Maritime Union took action when 10
Indonesian crew left the Korean registered fishing vessel Sky 75 in
the Port of Nelson in September 2005.
by Kathy Whelan
On 14 March 2006 the ITF Office in Wellington received
information that 9 Indonesian fishermen from the Korean owned and
registered fishing vessel Marinui had jumped ship in Dunedin
claiming severe mental and physical abuse.
The Marinui, with a crew of five Ko-rean officers and 20
Indonesian fisher-men, was fishing south of New Zealand for squid
with a New Zealand Joint Venture operator.
The allegations of the crew included incidents of long hours of
work without a break, forced to stand naked on deck in very cold
conditions, lack of medical treatment, and being hit.
They described the abuse in graphic detail on national
television and the only one of the nine who could speak English
made the statement we are not treated as seamen, we are treated as
The ITF, while conducting its own investigation, alerted the
Department of Labour (DOL) who are responsible for the labour
conditions imposed when granting working permits for foreign
fishermen working in the New Zealand fishery. The DOL inspector
undertook an investigation.
The Korean owners were anxious to remove the crew from New
Zealand and the ITF were able to mobilize its net-work in New
Zealand which included Maritime Unions, government agencies and the
Acting on behalf of the ITF, Les Wells and John Jeffery of the
Lyttelton Branch of the Maritime Union acted as a buf-fer between
the owners and the crew, interviewing the fishermen in
Christ-church and hearing further accounts of the abuse.
They found that the Indonesian fishermen were on a contract of
employ-ment that provided a payment of US$6 per day total with no
percentage of the catch or other payments.
In Auckland Garry Parsloe from of the Maritime Union and Derek
Craig of the AMEA finalized an agreement which provided full
repatriation and transfers for the crew back pay of US$5000.
Under law the crew are entitled to the New Zealand minimum wages
while working in New Zealand waters.
Any further payments due to the crew will be made into their
bank accounts once the calculation has been done and the DOL have
completed their investigation.
This case attracted wide media at-tention and allowed both the
ITF and the Maritime Union to highlight our case for this industry
to be regulated so that at point of engagement proper and fair
agreements with minimum employ-ment, health and safety standards
are a prerequisite to any application for crews coming down into
We have been lobbying Government on this for at least a
A clear message has got to be sent to foreign owners and
operators that we will not tolerate such levels of abuse and
exploitation in our waters.
The Maritime Union and ITF partici-pated in a CTU Migration
Group recently which was addressed by the Minister of Immigration
Whilst reporting on some positive initiatives in respect to New
Zealand im-migration issues, he singled out the fish-ing industry
as one that needed urgent attention and one he would focus on.
We welcome this and hope that it leads to some guidelines and
processes that will create a fair industry giving those who work in
proper social and industrial protections.
The case of the MarinuiFour crew members from the Marinui, March
2006 (photo courtesy of the Otago Daily Times)
Crew members on the Sky 75 re-ported abuse, harsh working
conditions and extremely poor conditions.
The ITF report Out of Sight, Out of Mind warns that as a result
of recruit-ing scams, vessel abandonment and virtual forced labour,
some seafarers and fishers are suffering horrific abuse.
The report is being presented at a United Nations maritime law
summit held in New York from 12-16 June 2006.
The report exposes some of the terri-ble conditions inflicted on
some seafar-ers and fishers, and highlights systemic failures in
regulation and practice.
The maritime and fishing industries continue to allow
astonishing abuses of human rights of those working in the sector,
says the report.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the report
totally vindicates the strong stance of the Union on the issue.
Since the Sky 75 there have been several other serious incidents
since the Sky 75, including crews jumping ship from the San
Liberatore and Marinui, and more recently a Ukrainian crew onboard
the Malakhov Kurgan in Lyt-telton who had to go on strike to be
paid the minimum wage.
These are just the cases we have picked up on I have no doubt
these are the tip of the iceberg, says Mr Hanson.
The ITF report follows a 2005 joint report from the Australian
Government, the ITF, and the global conservation organization WWF,
that revealed the pil-laging of threatened fish stocks, human
rights abuses and global pirate fishing operations were all linked
The ITF report Out of Sight, Out of Mind can be downloaded at
the webpage listing ITF
An article on the Sky 75 case is in the December 2005 issue of
the Maritimes magazine, which can be downloaded
The Australian Government/ITF/WWF report The Changing Nature of
High Seas Fishing: How Flags of Convenience provide cover for
illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing can be downloaded
by Kathy Whelan
The Swedish Seamens Union policy is that all crew members of a
Swedish flag vessel receive Swedish rates of pay and conditions
unless there is a Union agreement otherwise . . . Papuan sea-men on
the Swedish ship Delos were being paid $43 monthly instead of the
Swedish rates of $272 monthly until action was taken in Sydney by
the Sea-mens Union of Australia.
Those were the opening paragraphs of an article in the Seamens
Union of Australia Journal in October 1971 which reported a
successful action by that Union in securing a back pay for the
Go forward 35 years to 2006 and not a lot had changed since that
The Swires owned subsidiary China Navigation Company, a Hong
Kong based company which has 14 national flag vessels employing non
domiciled seafarers, pay a rate to their seafarers in excess of ILO
minimum rates except to the Papuan seafarers who man 6 of those
ships and were being paid just over half the rate of other
seafarers em-ployed by that Company.
Four of those 6 vessels (Aotearoa Chief, Coral Chief, Papuan
Chief and Tasman Chief) trade to and around New Zealand and in
routine inspections over 2004/05 ITF New Zealand put the com-pany
under notice to correct the situa-tion and move these vessels on to
their Hong Kong National rates.
We also made contact with the PNG Maritime Workers Union and
advised them that we needed these vessels to comply with
international minimums and we would give them as much sup-port as
we could to achieve it.
The Papua New Guinea Maritime Workers Union commenced
negotiations with the Company in September of 2005 and did not make
a lot of progress.
The company responded to claims to move to ILO minimums by
threatening to replace them with cheaper labour.
In April of 2006 the PNG Union asked the ITF if they would send
their New Zealand coordinator to assist them with the negotiations
and the ITF agreed.
The negotiations were set down over a 3 day period from 2224
April and I went to Port Moresby and joined the Union negotiating
team who met with reps from China Navigation Company Limited and
the PNG Employers Fed-eration.
The framework of the PNG Maritime Workers Union Agreement for
their members employed on China Naviga-tion vessels was very
It didnt need a lot of work other than the inclusion of the
dockers clause and some adjustment to hours of work and references
to SOLAS and STCW in the appropriate clauses to ensure com-pliance
with international standards and conventions.[continued next
ITF co-ordinator Kathy Whelan with crew of the Papua Chief
International minimums achieved for crew
All signed and sealed with negotiating team Graham Proud (China
Navigation), Tau Nana (PNG Employers Federation), Kathy Whelan
(ITF), Douglas Gadebo and Reg McAlister (PNG Maritime Union) and a
rep of PNG Labour Department
Reg McAlisterby Kathy Whelan
Reg McAlister is the General Secretary of the Papua New Guinea
Maritime Workers Union.
A lot of people know Reg, but not many know much about him.
Meet Reg and you will understand why, as Reg is a bit of an
enigma, a very quiet and modest man who doesnt like talking about
Over the four days that I worked with him in Port Moresby on the
ne-gotiations as reported elsewhere in the Maritimes, I extracted a
little of his life.
Reg is an Australian who grew up in Bankstown in a strong
working class and union family.
In the early 1970s as a young man he embarked on a career as an
accountant and was sent to Papua New Guinea to work as a junior
clerk for his company.
He immediately formed a bond with the local people and early in
the piece was sacked from his accountancy firm for showing an
interest in the develop-ing trade union activity in PNG.
Strapped for cash and with no fare home he took a casual job on
the wharf and joined the Papua New Guinea Cen-tral District
Waterside Workers Union in January 1972, and from there started his
amazing life as a union activist and leader in the PNG Maritime
Reg was elected as the General Secretary of the Union in 1976
and was instrumental in bringing about the amalgamation of the PNG
Wharfies and Seamens Union in 1978 followed by the other ports
The current Union was registered in January 1980 and is called
the Papua New Guinea Maritime Workers Union.
It is a strong active union with 4,000 members made up of 900
Seafarers, 300 port workers (harbour workers), and 2400
400 truck drivers have recently joined the Union in response to
a current campaign to organize that industry, with a potential to
double that number.
It should be noted that the first ship held up outside of
Australia in the Patricks dispute was held up by this Union, the
Papua New Guinea Maritime Union in Port Moresby.
Just before I arrived Reg had just finished his submissions to a
Govern-ment commission against the removal of coastal cabotage.
I was able to tell him and the union executive of the dramatic
and rapid ef-fects on the New Zealand industry when cabotage was
Reg McAlister is a pivotal person in the PNG Trade Union
He is a current member (having already served 3 terms) on the
Public Service Tribunal as the workers rep and he is the Trade
Union congress rep on the National Provident Fund, and he has
represented the PNG movement at inter-national level (ILO and ITF)
He now takes a back seat in the inter-national arena to give
experience to his younger officials.
Life in PNG is harsh compared to ours and I naively asked why an
Australian would choose such a lifestyle and he quietly replied
that if he had his time over again he wouldnt change a second of
Talk to his members and very quick-ly you feel the respect and
mana that they hold for Reg, he is not a white man living in PNG,
he is a Papuan leader and he is one of them.
I enjoyed your friendship, comradeship and working with you Reg,
Our focus was on the rates of pay.The agreement included
nuation provisions (a PNG statutory requirement) and Long
Service Leave which we wanted to maintain.
We concentrated on putting together a package deal that would
protect those provisions and equal or better the Hong Kong National
We achieved our goal and the PNG Maritime Workers Union and the
PNG Employers Federation (representing China Navigation) signed an
agreement which moved the rates to above Hong Kong National rates
and equated to an increase of 37%.
Printed below are the monthly salary figures for an AB: ILO
Minimum US$878Hong Kong National Agreement US$895Cnco/PNG
Enterprise Agreement US$964
I was very privileged to be asked to assist the PNG Maritime
They are a very strong, principled and proud Union and I thank
them Reg, Douglas, Alex, Vani and Ruby for their comradeship and
hospitality, an experience I will keep forever.
I also want to make special men-tion of my dear friend and
comrade Pat Geraghty, former Federal Secretary of the SUA.
As soon as I knew I was going to PNG I spoke with him and he
generous-ly talked me through the SUA involve-ment and assistance
to PNG maritime workers over the years and copied me some material
which was extremely useful in negotiations and gave me an excellent
by Ray Fife
Southern Cross StevedoringAs everyone
is aware Southern Cross Stevedoring is
again in the restructuring process. Conventional cargo is
diminishing. Stevedoring companies are fighting over lesser
cargo volumes, and therefore driving down the prices to retain or
gain extra work.
We workers are the ones who are directly affected when the
company insists that to remain viable, they need reductions in
wages and more flexible working conditions, along with reduc-ing
the number of permanents.
The industry needs to take a long hard look at itself and find
solutions so that our members who are highly skilled and efficient
workers have some form of job security.
Great South BasinThere is a huge gas and oil prospect
off the bottom of the South Island. Exxon Mobil, the worlds
company, is trying to get its hands on exploration rights in an
area that may contain gas and oil worth up to $1285 billion.
The exploration permit in the Great South Basin was held by
industry min-now Bounty Oil, but Government agency Crown Minerals
has revoked the permit.
It wants to offer other blocks in the area for international
We will be watching the outcome closely, as there is potential
to create more jobs for both wharfies and seafarers.
Interport SportsA small party of five golfers partici-
pated in the inter port sports tourna-ment held in the
Everyone enjoyed a well organised tournament, that turned on
excellent weather conditions every day.
(Congratulations must go to Ray Fife who won the Flett Black
Memorial Cup for Best Par Competition.)
Our many thanks to the organisers in the Mount who made it all
Bluff is the host port for the 2007 tournament.
A committee has been set up, boats booked to cater for the
fishing and the Queens Park golf course for the golf.
If enough entries, indoor sports will be held as well.
The tournament is open to all Mari-time Union members and
invited guests and if you want to enjoy Bluff hospital-ity come on
Walk for LifeThree of our members who have lost
loved ones to cancer, were sponsored by our Branch to
participate in the Walk For Life relay, which is held in
Invercargill every two years.
Keith Tangney, Ross Tangney and Dave McKay along with 66 other
teams walked for 22 hours to raise $165,000 for a very worthwhile
Well done boys.Bluff Tragedy
The Bluff community was dealt a savage blow when the fishing
trawler Kotuku capsized in Foveaux Strait on Saturday 13 May
resulting in the loss of 6 lives.
The fishing trawler, which was on its way