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Issue 14 • July 2006 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418 The Maritimes Stranded in paradise: how overseas crews are being ripped off Methyl Bromide • Keep Our Port Public • Kill the 90 Day Bill • Training Port Roundups • ITF Actions • Union history • International solidarity

Maritimes July 2006

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Official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

Text of Maritimes July 2006

  • 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 solidarity

  • 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 Federation (ITF).

    When the ship arrived in Tokyo, it was met with a delegation from the Japanese Seamans Union and the Japa-nese dockers union Zenkoku-Kowan.

    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 Federation (ITF).

    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 employ-

    Japanese unions offer solidarity to New Zealand maritime workers

    ers to try to knock the bottom out of the industry by picking up inexperienced, casual labour which they move around the country.

    Mr Carlisle says in the end everyone is a loser with casualization.

    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 blame.

    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 years.

    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, ZenkokuKowan)

    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.

    ISSN 1176-3418

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

    Edited and designed by Victor BillotEmail: [email protected]

    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 Press)

    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 rationalization.

    Both of these issues are reported on in this issue of the Maritimes, including the campaign to keep ports in public ownership.

    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 members.

    However, the problem is much wider.The Maritime Union believes that it

    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 weeks.

    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 comrades.

    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 industry.

    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 corporations.

    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 these agreements.

    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 matter.

    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: [email protected]

    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: [email protected]

    ITF Inspectorate: Kathy WhelanDirect dial: 04 801 7613Mobile: 021 666405Email: [email protected]

    Communications Officer: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Email: [email protected]

    Overseas Crew

    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 United Fisheries.

    The crew had not paid been what they were owed, in the view of the Union.

    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 well.

    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: profit.

    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 Maritimes.

    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 Australia.

    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 movement.

    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 required.

    It is another step towards job insecu-rity and is really a casualization bill.

    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 negotia-tions continue.

  • 5Secure jobs and good conditions are won by collective action

    The Maritimes is the official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

    All correspondence to: The Maritimes, PO Box 27004, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Email [email 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 change.

    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 forgotten.

    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 problems.

    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 easily lost.

    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 Maritimes.

    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 dog.

    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 way.

    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 say.

    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 from www.indymedia.org.nz)

    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 years ago.

    At their May meeting, the national executive of the Maritime Union de-cided to contribute $10,000 towards the costs of mounting the case.

    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 of Nelson.

    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 Bromide.

    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 warehouses.

    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 and eyes.

    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 kilometres away.

    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 committees.

    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 of Noumea.

    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 company.

    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 day.

    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 respective workforces.

    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 policies unpalatable.

    The main points they promote are random testing of urine as the first line detection process with punitive actions, rather than rehabilitation.

    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 Auck-land.

    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 punishment

    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 workers.

    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 sorter earns.

    The workers are also demanding more affordable health insurance.

    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 chemical exposure.

    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 our support. http://www.ilwu.org/organize/bluediamondworkers.cfm

    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 Dispatcher)

  • 8A national campaign is underway to defeat an attempt to attack job security.

    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 Wayne Mapp.

    If it became law it would enable em-ployers to sack workers without reason.

    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 people.

    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 various

    Kill the Bill your job security is under attack

    Governments since the 1980s. This 90 day Bill is a casualizing

    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 secure employment.

    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 work.

    Workers are not pawns to be used and cast aside with no obligation by employers which is what the 90-day Bill allows and promotes.

    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 not?http://www.union.org.nz/campaigns/90daysbill.html

  • 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 Force.

    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 feeds you.

    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

    Dear Comrades,

    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 reasons.

    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 Union.

    I was pleased to have served my time in the Seafarers Union from 88, again as an activist National Councillor and campaign Organizer.

    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 underestimated.

    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 through cross-pollination.

    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, comrades.

    In Solidarity,Mike Williams (Maritime Union Wellington Seafarers Secretary / Treasurer)

    Seafarers Concerns

    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 membership.

    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 occurred.

    That has not happened and so the disaffection of some seafarers continues.

    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 representation.

    There will always be issues specific to the needs of seafarers and watersiders that have to be dealt with equitably by these bodies.

    Until these issues are properly re-solved and we effectively clean up our own backyard any contemplation of fur-ther amalgamation is hugely premature.

    Peter Harvey

  • 10

    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 Hutchison.

    The Port of Lyttelton was listed on the sharemarket, but is majority owned by Christchurch City Council through its business arm CCHL.

    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 campaign.

    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 issue.

    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 Turei.http://www.keepourportpublic.org

  • 11

    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 global corporates.

    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 shippers.

    The attempt now is to roll the free trade agenda further into ports of conve-nience - ports owned and controlled by global corporates.

    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 overseas labour.

    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 countries.

    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.

    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 local elite.

    Lyttelton is the first battle in the struggle to keep control and ownership of our ports with local communities rather than globalized multinationals.

    Lets make sure we start how we intend to go on.

    Multinational control for private interests or Community ownership for the public benefit?

  • 12

    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 mosquito fleet.

    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 month.

    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 for donkeymen.

    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 bigger.

    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 different things.

    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.)

  • 13

    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 the roost.

    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 in 1878.

    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 itself.

    Bruises and bleeding were the order of the day.

    Serious injuries were rare. While these men often despised each

    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 life-threatening damage.

    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.)

  • 14

    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 FOC vessels.

    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 Steamship Co.?

    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 port companies.

    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 unions.

    Can it be successful? The recent de-feat of the European Directive demon-strated dockers capacity to organise on a global basis.

    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 bypassing warehousing.

    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 a port.

    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 dignity intact.

    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 forbidden.

    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 (multi-national) agreement.

    Dockers meet for international talks in Hong Kong

  • 15

    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 courses.

    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 workplace.

    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 workplace.

    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 Individual Reha-

    bilitation Plan (IRA), Individual Occupa-tional Assessment/ Individual Medical Assessment (IOA/IMA), or a Vocational Independent Occupational Assessment/ Vocational Independent Medical Assess-ment (VIOA/VIMA).

    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 is injured.

    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 [email protected] www.munz.org.nz/training.htmlwww.worksafereps.org.nz

    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

  • 16

    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 more compensation.

    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 crew.

    The Union has been in direct com-munication with the Minister of Immi-

    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 been paid

    their legal entitlement to at least the New Zealand minimum wage for work done while in New Zealand waters and how this amount was calculated.

    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 minimum wage.

    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 Zealand ports.

    The Maritime Union has also called for action from the Government and deals with the relevant authorities on a regular basis.

    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 sea.

    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.

  • 17

    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 slaves.

    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 Indonesian Embassy.

    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 our fishery.

    We have been lobbying Government on this for at least a decade.

    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 David Cunliffe.

    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 problems.

    The ITF report Out of Sight, Out of Mind can be downloaded at the webpage listing ITF publications:http://www.itfglobal.org/infocentre/pubs.cfm

    An article on the Sky 75 case is in the December 2005 issue of the Maritimes magazine, which can be downloaded at:http://www.munz.org.nz/PDF/Maritimes_December_2005.pdf

    The Australian Government/ITF/WWF report The Changing Nature of High Seas Fishing: How Flags of Convenience provide cover for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing can be downloaded at:http://assets.panda.org/downloads/iiumr.pdf

  • 18

    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 Papuan seafarers.

    Go forward 35 years to 2006 and not a lot had changed since that time.

    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 good.

    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 page]

    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

  • 19

    ITF Profile:

    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 himself.

    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 Industry.

    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 unions.

    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 wharfies.

    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 removed.

    Reg McAlister is a pivotal person in the PNG Trade Union Movement.

    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) many times.

    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 it.

    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, thank you.

    Our focus was on the rates of pay.The agreement included superan-

    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 rates.

    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 Workers Union.

    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 grounding.

  • 20

    Port Roundup:Bluff

    by Ray Fife

    Southern Cross StevedoringAs everyone

    is aware Southern Cross Stevedoring is

    again in the restructuring process. Conventional cargo is slowly

    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 biggest oil

    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 tender.

    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 Mount.

    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 possible.

    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 down.

    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 cause.

    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