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Issue 19 • October 2007 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418 The Maritimes Interport 2008 • Flags of Convenience • Port roundups • International news The most important word in the language of the working class is ‘solidarity.’ – Harry Bridges

Maritimes October 2007

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Official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

Text of Maritimes October 2007

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 1

    Issue 19 October 2007 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418


    Interport 2008 Flags of Convenience Port roundups International news

    The most important word in the language of the working class is solidarity. Harry Bridges

  • 2 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    Get on a Roll

    Local body elections: why vote?by Ruth Dyson Minister of LabourInternational studies show that the more people participate in their communities, the more successful those communities become. But if voter turnout at local elections is a measure of New Zealanders involvement in their communities, then many communities will be los-ing out.

    While New Zealanders turnout at general elections is relatively high, in the last local election of 2004 only 46 percent of eligible voters voted.

    This is despite the fact that local bodies are responsible for a vast range of services to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of our communities. Whether it is arranging public transport, providing piped water, maintaining streets and parks, or regulating land use, the impact of local body deci-sions is often far more imme-diate and visible than that of national decisions.

    Whatever reasons people give for not voting, they are not doing themselves or their communities any favours by not exercising their right.

    For starters, if voters dont vote, those elected cannot claim a strong mandate, mak-ing it more difficult for leaders to lead. It is less likely that issues will get the vigorous debates they deserve; and there is more risk of decisions being made that most people the silent majority dont agree with. They could be decisions that affect the value of your house, the safety of your neigh-bourhood, or any number of things that impact on you and your familys quality of life.

    The many examples of good work and leadership provided by local authorities have hap-pened despite the lack of par-ticipation by many in the com-munity. The next local body elections, in October, are an opportunity for New Zealand-ers to give their communities a better chance of success.

    The most compelling evi-dence of the benefits to every-one when people engage with their communities and show an interest in the political proc-ess is shown clearly in Harvard Professor Robert Putnams internationally acclaimed study of regional govern-ments in Italy. Putnam tried to understand why, over a period of two decades, some regions developed more successfully than others. He concluded:

    These communities did not become civic because they were rich. The historical record suggests precisely the opposite. They became rich because they were civic.

    The essential ingredient in the successful regions was the high level of participation that people had in their community. They turned out to vote, they had effective local government, they built healthy, positive communities, and from this strong civic base they created wealth.

    In other words, participation and interaction enables people to build communities, to com-mit themselves to each other, and to knit the social fabric. Having a sense of belonging and the concrete experience of social networks (and the rela-tionships of trust and tolerance that can be involved) can bring great benefits to people.

    Putman says that most day-to-day issues in our communities whether it be public health, crime rates, race relations, community develop-ment, teen suicide, economic productivity, even simple human happiness all are demonstrably affected by how (and whether) we connect with our family and friends and community.

    By taking an interest, and casting your vote for your local community leaders, you have nothing to lose but plenty to gain.

    Voting in this years local coun-cil and district health board elections will take place from 21 September until 13 October 2007.

    Voting papers will come in the mail and need to be sent back to your local council electoral officer by 12 noon Saturday 13 October.

    Only people correctly enrolled to vote will get the voting papers.

    If you havent already enrolled you can cast a special vote.

    You can enrol to vote online at www.elections.govt.nz or order an enrolment pack on 0800 ENROL NOW (0800 36 76 56).

    What are local elections?The local elections happen

    every three years. People vote to select members of councils and District Health Boards.

    Regional councils are re-sponsible for natural resources, environmental planning and all regulations administered at a regional level.

    City councils and district councils provide local services such as water, rubbish col-lection and disposal, sewage treatment, parks, reserves, street lighting, roads and libraries. They process building and environmental consents and administer other regula-tory tasks.

    Community boards focus on matters affecting your immedi-ate community and represent-ing these to the full city or district council.

    District health boards are responsible for the delivery of publicly funded health and disability support services for an area. District health board elections give communities the opportunity to elect seven of the 11 board members for each of the 21 boards around the country.

    How do I vote?Local council and district

    health board elections are done by postal voting. This means you will get and send your vot-ing papers back in the mail.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 3

    Edition 19, October 2007

    ContentsEnrol to vote 2Editorial and contents 3General Secretarys Report 4Update from National President 5News 6Veterans Association 7Profile: Alister Barry 11Flag of Convenience Shipping 12ITF 13Viewpoint: Proud to be a docker 16 Health and Safety 18CTU 19Learning Reps 19Phosphate ships 20 Port Roundups 28Obituaries 29The Back Page 32

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

    ISSN 1176-3418

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

    Editor: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Email: [email protected]

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

    Deadline for all Port reports, submissions, photos and letters: 1 December 2007 for next edition

    Cover photo of logs being worked at Bluff 2007 by Harry Holland (Harry writes hey comrades, note the neat stow. You could play snooker on them.)

    Cover quote from Harry Bridges (19011990), maritime unionist and leader of the ILWUMore information at: www.theharrybridgesproject.org/biography.html

    Thanks to our photographers: Terry Ryan, Harry Holland, Garry Parsloe, Jay, Kathy Whelan, Sam Huggard, Renee Habluetzel, Martin Brabander, Dave Morgan, John Bisset at the Timaru Herald, and others

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

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

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

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

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

    ITF Inspectorate: Kathy WhelanDirect dial: 04 8017 613Mobile: 021 666405Email: [email protected]

    Communications Officer: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482219Fax: 03 4535 593Address: PO Box 339, DunedinEmail: [email protected]

    Flags of Convenience page 12

    Spotless dispute page 6


    From the Editors DeskThe Maritime Union could be described as quality not quantity.

    Although not a large union in terms of numbers, the Maritime Union is respected for our leadership role in the wider Union movement. We support other workers in their struggles and have a remarkable history, both waterfront workers and seafarers.

    In talking to and hearing from officials and members around the country, there are a number of areas that we could improve. These few points below I think are very specific to our Union.

    Union meetingsStopwork meetings are a vital part of a healthy and open union.

    They are educational, informative, sometimes fiery, and often great fun. They provide an opportunity for us as organized work-ers to exercise our collective will and get things done. If you dont go to your local union meetings, then start going. This is prob-ably the most important contribution you can make as a Union member.

    Port parochialismPort parochialism - or in other words, my port before my

    Union. This seems to be an unfortunate legacy of the post-1951 splitting up of the Waterfront Workers Union into a federation of port unions.

    The attitude that maritime workers can somehow win by com-peting with each other is against every Union principle, and also does not measure up to reality. We are going to see many changes in port structure and operations in the next few years with the ongoing pressure for hubbing and coastal feeder ports.

    The way to deal with this issue successfully is to use our col-lective strength on a national basis to ensure the best possible outcome for all members.

    Union politicsWhile it is important to have a strong influence on parliament

    and support political parties that are pro-worker, we need to realize that an independent and strong Union will outlast both good and bad governments. Over-reliance on the bureaucracy, legislation, partnership with employers and doing things by the book is a recipe for ineffectiveness. A militant, conscious and activist union culture is our key tool in getting results for workers.

    Growing the Union Many deunionized workers in New Zealand today struggle

    with appalling treatment, poor wages and conditions. The Mari-time Union needs to have an aggressive plan to bring in maritime workers outside the Union. We need to improve our coverage and start organizing in areas that are non-union.

    Younger membersThe 1980s and 1990s saw massive attacks on workers, and

    maritime workers in particular. We have new members coming through now, who in many cases have never experienced a union. There is a massive gap of knowledge amongst younger people about our industrial and social history and how things work.

    It is our responsibility as a Union to educate and bring our younger members forward. They need to be involved in Union meetings, brought to conferences and national meetings of the Union as observers, encouraged to become delegates and stand for executive office in branches.

    Within the next decade we are going to see many of our most experienced members retire out of the industry. (We intend that they can be organized into our new Veterans Association.)

    By that time it is vital that we have the new generation moving up with the confidence, education and attitude to take the Mari-time Union forward into the 21st century.

  • 4 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    International unity pays off

    If there is one thing history has shown us, it is that every gain on the job has been the result of hard struggle

    by Trevor Hanson General Secretary

    Global economy gets the shakes

    The recent shake-down in the global economy is not unexpected and is

    probably long overdue.We read in the corporate-owned media

    about market corrections but what we dont get told is the human stories.

    The international economy now seems to be run along the lines of a casino. The people who do the work, the vast majority of the worlds population, have little or no control on the big decisions that affect their lives and livelihood. Those decisions are made in boardrooms for the benefit of a few.

    The concern is that with the way that free trade agreements and free markets are being set up, even more power is be-ing handed over to private interests. The Maritime Union has been questioning the potential for casual, cut-price workers to be moved around internationally under free trade agreements.

    Governments, business and bureaucrats tell us we have nothing to worry about.

    However they wont be the ones hav-ing their wages and conditions slashed. Unless we continue to question and resist the pressures on our jobs then we will wake up one day and find the worst case scenario is now reality.

    If there is one thing history has shown us, it is that every gain on the job has been the result of hard struggle. Those gains can quite easily be taken away if employers get the upper hand.

    Unions need to do more to educate our members about how these issues affect us, and what we can do about them.

    Individually we can have little impact but collectively we have a chance of chang-ing things.

    Low wages the serious issueThe wage issue is probably the most

    serious issue facing New Zealand today.Wages are too low.One argument used against wage

    increases is that they are inflationary unlike profit increases, which are fine.

    Employers are allowed as much loot as they can get their hands on. Workers get a pay increase and it is called a threat to civilization.

    The fact is that around the world over the last generation, the share of worker generated profit going to the workers has become less and less.

    It is now standard practice that a two income family is the norm. On average wages, even a two income family will struggle to obtain or maintain a mortgage. So we now have a huge number of extra women workers in the workforce com-pared to past generations, but workers are still struggling and the amount being paid as wages seems to be shrinking. Funny that.

    It might be something to do with the fact that profits have gone up through the roof.

    Workers are now being told they have to pay for their own retirement, education, and even health care if they want to get seen to.

    Yet the taxes paid by corporations to-wards an educated and healthy workforce continue to drop.

    One positive move is the recent dump-ing of youth rates. 16 and 17 year old workers are now eligible for the adult minimum wage. However the bill was wa-tered down to make youth workers have to work for either three months or 200 hours to be eligible for the adult minimum wage.

    By that stage half of them will be 18 anyway.

    But congratulations to Sue Bradford for pushing on with the bill regardless, despite opposition. At least in this one area we have seen some small but real progress.

    International unity pays off for workersThere is one good spinoff of globaliza-

    tion and that seems to be the growing ability of unions and workers to unite over international boundaries.

    The Maritime Union is affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federa-tion (ITF). Two of the campaigns the ITF has been promoting lately have been the case of Pedro Zamora in Guatemala and the case of Mansour Osanloo in Iran.

    Pedro Zamora was a dockers leader who was assassinated. The ITF have been pressuring the Guatemalan Government which obviously has corrupt elements.

    Mansour Osanloo is the leader of the Teheran Bus Drivers Union and has been repeatedly harrassed, jailed and abused by the Iranian authorities.

    The ITF has been running international campaigns to support these workers, which can be read about on their website www.itfglobal.org

    Its a strange thing, but no matter wheth-er governments are capitalist, communist, or Islamic, they never seem to like trade unions much.

    These cases remind us of the old saying Touch One, Touch All.

    Maritime workers in New Zealand have had to call on the support of our interna-tional friends before and we have always had a good response.

    We need to make sure we contribute back in their time of need as well.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 5


    Collective action gets results for workers

    There needs to be a strong renewal of unionism on the job

    by Phil Adams National President

    Union fights to keep waterfront jobs safe

    The Maritime Union is still en-countering ongoing problems with self-

    loading in New Zealand ports.The whole fishing industry and its use

    of overseas labour has been a serious issue for years. There has been some progress made with getting conditions and wage rates tightened up. But there seems to be a direct link between how active the Union is in pointing out problems, and how much effort Government agencies put into policing the rules.

    One area we are still completely unhap-py with is the area of self-loading. This is when ships crews including fishing crews start doing waterfront work. The problem is especially serious when we consider that most overseas crews will get paid far less than New Zealand workers. The effect this will have on local jobs and wages is obvious.

    A recent incident in Nelson reported on later in this issue of the Maritimes has left the Union unimpressed after a weak response from the authorities.

    The attitude of the employers in this area is a disgrace and they are obviously only motivated by their own greed, re-gardless of what effect they have on fellow human beings.

    However we are not going to be given the brush off and will continue to press employers and bureaucrats on the issue.

    The other point is that despite the usual denials the Maritime Union is certain that future attempts will be made to have short term, casual labour imported from low wage overseas countries to do waterfront and other work.

    This situation is also made more serious by the continued circling of global port and shipping operators who want to get their hands on New Zealand ports, and the continued efforts to make New Zealand the experimental case for a free trade deal with China.

    Experience around the world shows us that labour mobility is part of free trade deals. The labour mobility is not done for the benefit of workers, it is done to cut labour costs to the lowest possible level.

    If any incidents of self-loading are oc-curring in your port, we urge you to report it immediately to your Union branch and the National office of the Union. It is our duty as union members to be vigilant at all times.

    Spotless dispute another success for workers unity

    The recent lockout of hospital work-ers by Spotless Services and the progress made by those workers was an interesting sign of the times.

    Like the Progressive supermarket lock-out last year, it shows that large groups of low paid workers are now taking collective action to get better wages and conditions.

    This is a positive sign and shows the way forward.

    The Maritime Union supported this ac-tion in those areas where the lockout was happening (not in all cities).

    The most serious overall problems fac-ing workers in New Zealand on the job are poor wages and insecurity (casualization, shift work and irregular hours).

    These on the job actions are valuable because they build union membership and solidarity amongst workers. We cannot rely on Government legislation to solve our problems. There needs to be a strong renewal of unionism on the job.

    The Maritime Union will continue to offer our support to workers trying to organize and improve their conditions throughout New Zealand.

    Having your say in the local body electionsThe Union encourages all members to

    enrol and vote in the upcoming local body elections. By electing representatives who are pro-worker and pro-Union we can have a positive influence on our local com-munities.

    Apart from the general issues which face us all as citizens there is another important reason to vote in the local elections.

    Many ports in New Zealand are part or fully owned by local bodies. These include Regional, District and City Councils, depending on the port. We should be ask-ing candidates what their views on port ownership are.

    Of course next year is going to be an even bigger fight.

  • 6 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    Members of the SFWU (Service and Food Workers Union) have won a major victory against a lockout by employer Spotless Services.

    800 hospital cleaners, kitchen staff and orderlies from 12 hospitals around New Zealand were locked out in July 2007 by Australian company Spotless Services Ltd.

    The company used the lockout to attack workers after strike action was considered to make the company join an agreement that other hospital contractors had signed up to.

    Spotless were forced to back down and return to nego-tiations on 24 July after the Employment Court said the lockout was illegal.

    All Spotless workers will receive pay increases of up to 27% as a result of the agree-ment.

    Victory for Spotless Workers

    The SFWU is campaigning for common conditions across sites to be standardised into a single employer collective agreement.

    A locked-out hospital worker from Rotorua, Inez Galvin, told the Daily Post on 19 July that she had worked for Rotorua Hospital for 20 years.

    She had only received one pay increase in all that time around two years ago when the minimum wage was lifted from $10.20 to $11.25 per hour.

    Galvin said that it was not enough pay for the work she does. We have to deal with all sorts of things most people would turn their backs on stuff like infections, vomit, blood. I have had an AIDS and hepatitis scare after I was pricked by a used needle a few years ago. It was a pretty stressful time.

    Death of seaman leads to safety overhaulStevedoring companies have been told to put in place new safety recommendations fol-lowing the death of a Russian seaman at Port of Tauranga earlier this year.

    Nikolay Cheremnykh, 56, was crushed to death after being caught in the cogs of a gantry crane on board the Mar-shall Islands-flagged Tasman Resolution on 11 January.

    The accident occurred about 10.40pm and it was thought the seaman became trapped be-tween the gantry crane and the number five hatch. There were no witnesses.

    Two gantry cranes that strad-dle the hatches are powered by electro-hydraulic systems fitted with flashing lights.

    The crane drivers visibility was restricted within the cab and was reliant on either radio contact or hand signals from a hatchman.

    Maritime New Zealand noted there were no docu-mented training records for the operation of the ships gantry cranes.

    The victim was not in pos-session of a radio to be able to communicate with the crane driver.

    A Maritime New Zealand accident report, which detailed nine recommendations to en-sure such an accident doesnt happen again, was presented to the inquest on 29 June.

    Tauranga coroner Michael Cooney was told that since the accident, the Tasman Reso-lutions owners have started making improvements and have already issued a safety alert to all their employees.

    Mr Cooney said he support-ed the recommendations and urged Maritime New Zealand to make sure its recommenda-tions were passed on to other stevedoring companies.

    The Maritime Union of New Zealand supported the locked out workers around New Zealand. A delegation attended pickets in Auckland and in Invercargill, members of the Maritime Union travelled up from the Bluff waterfront to join the picket lines at the hospital.

    Maritime Union Bluff Branch Secretary Ray Fife says the branch donated $500 and joined the locked out workers on a march through central Invercargill.

    The dispute with Australian owned Spotless Services fol-lows the 2006 lockout of super-market workers by Australian owned corporate Progressive Enterprises.

    Maritime Union Bluff Branch Secretary Ray Fife hands over a solidarity donation of $500 to the locked out Spotless workers in Invercargill (photo by Harry Holland)

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 7


    Sea-Tow Agreement by Garry Parsloe National Vice PresidentOn 5 June 2007, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Mari-time Union of New Zealand and Sea-Tow met in Sydney to finalise an agreement for Sea-Tow to operate in and around the offshore in Western Australia.

    This was the third occasion that the parties had met (Janu-ary 2007 and March 2007) in an effort to come to an agreement around a document to cover this type of work.

    The Maritime Union of Aus-tralia was represented by As-sistant National Secretary Rick Newlyn, Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman and Western Australian Secretary Chris Cain.

    The Maritime Union of New Zealand was represented by National Vice President Garry Parsloe.

    Sea-Tow director Peter Dun-lop represented Sea-Tow.

    As we did not resolve some of the wording that was to go into the agreement the parties agreed to meet again the next day.

    At 8am on 6 June 2007 the parties met again and agreed on all issues.

    As the heads of agreement has now been agreed, the par-ties will now exchange emails to check wording, then sign the document.

    A protest march against youth rates heads down Queen Street, Auckland, Saturday 11 August 2007. The march was followed by a concert with Chook Peas, Nesian Mystik and others.

    Youth rates bill makes it to final readingGreen MP Sue Bradfords bill to pay 17- and 18-year-olds the same as adults got voted through to its final stage in Par-liament on 15 August 2007.

    The Minimum Wage (Aboli-tion of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill originally set out to scrap youth rates for younger workers.

    Those under 18 are paid 80 percent of the adult minimum wage.

    But the Bill has now been amended so that young work-ers can go onto adult rates after 200 hours or three months work, whichever is the lesser.

    New CTU leaders electedA new leadership of the Coun-cil of Trade Unions, including the first woman CTU Presi-dent, will be formally elected for a four year term at the organisations biennial confer-ence in October.

    Nominations closed on 6 July 2007 for the four CTU officer positions. Helen Kelly was nominated as President, in-cumbents Carol Beaumont and Sharon Clair re-nominated in their roles of Secretary and Vice President Maori respectively, and PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff as Vice Presi-dent. All were unopposed.

    I am delighted that the un-ion movement will have such a strong leadership team to carry our important work into the future on behalf of working New Zealanders, Ross Wilson said.

    I am particularly proud of the emergence of three exceptional women in these key national leadership roles, he said.

    Interport 2008Entries for the 2008 Interport Sports Tourney close on 30 September 2007.

    The 2008 Interport will be held in Whangarei, from 1014 February 2008. All members of the Maritime Union are invited to attend the event which is a popular annual get together and friendly competition for union members.

    Those attending interport can choose from golf, fishing and indoor sports (darts/pool/snooker).

    The payment of the $150 entry fee is due with the close of entries.

    Cheques are payable to Mari-time Union of New Zealand Auckland Branch Sporting and Social Fund, PO Box 2645, Shortland Street, Auckland.

    Any enquiries can be di-rected to Auckland Branch Lo-cal 13 Secretary Russell Mayn, telephone (09) 3034652, mobile 021760886 and email [email protected] forms can be downloaded from the Maritime Union website at the following address:http://www.munz.org.nz/node/146

  • 8 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    An national association for retired members or veterans of the Maritime Union has held its first meeting in Auckland.

    27 veterans attended the inaugural meeting of the Mari-time Union of New Zealand Veterans Association at the Point Chevalier RSA on Sun-day 24 June 2007.

    The meeting was chaired by Local 13 President Denis Carlisle.

    He said the maritime indus-try owed a debt of gratitude to past members who had struggled to put in place de-cent working conditions at sea and on the waterfront in New Zealand.

    He told the meeting about the resolution passed at the Maritime Union of New Zealand National Conference which supported the formation of a Veterans Association.

    The aims of the association were to promote comradeship amongst retired members and provide a platform to en-able past members to remain involved in the industry they had worked in.

    Mr Carlisle said there were many benefits of establishing the association, as had been seen with the Maritime Union of Australia Veterans Associa-tion.

    There needed to be ongoing recognition from the current membership for retired mem-bers.

    He said the meeting needed to consider the draft consti-tution and some machinery resolutions.

    It was moved by E. Dunne and seconded Jimmy Neill that this historic inaugural meeting of intending members of MUNZ Veterans Associa-tion endorse the establishment of Local 13s Veterans Branch. Further that this meeting elects officials to establish regular meetings, communication links to members and further MUNZ veterans objectives with the MUNZ national executive.(Carried.)

    Veterans Association up and running

    It was moved by Gary Ryan and seconded by John Warren that the draft constitution as presented to this inaugural meeting be endorsed as the founding document with any future amendments to be via written remits from members to the next annual general meeting. (Carried.)

    It was moved by Allan Jones and seconded by Bill Cun-ningham that given the next few weeks will see an influx of members we call for expres-sions of interest to hold office positions in one months time in a two week window.

    If necessary a postal bal-lot is to be held of registered members.

    In the interim the secretarial and other interests of the veter-ans association to be adminis-tered by the Secretary of Local 13 and the Port News editor.

    (Carried.)Local 13 Secretary Russell

    Mayn says he hopes other branches of the Veterans Asso-ciation will be set up following the establishment of the Auck-land branch of the Veterans Association.

    He says the next meeting of the Auckland branch will be advised to members and will probably be held before the end of the year.

    Membership of the Associa-tion shall be open to all retired and redundant members of the Maritime Union of New Zea-land, their wives, husbands, partners and widows/wid-owers who are in receipt of a pension.

    This includes all retired members of the New Zealand Seafarers Union and New Zealand Waterfront Workers Union, which joined together in 2002 to form the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

    To contact the Veterans Association, write to:Maritime Union of New Zealand Veterans Associationc/o Maritime Union of New Zealand Local 13PO Box 2645Auckland

    Delegate Mariana Rakuraku and organizer Daphna Whitmore from UNITE accept a MUNZ solidarity donation of $500 to their struggle at Gateway Hotel from the Auckland Seafarers Branch Secretary Garry Parsloe (photo by John ONeill)

    UNITEGateway Disputeby Garry Parsloe Auckland Seafarers Secretary National Vice PresidentOn 27 August 2007 the Auck-land Seafarers Branch Meet-ing had a report from UNITE organizer Daphna Whitmore on the Gateway Hotel dispute.

    Daphna gave a report on the dispute and expanded on the details leading up to placing a picket on the hotel.

    Daphna concluded her presentation with a request for support on the picket line and also some financial assistance.

    Delegates had questions which Daphna responded to, then the branch presented the picketers with a cheque for $500 to help assist them in their struggle with this out of control employer.

    These workers are on course for a well deserved victory.

    Mark Ross by Garry Parsloe Auckland Seafarers Secretary National Vice President It is with deep sorrow that we record the sad loss of Mark Ross.

    Mark, an IR, aged 45, joined the Union as deck boy in Sep-tember of 1979.

    He had not long returned to sea following a two year battle with cancer, and was lost over-board on the seismic survey GeoSounder en route Tauranga to Singapore. An extensive search failed to find him.

    Mark was an excellent Sea-man, a great shipmate and was held in high regard by all those who sailed with him.

    Marks father Bob Ross is known to many as a seamen on the New Zealand and Austral-ian coasts, and he is currently retired. To Marks parents Bob and Jaymie, to Marks wife and three children, the Maritime Union stand with you in the loss of a son, husband, father, comrade and shipmate.

    We also extend our sympa-thy and support to the crew, our comrades, on the Geo-Sounder at the time of the acci-dent, some of whom witnessed the accident and participated in the extensive search.

    Rest in Peace Comrade.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 9


    2008 sees the centenary of the 1908 Blackball crib-time strike, an event that led to the formation of the first national unions and the first Trade Un-ion Federation.

    This was one of the triggers for the formation of a national Labour Movement and the complex birth of the Labour Party. Mahi Tupuna (the work of our ancestors) Blackball Museum of Working Class His-tory Trust will commemorate the event in Blackball, on the West Coast, during Easter 2008 (March 21-24), with a series of events which will attract a national gathering.

    Some of the events include:A dinner at the Blackball

    Working Mens Club (Friday night, March 21) with poems from Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, after dinner speeches, songs, and launching of book, this event aimed at old timers.

    Market plus a parade through Blackball with floats from unions and schools, to be followed by a family after-noon which will include some choir items Saturday 10.30am onwards (parade at 12 noon).

    A community theatre pro-duction, Rain, Love and Coal-smoke to play Thursday and Saturday night at the Regent Theatre in Greymouth.

    On the Saturday night the play will be preceded by a buffet meal and a concert with union choirs.

    On Sunday, a seminar on the theme of Labourism 1908 1935 and Labourism now. Speakers include Eric Beard-sley, Peter Clayworth, Mark Derby, Laila Harre, Melanie Nolan and Len Richardson. (A history tour of Blackball will also be available.)For those wishing to attend the celebrations, further information and a registration form can be found on the museums website www.blackballmuseum.org.nzMahi Tupuna (the work of our ancestors) Blackball Museum of Working Class History TrustPO Box 2, 47 Clifford Street, Blackball 7804Phone (03) 732 4010Fax: (03) 7324015e-mail [email protected]

    1908 Blackball strike centenary

    Drug testing case before Employment Court

    ApologyThe Maritimes (December 2006) printed a report in error of the death of Keith Bedford of Napier.

    This was a mistake. Mr Bedford is alive, and currently overseas, according to his fam-ily who contacted the Union.

    This information was reported from the proceedings of the 2006 National Confer-ence of the Maritime Union.

    The Maritime Union, and the Maritimes Magazine, apologizes for this error and the concern it created.

    by Russell Mayn Assistant General Secretary & Secretary, Auckland Local 13The court case between the Maritime Union of New Zea-land and TLNZ over the introduction of a company Drug and Alcohol Policy was heard in the Auckland Employ-ment Court in September.

    This as you can well imagine was an extremely complicated affair and was held over five days.

    The subject of Drugs and Al-cohol and their use in relation to the workplace was funda-mental to this case.

    The Maritime Union has stated previously that it sup-ports a safe workplace and this involves many issues of which Drugs and Alcohol manage-ment is only one, which should not be considered in isolation.

    The outcome of this case will be decided by the judicial system but what I believe has become very apparent through this case is how little everyone involved at the workplace really understands this broad subject.

    From the Union point of view we have learnt an enor-mous amount and will have to keep approaching this issue with an open mind from a position of listening to expert advice to develop policies that fit the needs of our industry.

    There is no simple answer, as we cannot just concentrate on testing.

    There has to be a broad approach taken involving all stakeholders to achieve the outcome that everyone wants from this process.

    Obviously we do not agree with the policy in question or we would not be involved in challenging the company.

    It is extremely important to have a fair and reasonable policy which achieves what it sets out to do.

    To leave employers unchal-lenged to enforce policies we disagree with would be wrong, I still firmly believe that these policies have to be agreed between the parties to be suc-cessful.

    Seeking justice at this high level comes at a huge financial cost, but this should never dominate or restrict our quest for justice.

    In the next issue of Mariti-mes I will give a more detailed report of the case and its outcome.

  • 10 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz

    by Peter Harvey Tauranga SeafarerIt is easy sometimes in being a member of a strong Union to forget just how vulnerable some workers are in their work.

    The tragic workplace death of South Auckland concrete worker Esera Visesio epito-mizes many of the threats to workers safety that our Union in particular fights hard to prevent.

    Mr Visesio died instantly whilst working beneath a gan-try crane that failed and as a result dropped its lifting beam on him.

    The workers at the site were aware that the crane was faulty and had repeatedly asked the Manager to take the crane out of action, so that it could be safely repaired.

    The cranes cable guide was faulty and so the load safety limits could not be activated. Pleas to management fell on deaf ears and under threat of dismissal and out of pure economic necessity they car-ried on operating the crane as instructed.

    The company appeared at least from outward appearanc-es to operate a safe workplace.

    They had safety systems in place, a worker safety com-mittee that met regularly, and workers who were experienced and trained in their jobs.

    But when profit and greed met worker safety and vulner-ability profit was the king and safety was second.

    Mr Visesio is just one of approximately 367 workers to have lost their lives through work during the last six years and since the safety repre-sentative scheme was set up by the 2002 amendments to the Health and Safety in Employ-ment Act.

    Standing behind the work-place fatality rate are of course the hundreds of serious inju-ries suffered by workers each year and the sleeping giant that is occupational disease related death.

    Words such as carnage and epidemic spring to mind in de-scribing this problem and dont seem like an exaggeration.

    It is clear that the workers in this particular plant were unable to protect themselves at all from what ended up being the death by manslaughter of a worker.

    The words of the relevant safety legislation were abso-lutely empty and ineffective in protecting these workers (in the first instance) from the seri-ous hazards they faced.

    Most worker fatalities and injuries can be traced back to a failure by management in some way to properly protect their workers from harm.

    Unless workers are able to freely organize and combine themselves in unions that will support them in confronting genuine safety issues, then the carnage of worker death in New Zealand will continue.

    Death of a workerNEWS

    Roger Awards

    Increase in child tax rebate Do you have a child of school age who is working?

    An increase in the child rebate from 1 April 2006 now allows primary or secondary schoolchildren to earn up to $2,340 a year ($45 a week) be-fore PAYE or withholding tax needs to be deducted.

    If you employ primary or secondary schoolchildren, and they earn (or are expected to earn) $2,340 or more a year from all employers, you will need to deduct PAYE or with-holding tax from the payments you make to them.

    Weekly earnings of less than $45 Schoolchildren who earn less

    than $45 a week, or who expect to earn less than $2,340 a year from all employers do not have to complete a Tax code declara-tion (IR330).

    You dont need to deduct PAYE or withholding tax from payments you make to them or include them on your Employ-er monthly schedule (IR348). However, you still have to keep wage records for them.

    Weekly earnings of more than $45 Schoolchildren who earn

    more than $45 a week, or expect to earn more than $2,340 a year from all employers need to complete a Tax code declaration (IR330). You need to deduct PAYE or withholding tax from the payments you make to them and keep wage records.

    Children are entitled to a rebate of $351 if their income is over $2,340 and they have had PAYE or withholding tax deductions made.

    If they use the M tax code on their IR330 you can reduce the PAYE you deduct by $6.75 each week. School children under the age of 18 should not use the ML tax code.

    Nominations have opened for the Roger Award for the worst transnational corporation operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2007, says organizer Murray Horton.

    The Roger Award is organ-ised by the Christchurch-based groups, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and GATT Watch-dog.

    The Roger was won by Progressive Enterprises in 2006. Previous winners are: Westpac/BNZ, Telecom, Juken Nissho, Carter Holt Harvey, TransAlta Monsanto and TranzRail (3 times).

    Nominations close on 31 October 2007.

    The judges for 2007 are: Laila Harre, from Auckland, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union and former Cabinet Minister; Anton Oliver, from Otago, All Black and environmentalist; Geoff Bertram, from Wel-lington, a Victoria University economist; Brian Turner, from Christchurch, President-Elect of the Methodist Church and social justice activist; Paul Cor-liss, from Christchurch, a life member of the Rail and Mari-time Transport Union; and Cee Payne-Harker, from Dunedin, Industrial Services Manager for the NZ Nurses Organisation and health issues activist.

    The winner(s) will be an-nounced in early 2008 at an event in Christchurch.

    May the worst man win!

    The Roger nomination form (in Word and PDF formats) can be downloaded online from www.cafca.org.nz (follow the Roger Award links from the Views, Analyses and Research page).

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 11


    Seafarers Union scholarships The Seafarers Union schol-arships for 2008 have been launched.

    Four scholarships are avail-able to provide assistance for study at an undergraduate level.

    Two scholarships are for study at an Institute of Technology and are valued at $3000.

    Two scholarships are for study at a university and are valued at $3000.

    Applications for the scholar-ships opened on 1 September and close on 30 November 2007.

    There are a number of condi-tions which applicants must fill to be eligible.

    These details of eligibility are included with the application forms which are available from the Maritime Union website, all Maritime Union Branch Offices or by contacting the Trustees at the National Office of the Union.

    TrusteesSeafarers Union ScholarshipPO Box 27004Wellington


    by Victor BillotThe movies of Alister Barry should be in every union branch and unionists home.

    They tell the story of our recent political history from the perspective of working people.

    The takeover of New Zea-land by an anti-democratic ideology, the use of unem-ployment as a political and economic tool, and the attack on the New Zealand educa-tion system by capitalists and bureaucrats these are the big topics that film-maker Alister Barry has taken on in his docu-mentary movies.

    The Wellington-based documentary maker has just released A Civilized Society, the third part of a trilogy of movies entitled The New Right is Wrong.

    (For younger members, the New Right refers to a politi-cal movement that promotes the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and is against trade unions.)

    The first movie Someone Elses Country (1996) dealt with the hijacking of the New Zealand political system dur-ing the Fourth Labour Govern-ment by a closeknit group of right wing politicians and their allies in the top levels of the Government bureaucracy and big business.

    The second film was In a land of plenty (2001), which showed how mass unemploy-ment had become a policy tool to keep the working class under control.

    Barry has strong connec-tions with trade unions. In 1981 he co-produced a video documentary for the centennial of the New Zealand Seamans Union and he counts seafarers amongst his friends.

    He says his first venture into film-making was in 1975.

    As a young man he sailed on a protest vessel to Mururoa atoll to join the protests against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. He captured footage on 16mm black and white film and edited the film in his bedroom. He was amazed by the response.

    I showed it to TVNZ and they bought it, and screened it at 7.30pm on a Friday night.

    Barry says he realized that film was an avenue for political expression.

    It was a determining event in my life . . . since then, when I havent been busy making a living, Ive always had a docu-mentary project on the go.

    The first ten years he made a number of anti-nuclear and trade union films with Russell Campbell and Rod Prosser at Vanguard Films.

    1996 saw another major step with the release of Someone Elses Country.

    He says it was a decisive mo-ment. The film was screened at film festivals and we got full houses, and sold thousands of VHS copies. It seemed like we had touched a nerve.

    Barry says the reason he has concentrated on the late 1980s and early 1990s period is that the Rogernomics Revolution was the most profound period in New Zealand political his-tory since the First Labour Government.

    It needs to examined and re-examined again its been very important.

    Barry thinks that a renewed push for New Right policies could come if National is re-elected.

    With the ACT Party people who backed Don Brashs lead-ership challenge, their second choice for a leader was John Key . . . they have good politi-cal networks and can manipu-late the political levers.

    He says the biggest challenge facing New Zealand today is low wages.

    The reason we have low wages is a consequence of the New Right reforms. One of the main objectives of Government before that was a living wage and we have to find our way back to that. Its central to the state of our nation.Someone Elses Country, In a Land of Plenty and A Civilized Society are individually available on DVD for $30 each for individuals, $50 for schools and $110 for institutions.Post order to Community Media Trust, PO Box 3563, WellingtonFax 04 4725259Email [email protected]

    A special DVD set of all three movies entitled The New Right is Wrong is also available for $70.

    Witness to our timesThe films of Alister Barry

  • 12 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    What is a flag of convenience ship?

    A ship flies a flag of conven-ience (FOC) when it is regis-tered in a country that is not the country of its owner.

    Why do shipowners register ships in FOC states?

    Shipowners usually register ships in FOC states because they have cheap registra-tion fees and low taxes or no taxes at all. These states also allow shipowners to employ cheap labour, cutting costs by lowering standards of living and working conditions for crewmembers.

    FOC registries also enable shipowners to employ a non-unionised workforce.

    Globalisation has helped to fuel this rush to the bottom.

    In an increasingly fierce competitive shipping market, each new FOC promotes itself by offering the lowest pos-sible fees and the minimum of regulation.

    Similarly, shipowners are forced to look for the cheapest and least regulated ways of running their vessels to remain competitive and FOCs pro-vide the solution.

    How does the ITF decide when to declare a registry a flag of convenience?

    When the ITF declares a registry an FOC, it looks at the number of foreign-owned ves-sels that are registered to the state as well as at:

    the ability and willing-ness of the flag state to enforce international minimum social standards on its vessels this includes respect for human and trade union rights

    the flag states social record focusing, for example, on the extent to which it has ratified and enforced International La-bour Organization conventions and recommendations

    the states safety and environmental record this takes into account factors such as whether or not it has ratified and enforced International Maritime Organization conven-tions.

    What is the ITF doing to challenge FOCs?

    The ITF has been campaign-ing for more than half a cen-tury against FOCs by: establishing a network of in-spectors to investigate suspect ships and win back pay for seafarers negotiating with the own-ers of FOC vessels to ensure that seafarers are protected by minimum standards, outlined in ITF collective bargaining agreements helping to win seafarers compensation if they have suf-fered an injury as a result of an accident on board

    lobbying the International Labour Organization and other international bodies to work towards the elimination of the FOC system and establishment of a regulatory framework for the shipping industry strengthening affiliated un-ions to secure solidarity for the campaign.

    Some facts and figures about FOCs

    Over 22 per cent of the worlds vessels sail under FOCs. Around 50 per cent of passenger vessels worldwide sail under FOCs.

    Whats wrong with FOC regis-tries?

    The ITF believes that there should be a genuine link between the owner of a vessel and the flag the vessel flies, as stipulated in the United Na-tions Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the case of FOC registries, this genuine link does not exist.

    How do FOCs affect seafarers? Seafarers who are employed

    on FOC ships are often denied their basic human and trade union rights. This is because FOC registers do not enforce minimum social standards. The crews home countries can do little to protect them because the rules that apply on board are often those of the country of registration. Most FOC seafarers are not members of a trade union, or if they are, the union frequently has no influence over what happens on board.

    Why are FOCs a security risk? In the raised security envi-

    ronment there are concerns that terrorist organisations can own and operate ships under the FOC system with impunity. Arms smuggling, the ability to conceal large sums of money, trafficking in goods and people, and other illegal activities can also thrive in the unregulated havens that the FOC system provides.

    This is because, as corporate investigators have found, the FOC system makes it easy for a shipowner to remain anony-mous.

    Flag of Convenience Shipping

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 13


    Seafarers on FOC ships fre-quently suffer as a result of: very low wages or no pay at all crew on FOC ships are frequently owed large sums of money without which they cannot even make their own way home poor on-board conditions inadequate food and clean drinking water long periods of work without proper rest unsafe vessels many FOC vessels are substandard because they fail to adhere to scheduled maintenance pro-grammes, which a national flag state would impose

    higher casualty rates poor safety practices lead to fre-quent accidents being blacklisted if they make a complaint this means they may not be able to find alternative employment; some seafarers have even been im-prisoned on their return home.

    For more information on FOC vessels, see http://www.itfglobal.org/flags-convenience/index.cfm

    Koshin Maru self loading incidentThe Maritime Union of New Zealand and the International Transport Workers Federation have written to the Govern-ment over a substantial breach of labour regulations and foreign work permits that has occurred in the Port of Nelson.

    ITF Inspector and Maritime Union Nelson Branch President Bill Lewis visited the fishing vessel F/V KoshinMaru No. 1 at the Port of Nelson in the late afternoon of Friday 27 July 2007, following reports that overseas crew members were discharging fish from the vessel.

    Mr Lewis visited the vessel and witnessed four Indonesian crew working on the wharf alone helping to discharge fish. He visited the ship and spoke to the captain, and also the coolstore supervisor and Tal-leys manager.

    Shore labour was used fol-lowing this intervention by the Union.

    Mr Lewis reports that the vessel was at lay up berth No. 1 which is not normally used for fish discharge. When vessels load or discharge fish at a public wharf stevedoring companies supply labour and when a private fishing com-pany berth then that company uses its own labour.

    Mr Lewis noted that local workers were being denied work they normally carried out.

    The Maritime Union of New Zealand and the ITF have been in touch with the authorities over the incident, seeking assurances that this practice will be clamped down on. A satisfactory result has yet to be achieved and the Union will be following up.

    Ariake officers fail to intimidateThe ITF is alerting its affili-ates to the Ariake following an incident involving officers on the ship.

    On 1 July, a senior official of the Maritime Union of New Zealand representing the ITF went aboard the Ariake to ask the Master to pass on a mes-sage to the German owners.

    This message urged the com-pany to enter talks with the German ITF affiliate to have the vessel covered by an ITF agreement.

    The ITF rep was met at the top of the gangway by the Chief Mate who ordered him off the ship and was extremely abusive.

    The Chief launched into a tirade of abuse which was overheard by another officer who alerted the Captain, who wisely diffused the situation by inviting our rep to his cabin.

    This was a simple mat-ter which should have been treated cordially, with respect and without fuss, says ITF co-ordinator Kathy Whelan.

    Such level of abuse and lack of respect is totally unaccept-able and has caused grave concern within the Union and ITF and cannot be tolerated.

    The incident follows a report received by the ITF in May 2007 of harassment of Filipino crew members by Russian officers.

    Ms Whelan says that given the approach of the Russian Chief Mate against ITF repre-sentatives there are concerns about the crews wellbeing.

    An apology was received from charterers and operators Maersk for the incident.

  • 14 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    by Kathy WhelanSeafarers Missions play a vital part in the International Maritime Community. Most seafarers have visited a mission somewhere/some time.

    After 3 years as Chairper-son, I was elected Honorary Secretary of the New Zealand Welfare Board earlier this year.

    I first became involved in the Welfare Board and its work when I took up the position as ITF Coordinator as the ITF Trust gives financial support to Centres/Missions around the world and I am proud to say that it has supported the New Zealand Centres in many and various ways.

    But the involvement was a natural one as the two are inex-tricably linked both caring for the welfare of seafarers.

    The NZ Seafarers Welfare Board is the coordinating body of the three Christian societies and associated agencies and groups that have an interest in seafarers welfare.

    There are Centres in 12 New Zealand ports offering various services and facilities to seafar-ers, especially foreign seafar-ers coming to our ports. With quick turn arounds of vessels and strict security codes in our ports, seafarers do not have the time or ability to go ashore and the Centres play a crucial role in the daily lives of seafarers.

    The Centres are manned predominantly by volunteers usually older people who have little if any past associa-tion with the sea or its men and women, but give up their time freely to open the centres so the crews can get some respite from their vessels, make contact with family and friends whom they may not have seen for many, many months through the telephone and internet services provided by each centre.

    Some Centres struggle to finance their daily operations, all are worthy of support.

    I am very proud to be as-sociated with the Seafarers Welfare Board and volunteer a little of my time and services. Information on the Seafarers Welfare Board of New Zealand and the location and contact points of all of its centres throughout New Zealand are available on its website www.swb.co.nz

    Seafarers Missions

    We want your stuff.The Maritimes needs your photos, letters, reports, news, views and opinions.Its your magazine!If there is something youd like to see in the Maritimes, send it to PO Box 27004, Wellington, New Zealand or email the editor at [email protected]

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 15


    ITF agreement success on Cape Reinga by Kathy WhelanThe Australian ITF Inspector-ate has the vessel Cape Reinga (IMO 9226504) under target.

    The Cape Reinga is German owned and chartered by Ham-burg Sud, and it is trading ex-tensively on both the Austral-ian and New Zealand coasts without an ITF agreement.

    The vessel arrived in Tau-ranga on Sunday 26 August and a protest letter was deliv-ered and an inspection carried out, coordinated by ITF activist Richard Rankin.

    The vessel has a crew of 23 including 6 Croatians and 17 Chinese.

    The Master, whilst initially arrogant, accepted the letter and assured our delegation that the owner, operators, ships managers and charter-ers are aware that the vessel is the subject of ITF attention. He couldnt help himself by adding a snide remark, you can do what you like but you will never man this vessel.

    The Master advised Richard that there will be two further ships entering the trade. All three ships have been chartered with the existing manning ar-rangements in place but when the contractual arrangements have ended (prior to Christ-mas) the Chinese crews on each ship will be replaced by Filipinos and ITF agreements will be put into place on each vessel.

    We do not know the names of the other two vessels and the master would not tell Richard but that information is easy to obtain.

    Chinese seafarers are the lat-est form of expendable human commodity for employers, they are okay to employ on cheap rate but expendable when bona fide rates and conditions such as ITF agreements are put in place.

    There are several questions to put before charterers Ham-burg Sud but ITF Coordinator for Australia Dean Summers is heading this and will take on that responsibility.

    During the inspection Rich-ard when accompanying the MAF Officer on the galley and stores inspection was alarmed at the quantity and quality of food. The meat and veges were in the same cooler and were suspect certainly not fresh and given the vessel was going deep sea to Cartagena in Co-lumbia, Richard was concerned that the quantity would be insufficient for the duration of the voyage (there was lots of rice which was small consola-tion.) There was also a second cooler that was locked which he suspected was the food for the Croatians.

    The ITF Inspector in Cartage-na will have a look at the stores on arrival and before the vessel is re-provisioned.

    Thanks yet again to Richard Rankin for responding in the trade union way he always does.


    The Maritimes received the following letters from international ITF officers through Kathy Whelan just before going to print.

    Comrade , I have received confirmation

    by our ITF affiliate in Germany that Columbia Ship Manage-ment has now agreed to sign an ITF uniform agreement to protect the rights and condi-tions for all maritime workers employed on the FOC Cape Reinga.

    HMS Whimbrelby Bill McDonald RMT/ITF Inspector, Liverpool There is an on going campaign to bring the HMS Whimbrel from Egypt were she is laid up, to the Port of Liverpool as a fit-ting memorial in regards to the Battle for the Atlantic.

    This vessel played such a vital role during World War Two in defeating the blockade of the Western Approaches and the Battle for the Atlantic. She was a member of Captain Walkers U Boat Hunters based at Liverpool.

    This gallant little vessel also undertook escort duties with numerous convoys. She was present at the D-Day landings, and she was also present as a guard vessel at the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay in September 1945.

    The Battle for the Atlantic was the longest campaign of the Second World War, it re-sulted in the loss of 2,476 ships and claimed the lives of 35,000 merchant seafarers.

    It was also reported at the end of hostilities that the Ger-man U-Boat command had also lost 29,000 submariners.

    As a memorial to all parties and to ensure that the world does not forget and history does not repeat itself, there are moves to bring HMS Whimbrel and the U534 together on the Liverpool waterfront as a fit-ting memorial for all.Visit the HMS Whimbrel website at www.hmswhimbrel.org

    You will recall that the master of this ship specifically rejected any claim the ITF may have on the ship and refused to give us any information.

    It was only through a coor-dinated and targeted cam-paign between Australia, New Zealand and Germany which forced this FOC company to respect workers rights and hu-man rights and to accept their corporate social responsibility.

    Can you please thank activ-ist Richard Rankin and the MUNZ members in Tauranga for their strong position which establishes a key link in our global networks committed to protecting workers rights on the substandard FOC system.

    Yours in UnityDean SummersITF National Coordinator

    Due to the mutual coordinated action against Lib.Cape Reinga the company agreed to sign the ITF/verdi agreement effective from 16 September 2007.

    Because of hard work of MUA, MUNZ, Australian and New Zealand dockers especially the activist Richard Rankin and also MUNZ dock-ers at Tauranga, our union and the ITF Germany want to thank you all for the great job done down under.

    United we stay stronger.

    Best regardsAli MemonITF Coordinator Germany

  • 16 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    by Frank Leys ITF Dockers SecretaryEighty per cent of consumer goods are transported by sea, and must at some stage be loaded and unloaded from a ship.

    This means that at least 80 per cent of consumer goods are handled at least twice by those workers we call dockers, steve-dores, longshoremen, wharfies or whichever term is used.

    Let me call them dock-ers here, first of all since that is what I was called when I worked in the port of Ant-werp, secondly, since when the European Commission wanted to introduce self-handling of goods by seafarers, the slogan proud to be a docker reflect-ed the unity of those who earn a living by handling cargo.

    When you look at the contri-bution of dockers to the world economy, one would expect that these professionals would be enjoying excellent condi-tions worldwide.

    But look at the facts, and it is clear we still have a long way to go. Even in the ports where acceptable standards are in place, these conditions are be-ing challenged.

    Still proud to be a dockerGlobal companies

    The term Global Network Terminals (GNT) must sound familiar to everyones ears by now, especially taking into account last years commotion surrounding the takeover of P&O by DP World.

    More than half the worlds container terminal capacity is managed by a small group of companies, some of which are state run organisations. These GNTs are responsible for more than 50 per cent of the worlds container throughput, and they are setting the standards of the industry.

    The same operator in one part of the world, that respects workers rights and maintains a social dialogue, might be acting as a union buster in another.

    Where in one port the com-pany will employ the existing registered dockers, in other ports it will sack the existing workforce, specifically those who stand up for their rights, and employ non-unionised and casual labour.

    In some cases the company will even set up a trade un-ion-like institution to suggest to the outside world that the company is worker-friendly.

    The reality is that some of the worlds biggest container terminals do not even employ their dockers. They leave that to agencies that will hire work-ers on a contractual basis and deny them job and income security. When the terminal operator is challenged to as-sume responsibility on labour-related issues it simply waives its responsibility, stating that it is not a party to the labour contract and has nothing to do with the employee. Go and see the contractor, is its answer.

    We remain convinced however, that dockers around the world should enjoy the freedom to join a democratic trade union, which represents them in negotiations with the employer over labour-related issues.

    CasualisationILO Dock Work Conven-

    tion 137 provides that dock-ers should be registered and should enjoy permanent or reg-ular employment that assures them an income. This conven-tion was agreed in 1973.

    The reality in the 21st cen-tury is that dockers in many ports are hired and fired at will.

    While dockers work in some of the major ports is still regu-lated, these rules are seen by some neo-liberal decision mak-ers as unacceptable restrictions on the market and no longer practicable in modern ports.

    International institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO, and regional in-stitutions such as the Euro-pean Union are key driving forces behind liberalisation and deregulation. They reason that the invisible hand of the market will create benefits for all. Transport has to be cheap and efficient.

    Employing casual workers in the ports seems to be the preferred way to cut costs fur-ther: dockers who are on call and who you only pay a lump sum per shift no overtime, no social benefits, no social protec-tion. This is the magic answer to the demands of capital.

    It goes without saying that casual workers who have not received adequate training, are a risk to the safety of their fel-low workers and themselves.

    Work accidents hurt not only the victims, but are also bad for productivity.

    On the subject of productiv-ity, well-trained, well-remuner-ated labour is undoubtedly more productive.

    Many terminal operators now regularly use contractors and casual labour.

    The Maritime Department of Hong Kong (until recently the worlds largest container port), has since February 2005 issued six notices in relation to the safety requirements that must be observed during container operations, and we are convinced that this list will get longer.

    Additionally there is the is-sue of security in ports. Every-one is entitled to work in a safe and secure environment.

    A secure port environment does not go together with a casual, non-registered work-force. Who knows the wharves, warehouses and sheds better than those dockers who work there on a regular basis?

    They can and should play an important role in the imple-mentation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. Their representatives are or should be members of the Port Security Advisory Committee. They are the eyes and ears of the Port (Facility) Security officer.

    Ports in the supply chainWorldwide we are confront-

    ed with an offensive against trade union rights and the effective unionisation of dock-ers. Goods are increasingly produced, packaged and sold across national borders and the economy is largely dependent on a global supply chain with-out disruption. The repercus-sions of blockages in the flow of goods were demonstrated by the US West Coast ports dispute of 2002, and are now common knowledge.

    Another example of the vulnerability of this just in time manufacturing process was revealed when a car plant had to go on part-time working because the vessel that carried the containers with the spare parts it needed to continue working, had run aground.

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 17


    This demonstrates an obvi-ous but key point that all the links in the supply chain are crucial to the end result.

    One of the most important links in the chain is the port and its workers. Historically, dockers have been militant and well organised. They do not just take no for an answer. Might this be the reason why they are seen as a major risk factor in disrupting the flow of goods?

    Those shippers of goods, often large conglomerates, do not like risks. So in order to minimise the risk of disruption and maximise the profits, they want to remove this perceived obstacle of organised dockers.

    There will always be a need for people who handle cargo a need recognised even when the European Commission be-lieved that this could be done as well by those who transport the goods, the seafarers.

    Workers who enjoy little or no protection are more vulner-able and less likely to revolt. Break the union and their member is the goal. Bring in the casual workers, and if they do not suit the purpose there will be more available where they came from.

    Of course this is not the case everywhere. Some enlightened employers rightly speak of human capital a happy worker is an indispensable part of the company.

    CompetitionThe port industry is already

    very competitive. Shippers of large quantities of goods can set the rules.

    Competition can only be beneficial when it promotes efficiency in a safe working en-vironment, and the benefits of that efficiency are distributed among all the workers.

    Competition at all costs, by contrast, jeopardises the health and safety of workers and pro-motes a downward spiral for wages and labour conditions. You can only stretch a wire so far before it breaks.

    At the ITF we want to emphasise once more that those who earn a living from working in the port should be able to do this in a workplace where at least the conditions as described in the core labour standards, covered in the eight fundamental ILO conventions, are respected.

    Dockers should enjoy decent working hours, earn fair wag-es, benefit from occupational health and safety regulations, work in a secure environment, and work to high professional standards.

    We will not accept ports of convenience in other words, substandard ports in the 21st century. There is no need for them.

    Ports and terminals around the world must ensure accept-able standards are in place and that workers are free from exploitation.

    Frank Leys is ITF dockers secretary, based in London.

    Dockers should enjoy decent working hours, earn fair wages, benefit from occupational health and safety regulations, work in a secure environment, and work to high professional standards


  • 18 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    by Rosaleen Loughman CTU Health and Safety OrganizerI recently started as the Health and Safety Organiser with the NZCTU - and what a start it has been!

    Between the launch of the Stage 3 training for elected Health and Safety Representatives and the Learning Reps graduation at Wellington, trainers days and conferences, I have met more union delegates, health and safety reps, MPs and government officials than I would have expected to meet in a lifetime!

    Ive had a good induction period and I am quickly learning that health and safety is at the heart of all of the CTUs activities.

    Workplace PracticesIt has been great to meet with delegates

    and health and safety reps and to hear the feedback about the difference that they can make in their workplaces through the pro-motion of good health and safety practices.

    Im particularly impressed with the role which the training received has played, whether it be actively participating in health and safety management on the ground, through influencing work prac-tices of work colleagues, or dealing with managers to improve practices around the culture of health and safety.

    Stage 3 LaunchOn 8 August I attended the Stage 3

    launch of the Health and Safety Rep train-ing, which has been developed in partner-ship with the CTU, ACC and Business NZ.

    The presence of Jan White, Ruth Dyson, Kerry Prendergast, and many MPs from across the political spectrum at the launch, reflects the esteem in which the training is held.

    But more than this, it signals that work-place health and safety is on the political agenda. A significant component of the training uses a case study to assist the learners collate and document facts about the costs and benefits associated with making a health and safety improvement on the job.

    A presentation is then put together along with a recommendation focusing on how the improvement will impact on productivity.

    Stage 3 is the next step in the consolida-tion of skills and knowledge of health and safety representatives. So far the NZCTU has trained over 17,000 reps at Stage One, over 6,000 reps at Stage Two, and 1,000 at Stage Three.

    Learning Reps GraduationOn 23 August, the first group of Learn-

    ing Reps graduated at a ceremony at the CTU offices in Wellington.

    The learning representatives project is a CTU initiative, which is funded through the Tertiary Education Commission as part of the tripartite Skill NZ programme.

    The Learning Rep is a workers advo-cate, involved in promoting the learning aspirations of workers career progres-sion, job enhancement, reward for skill, and employability.

    Reps help workers to get the training they need and to advise them about learn-ing opportunities.

    It is also about gaining the skills they need to be active participants in their workplace, industry and the wider society. The project is also about building sustain-able and productive industries in New Zealand.

    Workplace Productivity Education Pro-gramme

    The Learning Reps and the Health and Safety rep training both support the Work-place Productivity Education Programme to look at how we can work smarter rath-er than work harder, through the develop-ment of a skilled workforce and looking at safe systems of work, as part of the seven drivers of productivity. So far in my short time as the Health and Safety Organiser with the CTU, I am encouraged to see how the CTUs many projects, training courses and work supports each other.

    For more information about:

    Health and Safetyhttp://worksafereps.org.nz/Contact Monica OConnell at [email protected]

    Learning Repshttp://www.learningreps.org.nz/Contact George Laird at [email protected]

    Workplace Productivity Education Programmehttp://union.org.nz/workplaceproductivity.htmlContact Sandy ONeil at [email protected]

    Health and Safety Update

    The Learning Rep is a workers advocate, involved in promoting the learning aspirations of workers career progression, job enhancement, reward for skill, and employability

    CTU Health and Safety Organizer Rosaleen Loughman with H&S rep Gary Innes

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 19


    Learning RepsCTU

    by Sam HuggardLearning Reps who completed the first stage of their training were honoured at a graduation ceremony at the Council of Trade Unions last week.

    The Learning Rep is a new representative role, elected by the workers in an enterprise to play a leadership role in en-couraging workplace learning.

    It is an initiative of the Coun-cil of Trade Unions, funded through the Tertiary Education Commission as part of the tri-partite Skill NZ programme in-volving the TEC, the NZCTU, Business NZ and the Industry Training Federation.

    Last weeks event was the first graduation in the Learn-ing Reps project, and included members of the Maritime Union, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and the Serv-ice and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota.

    Robyn Campbell found out about the project through in-formation from her union and was immediately interested.

    The thing Im interested in is literacy, she told The Unionist at the graduation last week. In our workforce, lots of people dont have the ability to read and write as well as they could.

    She found the programme useful. The training was cool, because we could throw ideas at each other, and it was much better than doing it alone. When I hit a blank on my assignment I rang up another Rep and got some feedback.

    Russell Baines is Area Manager for Idea Services in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, and he was at the launch also, and also discussed the impor-tance of literacy.

    Our organisation made a commitment to working with the Learning Reps project, reflected in the current Collec-tive Employment Agreement, he said.

    Ours is a workforce where even literacy can be a struggle for some. It was a good feel-ing, knowing that the impetus was coming from both bottom up from the workforce and from management alike. It was great to see the number of Idea Services workers in the first co-hort, and Im looking forward to Stage 2.

    Many Learning Reps are also Health and Safety reps, and in time, any credits workers at-tain through the Learning Reps programme will be able to be built into an overall qualifica-tion on the skills of being a worker representative.There is more information about new developments in the Learning Reps project in their July newsletter, accessible here http://www.learningreps.org.nz/index.asp?PageID=2145844904

    CTU Update

    by Ross Wilson New Zealand Council of Trade Unions PresidentWith the labour market this tight, wages are still stubbornly low.

    If we are to make any head-way in closing the 30% wage gap with Australia we need to see a number of things happen, including much more wide-spread collective bargaining on an industry basis, along-side continued efforts in skill development, lifting productiv-ity and improving the quality of work - including security of hours.

    Improving the wages and working conditions of many groups of low paid workers has been a major focus for the CTU in recent months.

    We have worked with our af-filiates in the health sector who campaigned hard to improve the conditions of workers in aged care and hospitals.

    The recent budget boost, coupled with a DHB contrac-tual requirement for aged care employers to work collectively, is a vital part of improving pay, conditions, and building better standards for these workers. It was a direct result of union organising and campaigning.

    And hospital service workers have also had a major victory recently, with a major nation-wide lift in pay and condi-tions for over 3,000 cleaners, orderlies and kitchen workers.

    This was despite a protracted lockout of 800 Service and Food Workers Union members working for Spotless Services, who tried to bully their way out of the national pay agree-ment.

    These hospital workers stood strong collectively in their union and wouldnt let the company starve them back to work.

    Their success depended on the support they received from other workers, unions and their communities, and MUNZ played its part too, as it did last year when the supermarket supply chain workers were locked out.

    And union campaigning against age based discrimina-tion in minimum wages for 16 and 17 year olds saw a number of parties support a modified proposal to end youth rates.

    This is a huge step forward for thousands of young work-ers who when this change is implemented will receive a big increase in pay and a recogni-tion that the work they are doing is being properly paid.

    In the wider policy area, the two key issues of retirement savings and home ownership have been main focuses also.

    House prices are still out-stripping wages by 4 to 1, and the CTU suggested a number of measures to tackle this when we presented our views to a parliamentary enquiry on home affordability recently, including a capital gains tax on investment housing (not the family home).

    Unions have also cam-paigned for years to improve second-tier superannuation and this years enhancements to KiwiSaver will mean a huge boost for the income levels of workers and their families in retirement. There are certainly problems for people on low wages, and again, the solution to this lies in more widespread collective bargaining to im-prove the wages of our lowest paid workers.

  • 20 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    The New Zealand waterfront has become embroiled in an international dispute involving war profiteering, African phos-phate and Norwegian ships.

    The Norwegian owned but UK-based company Gearbulk exports phosphates from Western Sahara. Their bulk transport vessels regularly call in New Zealand ports including Bluff and Mount Maun-ganui.

    The president of the Association of Sa-hrawis in Norway, Sidahmed Salem, says Gearbulk must stop the plundering of our country immediately.

    Every single day, our friends and mem-bers of our families are subjected to serious human rights violations from the Moroc-can forces in Western Sahara. Gearbulks management and owners must try to un-derstand what this conflict is all about, and realise that they are partly responsible for the human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara, says Salem.

    The political situation in Western Sahara has parallels with the invasion and occu-pation of East Timor by Indonesia between 1975 and 1999.

    According to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975.

    A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sah-rawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determina-tion.

    The profitable phosphate industry in Western Sahara is controlled by a Moroc-can governmental phosphate company, OCP.

    The phosphate deposits in the country were one of the reasons that Western Sa-hara was occupied in 1975, and still gives Morocco huge revenue.

    The exploitation is in violation of inter-national law, and contributes to finance the costly occupation.

    The story on the Gearbulk shipment to New Zealand was covered by the major Norwegian broadcaster in September 2007.

    The shipping company Gearbulk is 60% owned by the Norwegian Jebsen family.

    The company has its main office in London, and is registered in Bermuda. The last time Gearbulk sent a vessel to New Zealand was June 2007. At the time, parliamentarians from four countries protested the trade in a letter to Gearbulk and Jebsen.

    For more information about the Gearbulk shipment, please see www.vest-sahara.noAn English translation of the Norwegian TV clip on Gearbulk working in New Zealand ports is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMholJ4G9MI

    Phosphate ships targeted in international campaign

    The New Zealand waterfront has become embroiled in an international dispute involving war profiteering, African phosphate and Norwegian ships

  • www.munz.org.nz The Maritimes | October 2007 | 21


    by Garry Parsloe, Auckland Seafarers Secretary National Vice PresidentOn the 21 June 2007 the CTU Unions Auckland held the Auckland CTU/Government Forum at the Ellerslie Event Centre in Auckland.

    I opened the forum by giving an outline of the purpose of the Forum and the Agenda.

    The first hour (5pm-6pm) was set aside for a CTU Unions Auckland presentation.

    In this section we had a presentation from CTU Secre-tary Carol Beaumont on key CTU projects and work areas, then a presentation from the Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council Mike Lee on the importance of Local Body Elections.

    We also heard from Anthony Rimmel on the ACC/CTU Advocacy Service and Linda Holt regarding the Working Womens Resource Centre, before I summed up on the importance of getting involved in Unions Auckland and all the campaigns.

    At 6pm CTU Vice President Helen Kelly welcomed the Prime Minister to the Forum.

    The Prime Minister then spoke at length on the impor-tance of returning a Labour led Government at the next elections before we broke into Workshops.There were four Workshops:A. Transport with Annette King.B. Economic Transformation with Trevor Mallard.C. Employment Relations with Ruth Dyson.D. Working for Families and Employment with David Cunliffe.

    Spotless dispute in Aucklandby Garry Parsloe, Auckland Seafarers Secretary National Vice PresidentAs soon as we received the news that Spotless had locked their workers out, Russell Mayn and myself immediately visited the picket lines where I was given the opportunity to address these workers on behalf of MUNZ and the CTU Auckland Unions.

    In my presentation I was able to deliver both moral and financial assistance.

    I went on to explain that the Maritime Unions have had years of experience in fighting these type of employers and that this fight was one that all workers in all Unions would need to fight collectively.

    Workers must unite together to defeat these out of control employers.

    We also attended Delegates meetings at Middlemore Hos-pital where we were able to get directly involved in planning a strategy on how to deal with Spotless.

    At the end of the week (Friday 4pm) CTU Unions Auckland met to discuss how best to support the locked out Spotless workers.

    All the Unions agreed that one of the most important actions was to get financial support to these workers as soon as possible and for that reason all Unions agreed to assist in bucket collections all over Auckland.

    We had set the MUNZ bucket collection day for the 26 July 2007 but it was called off as on the 23 July the court ruled that the lockout was ille-gal and all workers were to be re-employed immediately.

    This was a great decision from the Court but what cant be understated is all the sup-port from all the Unions. This set the scene for the victory.

    United we stand.

    Auckland CTU Government Forum

    Auckland Seafarers

    These Workshops were very well structured and of benefit to all those who attended.

    When the Workshops ended the facilitators reported back before I opened the Forum up to a question and answer session.

    This session was also of great value.

    At 8.30 we had a wrap up from the Prime Minister, Carol Beaumont then myself before I closed what was a most productive Government-CTU Forum.

    Auckland Seafarers President John ONeill, Auckland Seafarer Jack Wyatt, Auckland Seafarers Secretary Garry Parsloe and Auckland Branch Executive member Sean Kelleher at the Auckland CTU Government Forum

  • 22 | The Maritimes | October 2007 www.munz.org.nz


    Auckland Waterfront Local 13

    Auckland Local 13 Secretary Russell Mayn, Auckland Seafarers Secretary Garry Parsloe, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Local 13 President De