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1 Issue 9 • April 2005 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418 Unions face global free trade attack Bill Andersen remembered • Port Roundups Union amalgamation • Ferry Tales • Health and Safety • Training Interport 2005 photo special • Sports • Book Reviews and more! The Maritimes Charting a course to the future at the Seafarers’ Strategy Conference Methyl bromide: are workers safe? Death in the Southern Ocean: why are fishermen dying on joint venture trawlers? Second Anniversary Edition

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The official magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand

Text of The Maritimes April 2005

  • 1Issue 9 April 2005 Magazine of the Maritime Union of New Zealand ISSN 1176-3418

    Unions face global free trade attackBill Andersen remembered Port RoundupsUnion amalgamation Ferry Tales Health and Safety Training Interport 2005 photo special Sports Book Reviews and more!

    TheMaritimesCharting a course to the future at the Seafarers Strategy Conference

    Methyl bromide:are workers safe?

    Death in the Southern Ocean:why are fishermen dying on joint

    venture trawlers?

    Second Anniversary Edition

  • 22005 a year of challenges for Maritime Union

    by Trevor Hanson General Secretary

    The Maritime Union is facing chal-lenging times but we are making good progress in working towards our goals.

    There is no room for complacency though, and 2005 is shaping up to be a busy year.

    Some of the major issues we will face in the upcoming months include amalgamation with the Rail and Mari-time Transport Union, the impact of the importing of overseas labour through the free trade system, and ongoing is-sues such as Methyl Bromide and the ex-tremely bad state of our fishing industry.

    These topics are dealt with through-out this issue of the Maritimes but it is worthwhile to add a quick overview of some of them here.

    AmalgamationAll members were recently sent a

    letter outlining the successful progress of talks with the RMTU about joining together our two Unions into a new organization.

    Although these talks have been on-going for some time, it appears that we have made a breakthrough in coming to agreement on the structure and opera-tion of a new united Union.

    The advantages of a united Union means that we will have one strong Union on the waterfront instead of two.

    It also means that we will be in a united position to deal with employers such as Toll who operate throughout the transport and logistics sector.

    By uniting rail workers, seafarers and waterfront workers under one Union, we can then present a united front to employers.

    The decision in the end will be made by the members of both Unions.

    We should note that the amalgama-tion of the Waterfront Workers Union and Seafarers Union has provided a strong base with which we can move on to further strength in the transport sector.

    Strategy ConferenceI had the opportunity to present a

    paper at the Strategy Conference that was organized by the Wellington Seafar-ers Branch and held in March in Wel-

    lington.The conference was an important

    practical step in forming a united strat-egy to deal with a large scale employer like Toll.

    A good number of delegates and guests including a delegation from the Maritime Union of Australia attended the conference and worked over several days to exchange ideas about how we can successfully get results for workers when dealing with this type of em-ployer.

    Overseas Labour and free tradeThe issue of overseas labour being

    imported into New Zealand for so-called labour shortages is not going away.

    The Maritime Union has been disap-pointed by the response of the Govern-ment to the issue.

    Simply put, the Union sees the at-tempts to introduce large numbers of overseas workers into New Zealand as a serious threat to wages and conditions and job security.

    We have been in touch with the MUA and the ITF on the issue, both of whom share our concern that self-loading is being forced upon us.

    Overseas crews will do waterfront workers work, and workers will be divided against workers to compete in a race to the bottom in seeing who can do the cheapest work.

    International free trade deals dreamed up by bureaucrats will en-sure that a ready supply of casualized, short term labour can be sourced from countries like China where a police state works hand in hand with big business to keep a lid on workers rights.

    The Maritime Union is leading the fight in defending jobs for local workers with good terms and conditions.

    If overseas workers are required, then let them be paid the same rates as local workers and brought in through planned immigration, not treated as human cattle and moved around at the whim of employers.

    The current system is leading us down a very dark road.

    Driving in portsThe Government seems to be intent

    on aggravating its supporters by some of its recent decisions.

    I was recently informed by Harry Duynhoven that ports are going to be considered private areas under transport laws.

    This means that the mix and match system that is now in existence will dis-appear and probably all employers will use the competent person provisions in the Port Code.

    The same will apply to operators of cargo handling mobile machinery they will have to be trained and proved com-petent, then be reassessed every three years.

    Despite the fact that cars, workers and often the public are to be found on the wharf, the law makers are going to sweep the matter under the carpet by designating ports as being private areas rather than as the large scale, multi-op-erator, densely populated industrial sites that they are.

    The Maritime Union made a simple and relatively cost free proposal to Government: that all machinery used in cargo operations in a port should be registered and warranted, and the driv-ers of this machinery have applicable licences for what ever machinery they drive.

    This position we felt was necessary particularly in the instance of a fatal accident where the Police are called in, because the first question they ask is the driver licensed.

    The other benefit would have been all drivers would have licences for fu-ture employment opportunities.

    As with many of our dealings with this Government, they simply wont listen.

    Lets hope it doesnt take a tragedy to make them change their minds.

  • 3The MaritimesEdition 9, April 2005

    ContentsTrevor Hanson Report ............... 2Amalgamation agenda ............... 3Phil Adams Report .................... 4News ................................... 5Lithuanians in Lyttelton ............. 6Methyl Bromide ...................... 8ITF News ............................... 10Vice Presidents Report ... .... ..... 12Delegate Training ................... 13Health and safety .................... 14Death in the Southern Ocean ...... 15Interport Photo Special ............. 16Bill Andersen Obituary .............. 18Seafarers Conference............... 19Port Roundup ......................... 20Sports Section ........................ 29Book Review .......................... 30Ferry tales ............................ 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 and Joe Fleetwood

    Thanks to the photographers including Terry Ryan, Rod Prosser, Harry Holland, Paul MacLennan, istockphoto.com, Phil Spanswick, Gary Parsloe, Odette Shaw, Les Wells, and other contributors.

    Cover photo: Delegates and guests at the Wellington Seafarers Strategy Conference, March 2005 (photo by Rod Prosser)

    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: 29 April 2005 for next edition

    Amalgamation on the agendaRepresentatives from the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) met in Wellington on 2223 February 2005 to discuss the possible amalgamation of the two Unions.

    The discussions focussed on out-standing matters as well as new matters that had arisen since the last meeting.

    The purpose of the meeting was to create a proposal for a new amalgamated Union that meets the needs of workers in the maritime and rail transport sectors now and in the future.

    The basis of the proposal follows:Timeline

    The proposal will go to the individual Executives of both Unions for their con-sideration.

    The two Executives will meet sepa-rately in early May 2005 to consider the proposal.

    The two Executives will then meet together and consider the proposal together.

    If the Individual Executives and the Joint Executives decide to proceed with the proposal, they will then make a rec-ommendation to the membership.

    Membership meetings will then be conducted with officials of both Unions.

    Extensive detailed information will be provided to members at that time, and members will then take part in a nation-wide vote.

    A simple majority in each Union will decide the matter for that Union.

    If the proposal is successful, an inau-gural Conference of the new Union will be held in June.

    Proposed Union Amalgamation A single new Union will be established

    by amalgamating the two existing Unions.

    A transition phase will be implement-ed for a period of 16 months from the date of the Inaugural Conference.

    Each Union will have equal represen-

    tation on the Transitional Management Committee.

    There will be two Joint Presidents, two Joint Vice-Presidents, and two Joint General Secretaries, being the existing office holder from each Union, for the period of the transition.

    Industrial Councils will be established with elected reps from that particu-lar industry. These Councils will be responsible for industrial matters relat-ing to that industry.

    The Ports Councils will be established and a meeting held as quickly as pos-sible following the Inaugural Confer-ence.

    As a point of principle, single Mari-time branches will be established in each port as soon as practicable.

    A National Conference will be held annually with elected delegates repre-senting each branch.

    National Officials will be elected by the membership at large.

    A national Management Commit-tee structure will be established by Conference at the conclusion of the transition period.

    Branches will still elect their officials. As at present, if a branch has sufficient funds, the branch will be able to fund elected officials for the period of their term.

    All persons paid for by Union funds and employed by the Union shall have Employment Agreements with the National Office.

    Union fees will remain at present levels for the period of the transition. The first conference at the end of the transition period will then decide on any future fee for the new Union.

    A name is still to be determined.This sets out the outline of the pro-

    posal. All members will be invited to attend

    the upcoming meetings to discuss the proposal and the future of Unionism in the maritime and rail transport indus-tries.

  • 4A collective approach is the way forward for workers

    This is the second anniversary issue of the Maritimes.

    Since the Maritimes started in 2003 it has been a busy time for the Union and we can say the joining together of water-front workers and seafarers has been a positive step.

    However we are facing a number of issues in the industry and I would like to mention a couple of these to you.

    Lithuanians in LytteltonThe Maritime Union put the issue

    of overseas labour well into the public spotlight recently when John Jeffrey and Les Wells at our Lyttelton Branch alerted us to a group of overseas workers living in converted containers within the gates.

    The Union investigated and opened up a can (or container) of worms.

    The Port Company said the contain-ers were not in a safe place and ordered them to be moved onto the ship.

    The Maritime Safety Authority inter-vened to say that it was not permitted to house workers on board containers sitting on a ship.

    The Immigration Department then investigated and found the overseas workers did not have work permits and ordered them to stop work.

    Then the Government intervened and got them work permits.

    The Maritime Union says this kind of disgraceful carry on is unacceptable and we feature an article about this issue in this issue of the Maritimes.

    The Fishing IndustryThe Maritime Union has been taking

    a close interest in the fishing industry as of late.

    This is because lots of local workers are getting laid off.

    The blame is put on the hoki quota being cut, but of course the only reason the quota was cut in the first place is due to overfishing in the last few years.

    Fishing companies are now laying up trawlers then putting them back to work manned with overseas crew who are paid rock bottom wages.

    The Maritime Union has been in touch with the New Zealand Fishing Industry Guild whose South Island Organizer Louis Hart has asked to be sent a copy of a Government report into conditions of overseas workers in the New Zealand fishing industry.

    The Government refuse to hand it over we can only ask why.

    Something badly wrong aboard foreign trawlers

    The Maritime Union and its mem-bers are often called to act as the local representatives of the ITF.

    This means keeping an eye on what is going on in New Zealand waters.

    We keep seeing incidents on many foreign flagged ships in New Zealand waters where crews are being exploited or badly treated.

    It seems ridiculous that the Union should have to be enforcing the law of the land while Government agencies turn a blind eye to what is going on.

    This issue of the Maritimes features an article about two fishing vessels which have seen a string of deaths, inju-ries and accidents over the last several years.

    There is something badly wrong and action needs to be taken.

    Methyl BromideThe pressure is mounting on the

    use of Methyl Bromide as a fumigant in New Zealand ports.

    Recent media attention and a televi-sion documentary focused on the Port of Nelson where five workers from the port have died from Motor Neuron disease.

    Although authorities are claiming there is no connection, the Union is supporting calls for a full inquiry and a precautionary approach.

    We have been made aware of a num-ber of incidents where exposure to this deadly chemical has occurred.

    The one thing that has come out is that the regulations governing the use of Methyl Bromide are completely out of date from 1967.

    New laws are coming into force on

    May 1, but the Maritime Union will be asking why it has taken so long to get things sorted out.

    Hopefully it will not just be another bureaucratic reshuffle.

    Election 2005This year is election year and the

    Union urges all members to use their democratic rights and get out there and vote.

    We also urge members to vote for the right people.

    As the Maritime Union of Australia pointed out, 30% of Australian workers voted for the class enemy John Howard.

    Voting for the bosses party is the equivalent of voting to get mugged.

    Currently we have a Labour Govern-ment that seems to be steady enough in the polls.

    However they have some strange friends and it is important that the next Labour Government has some pressure to keep moving in the right direction.

    MMP offers us the opportunity to vote strategically.

    For example, it would be useful for the Green Party to get a good number of MPs as they have supported the Union on issues such as cabotage and free trade.

    Likewise the Alliance Party has poli-cies in line with the Union.

    Obviously we need to keep National and ACT out as the first priority.

    But we need to make sure that the Labour Party does not forget where its voting support comes from as they have a habit of doing.

    Gains like four weeks holiday and a rise in the minimum wage are good.

    But we do not want to see these gains swept away by ill-considered schemes such as the free trade deals.

    It is especially important that our younger members are kept informed politically, as apathy and the me-first philosophy go hand in hand.

    The alternative is the collective soli-darity that a Union provides and works for politically and industrially.

  • 5National OfficeTelephone: 04 3850 792Fax: 04 3848 766Address: PO Box 27004, WellingtonOffice administrator: Valentina GorayEmail: [email protected]

    General Secretary: Trevor HansonDirect dial: 04 801 7614Mobile: 0274 453 532Email: [email protected]

    National President: Phil AdamsDirect dial: 03 4728 052Mobile: 0274 377 601Email: [email protected]

    Contact the Maritime UnionNational Vice President: Joe FleetwoodMobile: 021 364 649Email: [email protected]

    Assistant General Secretary: Terry RyanMobile: 021 186 6643Email: [email protected]

    ITF Inspectorate: Kathy WhelanDirect dial: 04 801 7613Mobile: 021 666 405Email: [email protected]

    Communications Officer: Victor BillotMobile: 021 482 219Email: [email protected]

    Wood you believe it?New Zealands exports are threatened by huge increases in shipping costs.

    Enormous demand from the Chinese economy has seen the cost of shipping go through the roof.

    The volume of freight between Asia and New Zealand rose by nearly a third last year.

    Some New Zealand log exporters are now putting logs in containers after the cost of bulk carriers has risen fourfold.

    The Maritimes asks isnt this a perfect example of why a planned New Zealand shipping industry would be a good idea? Or even better, a publicly owned shipping line that would en-sure New Zealands vital exports are not endangered by wild fluctuations in the global market and cash gouging by trans-national shipping lines?

    Tiger loose on waterfrontThree exotic mosquito species were found in the mixing bowl of a concrete truck imported from Japan in March at the Ports of Auckland.

    One species was identified as the Japanese tiger mosquito, which can spread Japanese encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus, which are potentially fatal.

    The species has long, slim legs and tiger like stripes on the belly.

    Charges over dead fisherman

    Nelson-based fishing company Sealord is facing charges relating to the death of fisherman Hugh Hope.

    Mr Hope (60), of Dovedale, died last September after becoming trapped in heavy processing machinery aboard the trawler Aoraki in the Southern Ocean.

    The Maritime Safety Authority says charges had been laid under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

    News shorts

    Industrial SceneSome low level industrial action has been taking place in both North and South Islands.

    After a 48-hour stoppage in March, the Maritime Union has got negotia-tions moving along again with Pacifica Stevedoring in Wellington, according to Wellington Waterfront Branch Secretary John Whiting.

    In Lyttelton, employees of the Lyttelton Port Company spent four weeks working to roster in March with discussions continuing, and Lyttelton Branch Secretary Les Wells says talks are continuing with Toll and Pacifica.

    Meanwhile, Port Chalmers Branch is putting the finishing touches on a three-year agreement with Port Otago.

    From left: Lana Kerr, Casey Hesp, Charisma Fuhrer and Taffy Jones at the Seafarers Strategy Conference in March 2005 (see page 19 for full report)

    Delegates and guests of the Seafarers Strategy Conference are welcome onto the Pacifica picket at the Port of Wellington

    Pacifica picket, Wellington, March 2005

  • 6Tin Can Alley the strange tale of how six Lithuanians in Lyttelton opened a container of worms

    by Victor Billot

    Lyttelton seafarer John Jeffrey was making his way to work in January 2005, when he noticed a strange new collection of containers propped up on blocks on the Lyttelton waterfront.

    Jeffrey, an executive member of the Lyttelton branch of the Maritime Union, realized that the containers were of an interesting new type.

    They had ranchslider doors, and contained beds.

    He talked to Lyttelton Maritime Union organizer Les Wells, and the national office of the Union and the ITF were soon informed as well.

    Thus began the unravelling of a strange tale that ended with television news stories, investigations by maritime safety officials, questions being asked in Parliament, and senior Government figures getting involved to smooth over another example of the problems of an international free market in workers.

    The Maritime Union made its initial investigations into who was being housed in the mystery containers.

    Welcome to your new homeIt turned out that six workers had

    arrived from Germany on Saturday 29

    January 2005 to do repair work on the Forum Rarotonga II, a German-owned vessel in dry dock in Lyttelton.

    As is common in the maritime indus-try, the situation was complicated by the involvement of several operators.

    A number of different companies were involved with the ship.

    It was owned by German firm Baum and Co., but chartered to New Zealand company Pacific Forum Line.

    The contract for the repair work was with Lyttelton firm Stark Brothers, a marine engineering firm.

    Manager Andrew Stark told the Christchurch Press he had leased the container units, and then on-leased them to the German shipowners.

    Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson told media the situation appeared to be a case of foreign workers being imported into New Zealand and living in conditions that would not be regarded as acceptable to New Zealand-ers.

    This is a group of workers who are living on the waterfront, next to their job, in metal boxes sitting on blocks, and the situation does not seem right to us, he said.

    The Union was concerned the flow on effect of makeshift accommodation

    could have on local workers who often transfer between ports for jobs.

    The converted containers were initially to be three berthers, but after union officials talked to the owners representatives they were made into two berthers.

    The containers apparently had no electricity or services, with the workers eating on board the ship and washing in an ablution block on the wharf.

    One local worker complained that these toilet and shower facilities had not been cleaned and were an absolute disgrace.

    Widespread publicity followed with television crews coming down to the Port and being denied access at the gates.

    A container of wormsLyttelton Port Company CEO Peter

    Davie said the containers had to be moved off the wharf because they were not in a safe place.

    He ordered the containers to be moved aboard the Forum Rarotonga II, but the CEO who described the issue as a storm in a teacup found that the law of New Zealand had a different view.

    The Maritime Safety Authority quickly intervened and slapped a notice on the Forum Rarotonga II on 2 Febru-ary under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

    The present position of accommo-dating ships crew in portable accom-modation units is to be discontinued and either accommodation is supplied onboard to the standard required by ILO conventions 92 and 123, or the crew members accommodated in the units are provided with suitable hotel accommo-dation, ordered the MSA.

    The employers were on a hiding to nothing. They put the workers in accom-modation onshore.

    Questions askedHowever, as is so often the case in

    the maritime industry, where there is smoke there is often fire.

    On Thursday 3 February, New Zealand First MP Peter Brown asked in Parliaments Question Time why foreign ships crews were working on the New Zealand waterfront.

    Immigration Minister Paul Swain answered that it was clear the workers were in breach of their visas.

    They have been instructed to stop working, and further investigations are going on around the conditions under which those visas were granted, he told Parliament, adding that he should have more to say about that matter tomor-row.

    A local inspector from the Labour Department had arrived to check on the

  • 7status of the Lithuanians work permits after hearing about the situation.

    He found that none of the Lithu-anians had correct temporary work per-mits they were here with visitors visas and he ordered on Friday 4 February that they stop work.

    But by Monday, the Lithuanians were back on the job.

    The Government had intervened - and within 48 hours had ensured the workers were issued with temporary permits.

    The Maritimes decided to follow up why special arrangements were being made for employers who breached laws by bringing in overseas labour on visitor permits, then putting them in containers on the wharf.Breaking laws or getting confused?

    Immigration officials in Wellington were reluctant to discuss the issue when contacted. They referred us to a media statement made by Associate Immigra-tion Minister Damian OConnor on Sun-day 6 February 2005 that was available on the Beehive website.

    It appears this media release was not widely circulated, but it contained some interesting information.

    Damian OConnor had granted tem-porary work permits to the six Lithu-anian tradesmen, a decision taken in consultation with Immigration Minister Paul Swain and Banks Peninsula MP Ruth Dyson.

    OConnor confirmed the tradesmen had visitor visas, not temporary work permits, and that they had been ordered to stop work on Friday 4 February.

    There has been some confusion around the original application. The tradesmens employer and its agent have been advised about the correct procedure and they have stated there was no intention to mislead immigration officials. They have also undertaken to make sure that the correct procedures are followed in future.

    There is another interpretation you could make of this situation.

    To sum up overseas workers with visitors visas had been illegally work-ing on the waterfront, they had been accommodated in containers which were declared as being in an unsafe situ-ation first by the Port Company CEO, then the MSA, but now the Government had stepped in to apparently help fix the situation up for the people who had caused it.

    Two local Unions were approached by local MP Ruth Dyson who asked for letters from them saying they were OK with the situation. Engineers Union or-ganizer Ged OConnell says Ruth Dyson had been approached by the employers for assistance.

    She rang OConnell on Saturday 5 February and asked for a letter from the Engineers Union confirming they had no problem with the overseas workers being there.

    A similar approach by Ruth Dyson was made to Rail and Maritime Trans-port Union Organizer Paul Corliss, who also supplied a letter, although he stated that he did not see it as an area under RMTU jurisdiction.

    The Maritime Union was not contact-ed despite being the Union who had brought the matter to public attention.

    Thanks for your help but its all under control

    Lets not forget that the position of the container accommodation was said to be unsafe, in the first instance by Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie, then by the Maritime Safety Authority.

    Because of the attention the Maritime Union had brought to the case, Immigra-tion officials had discovered the workers were working illegally.

    Yet it appears that the Maritime Union was being kept out of the loop.

    Maritime Union Lyttelton organizer Les Wells wrote to Ruth Dyson asking for an explanation, and the Maritime Union has also filed a request under the Official Information Act asking to be given copies of all communications between the involved parties and im-migration officials.

    The request was filed on 16 February, with a standard 20 day response time, and on 14 March a request for a 20 day extension was received from the Immi-gration Service.

    We are awaiting this information with some curiosity, and will be sure to share it with our members.

    The push for free trade in workersMaritime Union General Secretary

    Trevor Hanson says the push to import overseas labour due to a labour short-age is a huge concern.

    Weve taken the lid off something and they want to put it back on. Its a far wider issue than this particular job - it goes to the heart of the future for jobs and conditions in New Zealand, and internationally.

    Recent events such as a renewed push for self-loading in Europe and proposed free trade deals threaten the security of jobs and conditions - and the maritime industry is once again at the sharp end of the process.

    Hanson says the Union has met with Government officials and told them that any attempts to introduce casual overseas labour or self-loading by over-seas seafarers will be met with national industrial action.

    All unionists need to be on the lookout for incidents such as what has occurred in Lyttelton.

    While business profits go through the roof and we are told about a boom-ing economy, it seems that wage rates are going to be kept low by using im-ported casual and short-term labour.

  • 8by Victor Billot

    The use of toxic Methyl Bromide gas is under the spotlight as concerns grow about its effect on workers health.

    Methyl Bromide is a poisonous gas used to kill pests and is in widespread use on the waterfront, as well as in agriculture.

    A series of deaths in Nelson has triggered a wave of concern, with calls for further investigations into the health effects of the gas.

    The chemical is widely recognized as being both highly dangerous to people, as well as being a serious environmental threat.

    Fumigation companies operate under regulations that date from 1967, which require them to notify public health, police and fire services before using Methyl Bromide.

    Hopelessly outdatedHowever, senior Nelson public

    health official Geoff Cameron says the rules are hopelessly outdated.

    On 1 May 2005 that will change as the Methyl Bromide fumigation comes under the Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Organisms Act 1996.

    That means Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) will become responsible for enforcing the rules although the Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) and Public Health Organizations (PHO) will still have jurisdiction in some areas.

    Methyl Bromide is a known ozone-depleting substance, and its use is being phased out under the 1988 Montreal Protocol, which has 188 signatories

    including New Zealand.New Zealand is one of a number of

    countries who have applied for a special dispensation to use Methyl Bromide when no practical alternative exists.

    To treat timber, airtight covers are placed over logs and the gas pumped in for a fumigation period.

    However, many people are claiming that they have been exposed when the gas is released into the atmosphere.

    Methyl Bromide in Port NelsonMuch of the concern on the use of

    Methyl Bromide in New Zealand has recently centred on Port Nelson.

    A number of Nelson port workers have died from the rare motor neuron disease in recent years.

    Port worker Matt McKay, marine biologist Mike Bull, Milburn Cement worker Eddie Ewers and port facilities manager John Parker have all died from the disease since 2002, and all worked at Port Nelson.

    The widow of a fifth worker does not want to come forward, and an unidenti-fied former Port Nelson worker died on Christmas Eve 2004.

    Statistically, only two cases of motor neuron disease occur every year per 100 000 people.

    There is no proven scientific link be-tween the disease and Methyl Bromide, but many of the affected people say that their concerns are not being taken seri-ously.

    Widows of the workers have taken their case to the media and are asking for a full scale and thorough investi-gation into the deaths and the use of

    Methyl Bromide gas.A local group Campaign Against

    Toxic Sprays is also demanding an inquiry.

    A TV One documentary in Febru-ary 2005 featured interviews with the widows as well as Nelson stevedore Ian Street.

    Street believes he was poisoned by Methyl Bromide while operating a fork-lift in the port in December 2000.

    An OSH report said it was highly probable that Methyl Bromide was the cause, but the fumigator at the time, Bri-mark Holdings, has denied this and says Streets symptoms were not consistent with Methyl Bromide poisoning.

    In February 2005, another incident happened at Port Nelson when five workers reported feeling ill.

    The workers were all working within a few metres of Port Nelsons Shed Number 2 on February 8 while Methyl Bromide was being discharged follow-ing an export timber fumigation.

    The workers complained of symp-toms that included a burning sensation on lips, tongue and throat, and strong headaches.

    A woman forklift driver says she got a tingling sensation on her lips, and her two-year-old son, who she is breast-feeding, suffered from diahorrea that evening.

    Figures released by the Nelson Pub-lic Health Service show 222 fumigations with Methyl Bromide took place at Port Nelson in 2004.

    In addition, the Service consid-ered prosecuting a defunct fumigation company and has issued several formal warnings in the past few years after Methyl Bromide incidents at the port.

    Two Nelson-based companies are licensed to carry out fumigation.

    Nelson Pest Control Services carried out 109 container fumigations and three other fumigations at the port in 2004, as well as carrying out six other container fumigations at Riwaka, Motueka and Tahunanui.

    Another company, Genera, carried out 62 container fumigations and 48 tim-ber fumigations over the same year.

    Nelson Stevedoring Services are offering blood tests to its employees and says it will employ an independent assessor to monitor any gas that may be escaping from treated timber in ships hulls.

    Port Nelson is moving log fumiga-tion sites away from areas near other businesses.

    Methyl Bromide Alert

  • 9Methyl Bromide Alert

    Methyl Bromide, also known as Bromomethane, is used as a fumigant and pesticide.It comes in a liquid form but is heated for use in a gaseous form.It is a colourless and practically odourless gas that is heavier than air which means it can concentrate in low-lying areas that are not properly ventilated.It is highly toxic.Methyl Bromide can cause convulsions, coma, and long term brain and nerve damage.It can cause skin burns, lung inflammation, and irritation to nose and eyes. The main uses of Methyl Bromide are as a fumigant used in agriculture and storage facilities such as warehouses, ships, and containers.To be detected in humans, blood testing is only useful if carried out within 1 to 2 days of exposure.There have never been any proven links with motor neuron disease.Information sources:United States Environmental Protection Agency Air Toxics Website (www.epa.gov)United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (www.hazmap.nlm.nih.gov)

    Methyl Bromide The Facts

    Methyl Bromide in TaurangaMount Maunganui

    Around 150 tonnes of methyl bromide is used annually in New Zealand, the great majority at ports.

    Only about three tonnes of that is used in Nelson.

    The greatest use of the gas is at the port of Mount Maun-ganuiTauranga.

    Public Health Protection Of-ficer Helen Vanderwert says 339 notifications of Methyl Bromide use at the Port were made in 2004.

    These were for a range of uses, mostly export logs, dun-nage, precut timber, containers and imported containers.

    The two companies involved are Genera and Biofumigation Limited.

    The Tauranga PHO has not been alerted to any problems with Methyl Bromide in the last six years, she says.

    Tauranga does not have any ad-ditional local protocols for the use of Methyl Bromide, unlike Nelson, although the various Public Health Organizations do talk to each other on various issues.

    Vanderwert says the fumigation companies do their own monitoring and police themselves on a day to day level.

    This concerns Maritime Union Tauranga organizer Phil Spanswick who says he has concerns that the monitoring of fumigation is left up to the fumiga-tors.

    He says he has spoken to a number of local stevedores who have reported feeling unwell after fumigations.

    The Union is attempting to raise awareness of the dangers of Methyl Bromide amongst members, says Span-swick, who says that it is really the job of Government agencies to monitor and inform about Methyl Bromide.

    Maritime Union General Secre-tary Trevor Hanson says the problem seems to centre around the fact that the enforcement of the law is based on unrealistic ideas about how workplaces operate.

    The fact is that in todays work-place, many workers are too scared to

    raise their concerns, especially if they are casual or part-time work-ers.

    Being branded as a trouble-maker can see work dry up.

    This is an area where there should be active enforcement of the law by agencies, and it should not be left to companies to police themselves. That in my view is a recipe for disaster if something goes wrong, how long will it be before problems are acted upon?

    Maritime Union Local 13 Health and Safety Officer Bob Riwai says workers in the ports of Auckland are aware and concerned about the use of Methyl Bromide.

    The Union has identified it as a haz-ard with the Ports of Auckland under the Health and Safety Act.

    He says the goal of the Union is to get the fumigation area moved out of the workplace.

  • 10

    ITF News

    Itac Expressby Kathy Whelan (ITF New Zealand Co-ordinator)

    This vessel has a long and chequered history in New Zealand.

    It was formerly the Ngamaru III, and owned by the Cook Island National Line.

    Using a loophole in the immigration laws, this ship operated on the New Zea-land coast with a foreign crew well before cabotage was removed.

    It was subjected to a strenuous legal and industrial campaign by the New Zealand Seafarers Union at that time.

    In 1995 the Cook Island National Line went into liquidation and the vessel was purchased by New Zealand operators and dedicated to the Chatham Island trade.

    A further ownership change occurred, the vessel was renamed Southern Motu and the NZSU achieved manning.

    It was recently replaced by the South-ern Tiare and sent for scrap.

    Enroute to a scrapyard in India it called into Noumea to refuel and was purchased by an Australian company, manned with Russians, and has been trading in the Asia Pacific region with a couple of trips trans Tasman.

    Recently three Russian Officers asked for assistance in repatriation as they were two months past the end of their con-tracts and wanted to go home.

    This brought the vessel to the atten-tion of the ITF in New Zealand who dis-covered that it has a Cambodian flag and a crew of 10 Master, 1st and 2nd Officer, Chief and 2nd Engineer, Cook, Bosun, 2 ABs and 1 Motorman.

    The AB receives a basic salary of US$218 per month which including over-time, leave and subsistence allowance, consolidates to US$650 per month.

    The ILO minimum wage for an AB is US$817 all up per month.

    The ITF are attempting to contact the owners in Australia for a meeting and Kathy Whelan is making arrangements to inspect the vessel when it returns to Auckland.

    ITF Inspection Team alongside Maria TH berthed in Geelong, Australia, from left to right Dean Borg, Bruce Paris, Matty Purcell, Mick Van Berkel, Kathy Whelan, Mick Vickers, Kevin OLeary, Chris Pickens

    Direct TuiJust prior to Christmas the ITF received a call from a steward on the vessel Di-rect Tui enroute to Tauranga.

    The steward had been unfairly dis-missed, and as soon as the vessel came alongside in Tauranga the steward was whisked from the vessel and flown to Auckland to be repatriated to the Philip-pines.

    Fortunately the steward had to stay overnight in Auckland and Gary Parsloe was able to arrange for MUNZ member Peter David to meet the steward in his hotel and get details of his dismissal.

    Peter obtained information about the dismissal which was in breach of the stewards contract, and also discov-ered that he had not been paid for extra overtime.

    The steward had also sustained a back injury which had been untreated.

    He had been given no money by the company for airport tax, or any expenses for his trip home, such as meal money.

    Peter took him home, gave him a meal, gave him money out of his own pocket for his travel expenses, and arranged for medication to assist him on his trip home and took him to the airport to ensure he left New Zealand safely.

    The report and documentation re-ceived from Peter allowed the ITF to put a claim into the company for compensa-tion for unfair dismissal, unpaid over-time and expenses and we were success-ful in getting the steward US$1,675.

    The steward has contacted the ITF from the Philippines confirming he got home safely, and has thanked the ITF in New Zealand for its assistance but especially wanted to thank Peter David for his kindness and assistance.

    The Management of the Direct Tui has recently changed and one of the first things the new management did was cancel their ITF agreement.

    The case highlighted above is just one of several complaints the ITF New Zealand and Australia has received from the crew since management changed.

    Attempts to investigate the com-plaints have been difficult because of a total lack of co-operation from the Master.

    The Direct Tui is one of several ves-sels chartered by ANZDL, trading New

  • 11

    by Kathy Whelan (ITF New Zealand Co-ordinator)

    Like the Maritime Unions in the two countries, the ITF inspectorates in Japan and New Zealand have a strong relationship and in this edition of the ITF News and Views we profile the ITF Coordinator for Japan Shoji Yamashita.

    Shoji Yamashita commenced his working life as an engineer with the Nippon-Kai Kisen Co (current Interna-tional Marine Transport Co., Ltd.) after graduation from the Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine in 1970.

    He spent ten years at sea working on merchant vessels of the Nippon-Kai Kisen Co. before going ashore and work-ing in the land-based crew support team of the same company.

    The support team relieves the crew for leave in their home ports.

    Whilst employed in the support team he became shop steward and this was the start of his long and active participa-tion in the Japanese trade union move-ment.

    In 1970 Yamashita-san joined the All Japan Seamens Union (JSU), participat-ing within the Union as a rank and file member over the next 12 years.

    In 1982, he became full-time union official, assigned to the Unions Kansai Regional Office based in Kobe and spent his first two years as a full time official looking after almost everything; ocean-going, domestic trading vessels, ferries, tugboats, before moving to the Kanto Regional Office based in Tokyo.

    After that, he worked in the Council on Modernization of Merchant Vessels for three years.

    The Council consisted of representa-tives from the management and labour, and was set up to modernize the Japa-nese merchant fleet.

    Because the modernization of the vessels meant less workers on board, it was the Councils task to make sure that there was no deterioration of the work-ing conditions on board.

    His work there included the plan-ning of a model work plan and feasibil-ity study.

    After coming back to the JSU, he worked in the organizing and interna-tional affairs departments, before being appointed as the ITF Coordinator in Japan.

    Shoji first participated in the ITF FoC Campaign in 1984 when he was reas-signed to the Kanto Regional Office.

    JSU had been participating in the ITFs FOC Campaign and gradually strengthening their activities in it.

    The JSU had only one ITF Inspector at that time and, in order to support the ITF Inspector, the JSU had established the JSU Assistant Coordinator* system. (* This is not the present ITF Assistant Coordinator.)

    The JSU appointed young officers in local branches and Regional Offices as the JSU Assistant Coordinators to assist the ITF Inspector in inspection and other related activities.

    Shoji was appointed as one of the As-sistant Coordinators and charged with organizing the FOC Campaign in the Kanto region.

    In 1995 Shoji Yamashita was ap-pointed the ITF National Coordinator for Japan.

    Yamashita-san is married and has two daughters and one son.

    The elder daughter is happily mar-ried with one baby boy, and the son got married last year.

    His interests include ancient history, and he likes to read history books or historical novels when he has some free time.

    He also likes to spend time with his family and friends, going to the moun-tains and walking are his other favourite things to do.

    The ITF Inspectorate in Japan is the biggest inspectorate in the Asia/Pacific region.

    They conduct two weeks of action each year in which ITF volunteer activ-ists in their 15 ports are mobilized.

    Rank and file members from New Zealand and Australia have participated in their week of actions and speak of the huge effort and commitment and high level of organization that goes into these weeks of action.

    ITF Profile: Shoji Yamashita

    AlcmarEarly in December, four Indonesian crew members of the Cyprus regis-tered tanker Alcmar that was berthed in Port Chalmers contacted the ITF seeking assistance just hours before sailing.

    Their contracts had expired two months earlier and requests for repa-triation had been ignored.

    Maritime Union National Presi-dent Phil Adams took up their case on behalf of the ITF, and went on board to meet with the Master.

    He received an unqualified com-mitment in writing that the four crew members would be repatriated from the vessels next port.

    The tanker had been on the New Zealand coast for five days and it was unfortunate that the crew only decided to contact the ITF a few hours before sailing for an overseas port.

    If they had made contact on arrival in New Zealand, we would have en-sured they were repatriated from New Zealand.

    However, the ITF received the fol-lowing message from the crew mem-bers:To ITF New Zealand,thanks for your help, we are here now in the Philippines together with our families. Please thank Mr Phil Adams for helping us get home to our families. Much strength to the ITF. Crew Alcmar.

    Zealand/Australia/West Coast North America.

    In a letter to ITF New Zealand dated 2 November 2000 ANZDL stated

    All vessels in our fleet are re-quired to maintain ITF approved agreements and as we have changed the number of vessels recently to upgrade our fleet not all owners may yet be in compliance with our require-ments, nonetheless it is part of our agreement for them to do so.ITF New Zealand wrote to ANZDL on 14 January 2005 asking if this is still a requirement of their charter agreement, and they have yet to respond.

  • 12

    Vice Presidents Reportby Joe Fleetwood National Vice President

    In this report, I would like to tell mem-bers about an important conference that the Maritime Union of New Zealand attended late last year.

    MUNZ was invited to attend the National Offshore Conference in Perth, Western Australia, from November 29 December 3, 2004.

    Attending of behalf of MUNZ was Nelson Branch President Bill Lewis, Wel-lington Seafarers Branch Secretary Mike Williams, and myself.

    Other international guests included Norrie McVicor of the ITF, Steve Todd (RMT, UK), and Rigoberto Monteiro (CTU, East Timor.)

    Western Australia Assistant Branch Secretary and conference chair Ian Bray opened the first session, then handed over to Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman to set a positive tone for the week ahead.

    MUA Western Australia branch secretary Chris Cain welcomed us and introduced Western Australia Trans-port Minister Alannah McTiernan who opened the conference.

    Chris mentioned her tireless work defending the working class she has played a big role in securing permanent jobs, and getting labour hire companies out of West Australian ports, thus lower-ing casualisation, and she has also sup-ported state cabotage.

    West Australian systemIn her opening, the Minister delivered

    some promising facts and statistics on education and the environment.

    She noted how West Australia is responsible for 30% of Australias wealth, with 4.7% unemployment the lowest in the country, and 7.8% growth the fast-est growing economy, with the highest number of apprenticeships.

    She is currently campaigning for more training of skilled labour, and has committed $300 million over 4 years to the upgrading of West Australian ports.

    Alannah is also seriously addressing the exploitation of Single and Continual Voyage Permit system.

    This makes me think New Zealand needs a Minister that is willing to take on the fight of the working class, and not cower to the pressure of transnational corporations who try to dominate by imposing free trade and movement of labour agreements, designed to crush and exploit workers.

    MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin thanked Alannah for opening the conference, and for her contribution to the working class.

    Paddy delivered a positive and insightful report on the national and international scene.

    MUA Deputy Branch Secretary Keith Morrison had accompanied Assistant National Secretary Rick Newlyn to South Africa, to finalise arrangements for the up and coming Solidarity conference.

    Keith gave a brief but in-depth report on our mining comrades in South Africa, and confirmed their attendance in Los Angeles this coming May.

    Oceanic Cruises DisputeAssistant Secretary Ian Bray provided

    a report of the Oceanic Cruises dispute. The Western Australia branch were ap-proached by concerned workers on board these ferries who had reported Third World rates and conditions, and a blatant neglect of health and safety rules and regulations.

    Continual personal and physical abuse from the employer has prompted the branch and 22 workers to take 8 day strike action.

    Pickets were immediately imposed on the site, and the public showed their sup-port when they were told of the horrific, sub-standard conditions.

    The employer sent over one vessel, manned with scab labour, which came to a sudden halt.

    The dispute was media headlined for three days, and in court for four days, with a great outcome for the work-ers no individual contracts, collective Enterprise Bargaining Award, award rates plus 4%, overtime clause, maximum 12 hour shift with minimum 8 hour break afterwards, and a 45 hour week.

    Branch Secretary Chris Cain invited two young delegates to the Conference to speak on this ordeal, and to accept a pay-ment of $2,500 from the branch.

    The hat was passed, and the final figure of $4,200 was handed to our com-rades and their families.The strike action taken is proof that a collective struggle is the only way to win. United we stand, divided we crawl.

    Offshore industry

    Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman delivered a strong and con-structive offshore report covering many issues, including promoting the 50/50 agreement with MUNZ and MUA on vessels.

    He noted the strong bond we have formed, as well as the close work with the Australian Workers Union in the hydrocarbon industry.

    International ReportsInternational guest Norrie McVicor

    gave a good update on the offshore task force, and the oil-gas industry in the North Sea.

    UK guest Stevie Todd of the RMT Union informed the conference of the UK industry and the volatile situation he is currently dealing with, but reassured all with his never-say-die union attitude.

    Rigoberto Montiero, head of the East Timor trade unions, delivered a hard-hit-ting account of the atrocities committed on the people of East Timor, and thanked the MUA and the Trade Union Move-ment for their unwavering devotion to social justice for the people of East Timor.

    ITF co-ordinator Dean Summers ad-dressed the conference on security issues and repercussions. Billy Giddins spoke on the legal issues and the Howard Gov-ernments industrial agenda, and Eddie Seymour on Unions at work and the role of the delegate.

    We attended the WA stop-work meet-ing, and addressed the P&O and Patricks port workers on the job, and were wel-comed in true trade union comradeship.

    Trans-Tasman FederationThe Conference made special note

    of the MUNZ policy that New Zealand seafarers will not offer themselves for permanent employment, and will return at the end of arrangement.

    On behalf of MUNZ, I would like to thank the MUA for putting together such a monumental event.

    The close relationship between the New Zealand and the Australian Mari-time Unions is a working example of international solidarity.

    Due to a current shortage of qualified labour in Australia, New Zealand seafar-ers have offered their services to help our comrades in the offshore and more recently, in blue-water vessels.

    These jobs are on a trip-by-trip basis no New Zealand seafarer will tender for a permanent position while this agree-ment is in place.

    By all accounts, this is a progressive venture towards solidarity, and promises to serve both sides well in the future.

    National officials are continuing work on the new Trans Tasman Federation.

    We inherit the past, we build the future.

  • 13

    by Fred Salelea CTU Health and Safety Tutor/Assessor

    The Maritime Union is happy to announce that the funding from the Employment Relations Education (ERE) Contestable Fund for Maritime Union training courses has now been approved.

    We currently have four ERE ap-proved courses of which two will be presented throughout this year: Our Union at Work Organising the Workplace Assisting members through the disci-plinary process Working with members to resolve workplace issues

    The funding is for the delivery of Our Union and Work & Organising the Workplace.

    These courses are to help delegates to understand their roles and to provide them with knowledge and skills to be effective in their workplaces.

    They will also enable delegates to develop ways to increase the involve-ment of members.

    There are two other Maritime Union Training programmes being developed and if these are approved for funding, they will be introduced later on this year.

    The Waterfront Industry and its Future Economic Development

    This is an advanced course for delegates that will provide a greater understanding of the wider economic issues affecting our industry, and to improve our ability to work together to resolve issues and recognise goals for our future.

    Women in the Waterfront Industry

    The aim of this project is to look at the role of women workers in the Water-front Industry with the view to broaden their involvement within the Industry.

    Training DatesThe Training Schedule and Branch

    requirements for this years courses 2005 have been sent out to all MUNZ Branch-es from Head Office.

    April 6 (Wellington)Our Union at Work

    April 7 (Timaru) Our Union at Work

    May 5 (New Plymouth)Our Union at Work

    May 20 (Port Chalmers) Our Union at Work

    May 23 (Bluff) Our Union at Work

    June 10 (Gisborne) Our Union at Work

    July 7 (Wellington) Organising the Workplace

    July 18 (Lyttelton) Organising the Workplace

    August 25 (Mt Maunganui) Our Union at Work

    September 1 (Auckland) Organising the Workplace

    Trained delegates are effective delegates

    September 9 (Nelson) Our Union at Work

    October 14 (Napier) Our Union at Work

    The goal of our education pro-gramme is to give our members every opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge to improve and strengthen our Union and our Industry.

    I would like to thank our Training and Educating Steering Committee of Phil Adams, Joe Fleetwood and espe-cially Phil Spanswick for the work put into our application for re-approval of our Maritime Union courses.

    For further information regarding our courses please contact your Local Branch or myself.

    Contact Fred Salelea at: Maritime Union Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 Email [email protected] Mobile 027 229 1432

    Phil Spanswick and Fred Salelea planning some more training

  • 14

    by Fred Salelea CTU Health and Safety Tutor/Assessor

    This new column contributed by our own Health and Safety expert will be a regular feature in the Maritimes.

    Health and safety is still at the front of our minds at the workplace good health and safety allows us to be able to go home after each day of work to our families.

    Thanks to all the good work that our Maritime Union trained health and safety reps have put in so far.

    But it doesnt stop there, health and safety is ongoing and we must remain ever vigilant: remember that everyone is responsible for health and safety in our workplaces.

    Our one-Day Health and Safety Organizers Seminar held late last year in Auckland was a great success with a good turnout, where we clarified and identified issues and hazards in our industry.

    There were some key points made that we hope will deliver results and we look forward to a follow up seminar.

    Keeping it safe on the jobGaining skills and

    gaining qualifications

    We are about to embark into a new level of Health and Safety Training Stage 2 that leads to NZQA qualification unit standard 20198.

    These Health and Safety Training sessions not only give our members the skills to maintain a safe workplace, but they add to our qualifications.

    There are 37-unit standards currently available relating to health and safety that can be used to make up elective units in National Certificates and Na-tional Diplomas.

    There are two National Certificates in Occupational Health and Safety National Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. (Co-ordination)(Level 4) National Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (Workplace Safety)(Level 3)

    As our members are trained in the Worksafe Programme for Health and Safety Reps they will also be offered the opportunity to be assessed for their skills and knowledge of roles and responsibilities of the Health and Safety rep in the Workplace (Level 4, 8 credits).

    For those keen to achieve unit stan-dard 20198 and I hope that is everyone, we will be organising an in-house stage 2 course mid year, date to be confirmed.

    There is a workplace assessment to complete prior to attending Stage 2.

    We will identify and contact those of you who have completed Stage 1 and are Trained Health and Safety reps who wish to attend the course by notice.

    If in the meantime you receive notice from the CTU to attend let us know so that we can have you put on the Mari-time Union list.Worksafe, Thinksafe, and be safe.

    Contact Fred Salelea at Maritime Union Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 Email [email protected] Mobile 027 229 1432

    Maritime Union Whangarei members at their February training session

  • 15

    by Victor Billot

    It would be a cold and lonely death for the young fisherman after he went overboard into the stormy Southern Ocean.

    An official report from the Mari-time Safety Authority covers the facts in an efficient way, but they cannot tell us what were the last thoughts of the young man as he was battered by the freezing ocean thousands of kilometres from his home.

    MSA Report Number 101851Ship name: Melilla 201Date: 19 November 2004Location: 110 nautical miles south of Stewart Island

    An Indonesian crew member from the vessel was lost overboard. Condi-tions at the time were poor with waves 5 to 6 metres in height and a water temperature of 8.6 degrees Celsius. A search was mounted but called off at 2200 hours.

    The Melilla 201 and the Melilla 203 are two fishing boats working in New Zealand waters who share more than just a name.

    The latest incidents in New Zealand waters that featured these boats led to the media spotlight going on some dark places and uncovering a pattern of death, injury and pollution.

    A call for help in Bluff

    Just over three weeks after the death of the crew member on Melilla 201 in November 2004, six Indonesian fisher-men left the Melilla 203 after it docked in Bluff on Friday 4 February 2005.

    They went to the Bluff police station and claimed they had been mistreated.

    The Korean captain and a ships agent came to the station after them.

    The Indonesian crew had language problems, and the Indonesian Embassy was called to provide assistance.

    Because the Maritime Union did not find out about the event at the time, it was unable to provide assistance through the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) who can give backup to workers.

    No charges were pressed and the crew were flown home.

    The Melilla 203 is operated in a joint venture with Tauranga-based company Trans Pacific Fishing Limited with a Korean flag.

    Trans Pacific Fishing spokesman Geoff Morgan told the Southland Times that no formal complaint had been laid

    Death in the Southern Oceanwith police, the crew had wanted to go home, and declined to comment further.

    Southland Times reporter Chalpat Sonti carried out further investigations that pieced together a disturbing history.

    Incidents involving Melilla 203 and Melilla 201

    19 November 2004A 24-year-old Indonesian fisherman is presumed drowned after he fell from the Melilla 201 about 170km south of Stewart Island.

    April 2004 The 58-year old chief engineer of Melilla 203 was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital with severe ammonia burns after gauges on the boat exploded about 450km south of Bluff. No investigation was carried out by New Zealand authorities because the in-cident happened outside New Zealand territorial waters.

    July 2002Sanford fined $9000 after a diesel spill off Nelson during refuelling. The Environment Court Judge said Sanford should consider whether they used the vessel again.

    February 2002A 24-year old Indonesian fisherman drowned south of the Snares Islands after he was knocked overboard from one of the boats.

    August 2001A 33-year old Chinese fisherman disap-peared from Melilla 201 when it was fishing off Westport. His death was ruled by the coroner to have been self-inflicted.

    How do they get away with it?If regular death and disfigurement

    on the job was occurring within a corporate head office, or in Parliament Buildings, there would be a national outcry.

    But it appears that for the overseas crews used as cheap, expendable labour in the fishing industry, it is a case of out of sight and out of mind.

    It is the brutal and shocking underbelly of globalization.

    While Governments and companies talk about the need to import Third World workers to fill

    labour shortages, they appear happy to ignore the reality of life for workers outside the industry seminars and pub-lic relations spin.

    The New Zealand fishing industry is exploiting cheap overseas labour, ac-cording to New Zealand Fishing Indus-try Guild Louis Hart.

    While New Zealand fishermen are laid off, wages and conditions in the in-dustry continue in a race to the bottom.

    Report on conditions withheldMr Hart says his request to see

    a Government report on conditions aboard overseas crewed vessels has been turned down.

    The report was put together last year by a labour inspector from the New Zealand Employment Relations Service and went to the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Immigration.

    Mr Hart received a letter from Min-ister of Immigration Paul Swain saying that the report was being withheld until the parties involved had a chance to respond.

    However, it appears the Fishing In-dustry Guild is not one of those parties, even though they are the Union repre-senting fishermen.

    A meeting is scheduled between the Guild and Minister of Immigration Paul Swain.

    Several thousand overseas fisher-men work in New Zealand waters and what goes on aboard some of their trawlers and boats seems to exist in a limbo, where New Zealand authorities turn a blind eye to practices that would provoke outrage if they occurred else-where in New Zealand.

    The use of overseas labour on fishing fleets in New Zealand waters shows the direction in which we will continue to move under free trade agreements and the international transfer of workers as just another economic commodity.

    Keeping it safe on the job

  • 16

    Interport 2005

    Wayne Welch about to weigh 5.2kg groper

    The Hanson Brothers rocking out at the Portsider

    Its either a Great White Shark or tangled lines . . .

    Stan Hooper and Henry Couch finetune their putting skills

    Dave Ashkettle (Wellington), Ray Dobson (Whangarei), Parakaia Smith (Mt Maunganui), Arthur Peke (Auckland) and Ed Palmer (Whangarei)

    Interport golfers T. Morgan, G. Heinley, B. Gillan, N. Irwin and P. Waddel

  • 17

    Wayne Welch presents hard luck prize to Harry Mayn of Auckland

    Port Chalmers boys, left to right, Dave Dick, Wayne Welch, Winky Waugh and Michael Tank Lysaght

    Colin Perriman (runner up overall) with winner Ron Te Moananui, both of Port Chalmers

    Phil Adams presents Pacifica Trophy for the biggest trumpeter to Kevin Ansell of Timaru

    Interport president Winky Waugh welcomes guests to Port Chalmers

    Trevor Wong (Lyttelton), Danny Belsham (Auckland), Jake Jones (Lyttelton) and Steve Hannaford (Lyttelton)

    A stylish local shows the North Islanders how its done

    Interport contestants prepare for a serious days golfing at Chisholm Park

    Interport 2005 was hosted by Port Chalmers Dunedin Branch Local 10 from

    1317 February 2005.

    Golfing, fishing and indoor sports were enjoyed by around 100 members of the

    Maritime Union from throughout New Zealand.

  • 18

    The death of Bill Andersen in January 2005 marks what is in some ways the end of era in New Zealand history.

    Bills name and his work were a central part of New Zealand political and industrial life in the second half of the twentieth century, despite the fact he remained a grassroots activist.

    Right up until his death he was ac-tively involved in the class struggle: he leaves behind a large gap in the ranks of New Zealands working people.

    Large attendances at memorial events held for Bill in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are ample evi-dence of the respect in which he was held.

    Strong connection with maritime unions

    His connection with mari-time unionism was strong.

    As a young merchant sea-man during the Second World War, he became politically aware and active.

    He explained to me once that some of the treatment he had seen local, non-European workers subjected to had a major effect on him.

    On his return to New Zealand, he worked on the waterfront and was one of the locked out Auckland water-siders who were blacklisted by employers following the end of the 1951 dispute.

    That vindictive act has often been regarded as a mis-take by employers as Bill and many of his fellow activists were then absorbed into other local industries where their strong principles and political aware-ness saw them gain leadership positions in many other Unions.

    Many years with Distribution Union

    Bill Andersen worked as a driver and was elected as President of the North-ern Drivers Union, which eventually evolved into the National Distribution Union, that today covers retail, trans-port, manufacturing, wood and many other industrial workers.

    Bill remained the President of that Union up until his death.

    A committed MarxistHis commitment to Communism was

    strong. He was active in the Communist Party of New Zealand, then the pro-Soviet Union Socialist Unity Party in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Eventually he became leader of the small Socialist Party of Aotearoa.

    He firmly adhered to classic Marxist-Leninist theory including his view of scientific socialism.

    Few probably shared his view of the

    Soviet Union as a workers paradise, yet his principled and progressive political approach saw him support issues such as Maori land rights well before they were mainstream issues for the rest of New Zealand society.

    Struggle-based UnionismHis impact on the trade union move-

    ment in New Zealand was major.He argued that Unions should be

    struggle-based, avoiding current theories that employers and workers should work in partnership.

    He led from the front and was prepared to use civil disobedience and other direct action tactics on pickets and protests.

    Led from the frontA warrant was issued for his arrest

    during an industrial dispute in 1974 for contempt of court.

    Tens of thousands of workers in Auckland walked off the job and the fol-lowing day marched down Queen Street with Bill at their head making for some great newspaper photos.

    It was a moment of great dignity, and a fitting tribute to Bills mana amongst working people.

    He was attacked by Mul-doon later in the 1970s as a threat to society, but fronted the Prime Ministers bullyboy tac-tics and stood against him as a Socialist Unity Party candidate in Muldoons Tamaki elector-ate.

    Bill was arrested on a picket line as recently as 2002.

    Many newspapers have commented on Bills grim and unyielding manner, but that description does not fit those who knew or worked alongside him.

    In person, Bill was generally quietly spoken and thoughtful.

    He could see the funny side of things, and was able to relate to an enormous range of people with his lowkey and friendly approach.

    He was active in Auckland rugby league, and had strong links with Aucklands Maori and Pacific Island communities.

    Bill did not live to see the socialist transformation of

    society that was at the heart of his lifes work, yet his memory will endure as a principled and tireless advocate for working people.

    Obituary: Bill Andersen, union leader and communist

  • 19

    Seafarers Strategy ConferenceFrom 810 March 2005, a special Seafarers Strategy Conference was held at the Johnsonville Club in Wellington.

    Organized and hosted by the Wel-lington Seafarers Branch of the Maritime Union, the three day conference was at-tended by delegates, officials and guests, including representatives from the Mari-time Union of Australia.

    The Conference focussed on the Union and issues facing it, especially with regard to Toll Holdings, the Aus-tralian-based company that has now become a major player in New Zealand shipping and transport.

    Over the three days, a number of workshops were held.

    A full report will be provided in the next edition of the Maritimes, but we have provided a selection of quotes from some of those in attendance.

    This conference was all about working out a strategy to deal with Toll. We know they are aggressive . . . weve had a couple of lessons off the Austra-lians about how to deal with them. But this conference really gave every-body a clearer view of what we have to do.Mike Shakespeare, President, Wellington Seafarers Branch, Maritime Union

    Toll is a very predatory company. They want to rape and pillage the wages and conditions of workers and thats what they are here for . . . The confer-ence has inspired us to get out there and organize, organize and educate even to the extent of educating the educators. And thats what weve got to do. Weve got one chance at it and thats it. Ive got a positive view on it and I want to go forward to create a bigger and stronger union for future generations.Joe Fleetwood, National Vice-President, Maritime Union of New Zealand

    Tolls strategy, I believe, is quite simple: its about unifying the total transport logistics supply chain under one ban-ner ship to shelf . . . theyre focusing on bringing various threads of the supply chain under one umbrella which will give them power and influence with the

    customers when negotiating contracts.The challenge is, we must do the same draw together the various strands and foster and develop unity and solidarity right across the transport industry, across international borders if we are to balance the growing might of Toll.Wayne Butson, General Secretary, Rail and Maritime Transport Union

    A lot of people in the younger genera-tion were not brought up with the idea of unions. So weve got to tell them why its good for them to be involved in the union and that it does offer protection for them when they get in trouble. There are a lot [of young members] who are involved in the union. Its just theyre quite shy.Lana Kerr (young r&f member on the Arahura)

    I think the three days has been an enor-mous experience for myself . . . I look for-ward to another one. Two highlights: the future of the union in its young people I saw some passionate and inspirational young people in the last three days and the amalgamation between MUNZ and RMTU.Mike Wickham (Secretary, Tasmania Branch, Maritime Union of Australia)

    Im extremely satisfied with the out-comes of this conference . . . the highlight for me was this morning when all the young people came in and when Lana spoke on behalf of the culture workshop, giving her views on how she fitted into this Union. And after she spoke it was very heart-warming. It was just a lack of understanding from the culture of the past of the culture of to-day. What this conference did was bring these cultures together.Mike Williams, Secretary, Wellington Seafarers Branch, Maritime Union

    The collective is the only way to go and I think if things go the way theyve been mapped out here at this conference and we take those steps to achieve what we set out to do here, I think everything looks good for the future.Russell Pierce

    You are about to become one Union within the wharf gates. You are growing at a time when you are not supposed to exist [in these dark ages for unionism]. And if thats not a victory I dont know what is. You measure workers victories in those terms . . . Lenin said that all workers have and what they must preserve is their organization.Dave Morgan, former President, Maritime Union of New Zealand

    As a union we are actually fighting this on two fronts. Unfortunately we have a weak-kneed government down here a supposed workers government which hasnt given us the tools to deal with these companies. As a union we need to turn the pressure on them as well, because its not only Toll were dealing with, its the Government as well.Dave Philipps, Vice President, Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13, Maritime Union

    Globalising solidarity is what its all about - workers getting together nation-ally and internationally to fight the com-mon enemy, the multinationals.Keith Locke, Green Party MP

    If we go back with the rank and file and analyse everything weve gone through here and not only talk about it, but action all those resolutions we put through. Thats most important because the youth in our union especially need to know that they are being heard and not made to feel stupid when they ask questions.Rachael Goddard

    One of the topics discussed at the conference this morning was the culture of our Union and I guess theres nothing better than the culture of our Union that we see here on this picket line today. Its what we do best, when we go out on the bricks on strike to support what is our basic right for a decent living.Russell Mayne, Secretary Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 Maritime Union, addressing a picket line of wharfies at Pacifica.

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    Port Roundup:Auckland Seafarers

    by Gary Parsloe

    We held the Old Timers Christmas Party at the Mari-time Club in Beach Road on 17 Decem-ber 2004.

    The Auckland Secretary welcomed all the Old Timers to their Social and thanked them for their past struggles which have helped preserve the Union in the good condition that it is in (not a lot of ships but those we have are on the best wages and conditions.)

    The Secretary read apologies from two good old battlers Jimmy Manning and Alex McDonald.

    Faxes and messages received from vessels wished all the Old Timers the very best on this special day, indicative of the high regard they are held in by the membership.

    Old Timers from other ports were welcomed to the party with special reference to Jack Mahoney and Gary Pascoe from Lyttelton, and current members from out of port including Duncan Montgomery (Port Chalmers), Keith Rooney (Lyttelton) and Jimmy Rosser (Mount Maunganui) to mention just a few of those in attendance.

    The guest speaker was Gerard Hill, a former Auckland Branch Assistant Secretary.

    Other officials present included current Auckland vice president Kevin Rooney, current Auckland executive member Brian Ford, ex-National Vice President of the New Zealand Seafar-ers Union John ONeill, ex-National President of the New Zealand Cooks and Stewards Union Fred Anabell, and Pat Lumber, who is a former Executive member of both the Cooks and Stew-ards, and Seafarers, Union.

    Three Executive members from the Maritime Union Local 13 were in atten-dance, Branch President Denis Carlisle, Branch Secretary Russell Mayn, and Executive Member Gordon Kopu.

    Also in attendance was National Secretary of the Amalgamated Workers Union of New Zealand Ray Bianchi.

    Special thanks must go to the Cooks Kevin Dixon, Wayne Bell and Frazer Barlow for the excellent spread they put on.

    As always it was an excellent day out for all the Old Timers and on behalf of the Auckland Branch Executive I want to thank all those individuals and ships crews for their donations that made the Old Timers Party the success it was.

    Port Roundup:Wellington Seafarers

    by Mike Shakespeare

    Well, members, it has been 1 year since the election of the Wellington branch executive and almost 16 months since we

    became a branch in our own right, and we have had many battles on the way.

    TollThe first attack came from Toll Rail

    having a go at the entitlements of our over-60s members in the Superannua-tion Fund.

    As it is one of our most precious en-titlements the employer was told in no uncertain terms that we would fight to the bitter end on this issue as it affected everyone in our Union.

    After some talking and legal advice the issue was settled to our satisfaction, with the entitlements being left as they were, but it does go to show we have to be vigilant.

    The next major attack was not long in coming from the same employers Toll who wished to restructure the Cooks and Stewards on the Arahura into a walk on walk off system like the Aratere and the Lynx.

    The call went out to the member-ship to help in this struggle and it was heartening to see our people come on out to the picket lines which were well attended.

    It also sent a strong message to the employers that we can and will mobilize when it is necessary.

    Although they won through the courts the right to restructure it did not go all their own way as they could not exclude any of the exisiting members to the new positions.

    It was still sad to see people forced out of the industry due to more changes to our wages and conditions in an unfair manner.

    Not so long after this we went into contract negotiations with the Arahura award which proved to be quite difficult and eventually was settled in January 2005 with a roll-over of the award with a 3.5% increase that was backdated to September 2004 for one year.

    Strategy ConferenceThe branch held a strategy confer-

    ence on 810 March 2005 to work out a future strategy as well as looking at our whole structure and training needs for our delegates amongst many other topics.

    This seminar was well attended by delegates and guests, and a full report is given elsewhere in this edition of The Maritimes.

    Trans Tasman and offshore

    There was also a lot of good work done securing work in the Austra-lian offshore for a lot of our members throughout the many branches by Wellington Secretary Mike Williams in conjunction with Chris Cain and Mick Doleman of the Maritime Union of Aus-tralia, showing the value of the Trans Tasman Federation with the MUA.

    The other major employers and ship-owners in our branch do not seem to have had as many problems as Tolls did, but there were many issues that were taken care of by the various members of the Executive and I believe that the branch members were served well in all cases by them, and I thank them all for the time and dedication they put into the Branch on behalf of all of us.

    In closing, we do have a busy year ahead of us, with no doubt more attacks on wages and conditions, but I believe the membership is up to the challenges that lie ahead of us.

    Fred Lucas, Jerry Caulter, Tommy Bergin, Jack Mahoney and Archie Hawkins enjoy themselves at the Auckland Old Timers Party

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    Port Roundup:Auckland Local 13

    by Denis Carlisle

    Ports of Auckland

    AgreementI am pleased

    to report that we finally reached

    agreement with Ports of Auckland and the Collective Agreement was signed off on 1 December 2004.

    The process spanned some ten months but on reflection it was time well spent when the time is measured against the result.

    It is particularly pleasing that we have made major gains for all mem-bers and particularly our part time and casual members.

    They will now benefit from having an agreed career path that is written into the agreement.

    Initial application of this will pro-duce ten more full time permanent jobs, which will be filled from within the cur-rent part time pool of workers.

    In turn the vacated part time posi-tions will be filled to a minimum of 50% from within the casual pool, thus triggering the domino effect the career path creates.

    Substantial hourly rate increases for part time and casual workers empha-sises our intent to improve rates and conditions for this group of members.

    For our permanent workers we further improved and consolidated their pay rates and conditions.

    For the group as a whole we achieved backpay for a 12 month period.

    Other negotiationsNow that the Port Company agree-

    ment has been put to bed we have commenced negotiations with Toll/Owens who own Leonard and Dingley Stevedoring.

    Within the coming weeks we will also commence negotiation with P&O Ports.

    Just as well we had a bit of a break over Christmas.

    Picnic DayPicnic Day on the Port was very

    successful and the Union organised and financed a bowling tournament, a golf tournament and a childrens party at the pools.

    All in all it was a great day for all our members and their families.

    The Maritime Union should be proud that it has never let picnic day disappear from the agreements, as it is a special part of our heritage and we look forward to seeing past and present members at picnic day next year.

    While on this subject a big thanks to all the members involved in organizing these events recognising the amount of work needed to make these a success is appreciated by everyone.

    Interport 2005Local 13 members enjoyed travelling

    to Port Chalmers for the 2005 Interport Sport Tournament: the Golfers, Indoor sports and the Fishermen all had a good time.

    Thank you to Port Chalmers and the organizers for your Southern hospitality.

    Overseas labourOn the national front we are now

    faced with the possibility of foreign la-bour being used to attack the wages and conditions within our industry.

    With the Immigration Department al-lowing foreign casual workers under the Occupational Shortages List and Priority Occupations List we see foreign workers being used in the fishing industry and Lithuanian fitters and boilermakers in the dry dock at Lyttelton.

    I am sure it will only be a matter of time before there is an attempt to utilize foreign casual workers on the Water-front.

    With the ITF dockers clause we have prevented seafarers undertaking dock-ers work but an increased vigilance by all members will now be required.

    Under the guise of labour shortages the foreign casual workers are being allowed to fill gaps in the labour market in New Zealand but the real concern is whether these gaps are created by low pay and poor conditions in the first place.

    In Auckland we are yet to be con-vinced that this importation of labour is necessary when the best result would be to train New Zealand residents for these positions.

    Rachael Goddard makes a point at the Seafarers Solidarity Conference

    Jack Mahoney and Gary Parsloe at the Auckland Old Timers Function, with Tommy Bergin in the background

    Maritime Union National Vice President Joe Fleetwood addresses picketers at Pacifica

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    Port Roundup:Local 21

    Port Roundup:Wellington Waterfront

    By John Whiting

    Shipping and work volume

    The Welling-ton branch notes the removal of the ANZDL ships

    Rotoiti and Rotorua from all New Zealand port calls except Auckland.

    This reflects the overtonnaging of the Tasman Sea route and the hybrid struc-ture of these two vessels.

    The Rotoiti would be the last link with the old Union Steam Ship Com-pany, once a major employer of New Zealand wharfies and seafarers.

    Losing these two ships from the Port of Wellington will reduce hours avail-able to our members at both Capital City Stevedores and the Port Company (CentrePort) continuing a pattern over many years now.

    On a positive note, container vol-umes through the Port continue to rise.

    Port Company AgreementOur multi-union collective agree-

    ment with the Wellington Port Company has been settled very satisfactorily and includes good increases in the hourly rates, improved guarantees and super subsidies for our 24 hour a week perma-nent part-time members, with a compre-hensive formula for progression from 24 hours to 40 hours.

    Also further improvements, includ-ing transport allowance, in the casual schedule.

    A container crane driver classifica-tion, attracting an enhanced pay rate, fulfils a long standing claim from this key area of our workforce.

    Pacifica

    Negotiation of the Pacifica Welling-ton collective agreement has been com-pleted except for a stalling in the matter of a wage increase.

    This group of our members, whose last pay rise was in the year 2000, took a 48 hour stoppage in March in the face of an unacceptably low offer.

    At the time of writing urgent nego-tiations are pending to seek settlement, in good faith, of a wage rate that reflects the justice of these workers claims.

    Port safety forumIn the area of workplace safety, so

    critical to us on the waterfront, we have recently learned of an ACC sponsored forum of all port users including Port

    Company, stevedores, transport op-erations, fishing interests, and Union representatives to address all matters in respect of waterfront safety.

    This is apparently modelled on a similar exercise held in the Port of Tau-ranga and we look forward to the op-portunity to work on many safety issues of concern to our membership.

    by Phil Mansor

    As industrial trade unions, not only are we under an obligation to obtain improved terms and condi-

    tions of employment for members, but we must also become politically involved in order to ensure that such improvements are not unfairly dissi-pated or frittered away by bad laws.

    Becoming politically involved means that we must lobby all parliamentarians, whether they be in the ruling Govern-ment party or a member of one of the other party politicians, in order to get rid of any such laws which we consider to place us at a disadvantage.

    One such bad law of major impor-tance affecting all homeowners is the method used by local councils in assess-ing the amount of rates we are forced to pay.

    A Fairer rates systemIn the Wellington region, just prior to

    the Christmas holiday break, the council forwarded its Notice of Valuation to all home owners.

    This notice advised of the massive increas