Port of Napier faces industrial action

Published: Thu 22 Nov 2007 03:38 PM
Port of Napier faces national and international industrial action
The Port of Napier faces industrial disruption and international union solidarity actions as local workers prepare to defend their livelihoods.
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says management actions are putting secure local jobs in jeopardy and threatening the future of the port.
A decision by management to contract out container stevedoring will affect around 25 permanent jobs and around 60 casual jobs at Hawke's Bay Stevedoring Services in the Port of Napier from the start of next year.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says a special national meeting of the Union with representatives from all New Zealand ports and a delegation from the Maritime Union of Australia was held in Wellington this week to plan a major fightback.
"We have made every effort to talk to the Port Company, but they seem determined to hit the self-destruct button and have left us with no option but to take this dispute to the next level."
Mr Hanson says the situation has already had an enormous impact on local workers, and will lead to inevitable attacks on wages, conditions and health and safety in the future.
"We have a situation here where secure local jobs that benefit the local community are being dumped through what is effectively a contracting out process. The Maritime Union will do whatever it takes to ensure that secure local jobs are protected."
He says the Maritime Union of New Zealand has the support of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the International Transport Workers' Federation.
Mr Hanson says the Hawke's Bay Regional Council owned Port of Napier has a responsibility to the local community and should operate in the public interest.
"This port company promotes itself as 'our port' but they behave as if they have no responsibility to the local people of Hawke's Bay."
He says Port of Napier management have made a bad error of judgement that will cause all sorts of problems for the Hawke's Bay economy.
"Their actions have led to a situation where the viability and success of the port is put in danger."
Mr Hanson says the answer to the problem is simple.
"Management need to sit down with the Union to find a solution that is mutually acceptable, before they cause major harm to the local workforce, their business and the entire economy of Hawke's Bay."

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