Free trade deals could mean overseas labour trafficking in ports

The Maritime Union says that free trade deals and recent GATS negotiations have the potential to introduce cutprice overseas labour into New Zealand ports.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the use of ship’s crews and imported labour on the waterfront is becoming a major problem around the world.

“International maritime companies are already moving low-wage, short term and casual labour across borders to work in ports around the world.”

He says the international shipping industry already suffers from similar problems which has led to a collapse in wages, conditions and health and safety standards.

“Workers are used as pawns against each other in a race to the bottom by global-scale employers.”

Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union has made in clear that if any attempts are made to attack wages and conditions through free trade deals, it will lead to national industrial action.

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