Kiwi maritime workers offer international solidarity across the Tasman

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says it will support the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian union movement in their fight to protect the rights of workers.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Australian federal Government’s plans to attack job standards for workers was experienced on the New Zealand side of the Tasman Sea in the 1990s, with the Employment Contracts Act (ECA) introduced by the National Government in 1991.

“We know what Australian workers are up against – the key issues such as protection from unfair dismissal, pressure to accept inferior individual contracts, and laws to keep unions from seeing workers at their workplaces, were all familiar experiences for New Zealand workers in the 1990s,” he says.

New Zealand workers are still trying to catch up what they had lost in wages, job security and conditions years after the ECA was repealed in 2000, he says.

Mr Hanson says the two Maritime Unions work together as part of the Tasman Maritime Federation (TMF), a maritime alliance that sees workers co-operating internationally.

He says the Tasman Maritime Federation will discuss industrial, financial and political methods of helping the struggle for a fair go for workers wherever they face attacks.

“What we are talking about is the globalization of workers, where working people come together internationally for their common interests – this is a proud tradition for maritime unions around the world.”

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