The Maritime Union of New Zealand has claimed a major victory in its battle to save secure local jobs at the Port of Napier.
The container vessel Canberra Express left the Port of Napier last night (Wednesday 19 December) at approximately 11pm with no cargo discharged after sitting idle at the port.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says this is a major development in the dispute and a victory for local workers.
“The ship wasn’t worked. Ships are now going past Napier and will continue to go past Napier, until agreement is reached that no jobs will be lost.”
Mr Hanson says that following massive international support from global transport Unions, the ship owner had decided to take the vessel to Australia without it being worked in the Port of Napier, due to the escalating industrial situation in the port.
“The damage to the local economy and reputation of the port is unnecessary, and is a direct result of the management at the port deciding to launch an aggressive attack on secure local jobs.”
Mr Hanson says local workers have no place to go, and the Maritime Union and its international affiliates were committed to ongoing action.
Mediation between management and the Union continues today with New Zealand Council of Trade Unions President Helen Kelly arriving in Napier to join the mediation.
Moves by the Port of Napier to contract out stevedoring work threaten 25 permanent and 60 casual jobs at Hawkes’ Bay Stevedoring Services, in what the Union says is a move to destroy secure local jobs and undermine wages and conditions.
A continuous picket has been held at the port gates around the clock since 6am Saturday 15 December with local workers being joined by delegations of maritime workers from around New Zealand and Australian ports.