The Maritime Union of New Zealand and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are investigating a shipjumping incident in Dunedin where nine Indonesian seafarers left the fishing trawler Marinui on Friday 10 March.
ITF New Zealand co-ordinator Kathy Whelan says the Union has been in touch with the Ministry of Immigration about the case, and ITF representatives will try to speak to the fishermen at Auckland Airport before they are sent home tomorrow.
She says she is extremely concerned about the increasing numbers of foreign seafarers leaving their vessels in New Zealand ports, in this case claiming they were subjected to 24 hour shifts with no breaks, two hour sleep breaks, and physical abuse.
Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union and the International Transport Workers Federation, as well as the Council of Trade Unions, were recently given assurances by the Minister of Immigration that problems in the fishing industry would be fixed.
“We want to get the real facts on the matter, as we are always seeing these shipjumping workers spirited out of the country before the matter is properly investigated.”
He says the Maritime Union position is that the employment of overseas fishermen in New Zealand waters needs to be closely monitored and regulated by New Zealand Immigration officials in their country of origin.
“This is the only way to make sure these exploited workers are employed on proper terms and conditions at New Zealand market rates with proper employment agreements, and that they are not subject to corrupt practices like having to pay ‘fees’ for their job.”
For further information contact:
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson on 04 801 7614 or 021 390585
ITF New Zealand Co-ordinator Kathy Whelan on 04 801 7613 or 021 666405