Maritime Union joins rallies and digs deep in Telecom lines engineers dispute

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The Maritime Union has upped its industrial and financial support of Telecom lines engineers in their employment dispute.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says a national meeting of Union representatives from ports and ships this morning voted an initial $10,000 to support Telecom lines engineers in their struggle for secure jobs.

Maritime Union members from New Zealand ships and the waterfront joined rallies in Auckland and Wellington this morning alongside the lines engineers and other supporters.

The lines engineers are members of the EPMU.

Hundreds of jobs of Telecom lines engineers are threatened by attempts by Telecom contractor Visionstream to force workers to become “dependent contractors”.

Mr Hanson says this dispute affects all New Zealand workers and maritime workers were very aware of the serious nature of this attack by employers.

He says the Maritime Union is 100% behind the lines engineers.

“If Telecom and Visionstream are allowed to get away with this, it will be open season on all workers. Their actions must be exposed and stopped. Workers need secure jobs.”

Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union is contacting international maritime unions and working with affiliates of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the International Transport Workers’ Federation to build support.

He says Telecom imports through ports will come under close scrutiny if they are related to the current dispute and broadband rollout.

The Maritime Union and the EPMU are part of the “Oil and Gas Alliance” which unites workers in the off shore oil and gas industry.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is made up of 681 unions representing 4,500,000 transport workers in 148 countries.

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