New Zealand fisheries under spotlight of global union campaign

The New Zealand fishing industry is under the spotlight at a major international union meeting on the Asia Pacific fishing industry held in Auckland this week.

The Asia Pacific Fisheries Workshop is being held as part of a global union campaign “From Catcher to Counter.”

The new campaign is aimed at organising fishing workers, improving and standardizing conditions for fishing workers, and developing secure employment opportunities in value added processing in their relevant countries.

The campaign is a joint effort by two global union federations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Union of Food Workers (IUF).

Workers representatives from fisheries, maritime and food processing industries in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have been joined by senior representatives of the ITF and IUF from the UK and Europe.

The meeting will identify priorities for organising workers in the Asia Pacific region.

The three day meeting also features speakers from the Ministry of Primary Industries, University of Auckland, maritime lawyers, and campaigning groups.

The meeting is hosted by three New Zealand unions, the Maritime Union of New Zealand (ITF affiliate), the Merchant Service Guild (ITF affiliate) and the Service and Food Workers Union (IUF affiliate), who have campaigned to improve conditions and create jobs in the New Zealand fishing and processing industries.

ITF/IUF Fisheries Programme leader Liz Blackshaw says the high profile of labour problems in the New Zealand fishing industry made the meeting a good starting point to work on fishing issues in the Asia Pacific region.

“The effectiveness of recent changes to legislation around the fishing industry has been on the agenda as well as organizing in the wider region.”


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