Maritime Union National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview this morning were unacceptable.
Mr Fleetwood says the continued denial from the management of the principal owner Port of Tauranga to accept responsibility for what was going on in its port was grotesque.
He says it is dishonest to claim the Port is merely a “landlord” when it operates a Terminal as well as being a shareholder in related businesses including Port of Timaru.
He says that unless Port companies are made to have a duty of care towards all workers – and contractors – then the situation would continue.
“They will not do it themselves because they are only interested in profit, not people. It is set up to get them off the hook.”
Mr Fleetwood says the “Tauranga model” is broken and the record of deaths and injuries in the port spoke for itself.
“Will this Tauranga model be transferred to the Port of Timaru now?”
“Outsourcing, contracting out and casualization in ports means health and safety comes last.”
Mr Fleetwood says Port companies use contracting out and outsourcing to pump up profits at the expense of security and safety of workers.
He says when port bosses and shareholders preened themselves about massive profits, they were talking about blood money.
“You can be sure the senior management return safe and well to their homes every night, a privilege denied to the people who actually do the work.”
Mr Fleetwood says the attitude of the Port of Tauranga was clear.
This was most evident when a worker for a private stevedore at the port was fatally injured in August 2014, yet it took repeated inquiries from the media for the employer, port company or authorities to admit it had happened.
“At the same time, the Port of Tauranga was boasting about its record profits and health and safety record in their own publications.”