The Maritime Union is gearing up for national and international action to protect secure local jobs at the Port of Napier.
Members of the Maritime Union employed at Hawkes Bay Stevedoring Services have been threatened with job losses after a container stevedoring contract was awarded to Mount Maunganui based stevedore ISO.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the decision by the port company has already generated a major backlash, with a national meeting of the Union today calling for solidarity action with the Napier workers.
Mr Hanson says the decision will affect around 25 permanent jobs and around 60 casual jobs in the Port of Napier from the start of next year.
“We are not going to allow a situation where local jobs are disrupted and destroyed.”
Mr Hanson says the port workers in Napier were gutted and angry by the decision by the Port of Napier Limited.
“Our members have worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the Port Company and generated big profits for the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the local people.”
Mr Hanson says it appears that ISO were going to try to use Napier maritime workers to train their own staff in the meantime.
“This is not going to happen.”
The Maritime Union was talking with the Council of Trade Unions and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) about the situation, and would be approaching overseas unions including the Maritime Union of Australia and the ILWU on the USA west coast for assistance.
The Maritime Union was already in touch with shipping companies to register their concerns and all branches of the Union had offered support to the Napier workers.
Mr Hanson says the Union’s case had already received some high level support.
Napier MP Russell Fairbrother had said today that the Ports of Napier, owned by Hawkes Bay Regional Council, had a responsibility to being a good Hawkes’ Bay citizen and he had asked local people to contact the Port Company and Regional Council with their concerns.
The Union agreed with Mr Fairbrother’s comment that the port was there to serve us, not to exploit us.