The Maritime Union of New Zealand is supporting strike action by Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members in the West Australian offshore oil and gas industry.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says many New Zealanders work in the Australian maritime industry.
He says that the Maritime Union of New Zealand works closely with the MUA and other unions in international alliances such as the Trans Tasman Oil and Gas Alliance.
Mr Fleetwood says the Australian workers had the full support of maritime workers around the world.
“The employers are making vast fortunes in profits. You don’t notice all the CEOs and politicians refusing their huge pay increases but when workers stand up for their rights it becomes the end of the world.”
He says the wages of those workers get spent in working class communities rather than being hoarded by wealthy shareholders.
“This is about workers getting their share of the wealth they create. After all, they do the work out on the remote rigs and vessels, away from home for long periods and in a risky, heavy industrial environment.”
Mr Fleetwood says the issue has important implications for New Zealand.
“The offshore oil and gas industry is an important part of our economy and will become more important over the next decade.”
The Maritime Union supports moves away from an oil based economy in the long term but there would be a transition period where oil and gas were still required and New Zealand had to make the most of that.
“This is a limited resource and one that is not having a positive effect on the environment. The wealth from our oil and gas reserves must be used to benefit our people and to move to a post-oil economy.”
He noted how diverse nations such as Norway and Venezuela had used their oil and gas reserves for the benefit of their citizens.
Mr Fleetwood says that New Zealand should maintain close control of its oil and gas reserves and should not allow them to be exploited by private corporations.