The Maritime Union says substantial progress in the ports and shipping sector in the last term needs to be continued under a Labour-led Government.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says three key successes of the current Government have been in building coastal shipping capability, improving health and safety through the Ports Health and Safety Leadership Group, and laying the foundations for improved conditions in the industry through Fair Pay Agreements.
He says the interests of the transport industry are wider than shareholder profit, and the needs of workers and the environment need to be prioritized.
Mr Harrison says the $30 million coastal shipping fund has seen new New Zealand flagged vessels come onto the coast after years of decline.
He says following the pandemic disruption, the transport industry now acknowledges the need for a vibrant coastal shipping sector.
“Coastal shipping is a low emission mode and provides resilience in the face of the extreme weather events that are already disrupting land transport links.”
He says the development of the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group led by Maritime New Zealand and implemented by the Government has been a game changer.
“The maritime industry has had a terrible rate of deaths and injuries in recent years, and this is now changing as the industry works together under the new system.”
Mr Harrison says Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) are a great step forward for undervalued workers.
“Even employers now acknowledge the low wage casualization model has been a failure and we have to provide decent wages and conditions for all workers.”
He says workers make up the majority of voters and need to focus on real issues and the facts of what was in the interests of working-class people.
“Past promises of tax cuts have always benefited the wealthy section of the population – they do not benefit the majority of workers who need better wages and conditions and public services.”
Mr Harrison says Labour and the Greens have demonstrated a clear commitment in Government to the interests of workers and a sustainable and resilient transport industry.