Maritime Union warns of declining standards on waterfront

Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says employers and Government agencies appear to be turning a blind eye to unsafe working conditions in New Zealand ports.

He says there have been ongoing feedback from workers that paints a picture of a decline in standards in many ports.

Mr Fleetwood says that the recession and increasing competition for available cargo in New Zealand ports means many employers are cutting corners.

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Fast food jobs shows National Government’s contempt for young workers

The Maritime Union says the National Government’s plan to act as a compulsory recruitment agency for McDonalds fast food chain is a travesty.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has described an agreement between WINZ and McDonalds that will provide up to 7000 unemployed workers for the fast-food chain’s growth plans over the next five years.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the scheme has two beneficiaries – a Government with a failing jobs policy, and a global corporation that will suck profits out of New Zealand.

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Lockwood’s comments show it’s time to sort out short-term labour

The Maritime Union says that action must be taken to protect both local jobs and overseas workers in New Zealand industries after recent comments from Opposition immigration spokesperson Lockwood Smith about overseas workers caused an uproar.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says a progressive downward pressure on wages, conditions and local jobs is spreading throughout large areas of the New Zealand economy, including the horticulture and viticulture sector.

“We are very aware of this problem in the fishing industry and with flag of convenience shipping, and also with attempts to displace waterfront labour.”

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Concerns with port takeover threat

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has warned against the takeover of New Zealand ports after shipping giant COSCO announced its interest in buying into New Zealand ports this week.

The Chinese state owned multinational corporation COSCO is one of the world’s largest shipping lines.

Maritime Union spokesperson Victor Billot says the Union is opposed to handing control of ports over to global operators.

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Maritime Union supports bill to help casual workers

The Maritime Union says a new employment Bill before Parliament is good news for casual workers.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says that many New Zealand workers are struggling with the insecurity of casual work.

The Maritime Union welcomed the Bill which featured increased powers for Labour Inspectors to determine whether workers were fixed-term or permanent employees, and tests to determine whether a worker has progressed from casual to permanent employment.

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Action on casual workers welcomed

The Maritime Union has welcomed a Government announcement that it intends to improve protections for casual workers.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Union has been arguing since 1991 that the practice of employing casual labour on the waterfront is degrading and unfair.

“It is similar to the situation of a century ago when workers lined up for work at the port gate, and many were victimized or refused work.”

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