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70,000 ITF members stand alongside Auckland wharfies

Date of Release: 
Friday, February 24, 2012

New Zealand affiliates of the International Transport Workers Federation are backing the Maritime Union of NZ in its fight for secure jobs at the Ports of Auckland.

The ITF affiliates, representing over 70,000 New Zealand workers, say that Ports of Auckland needs to return to negotiate an end to this dispute in good faith.

The unions will be organising donations, welfare, picket support and other actions in support of the workers.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union National Secretary Bill Newson said: “The heart of this dispute is a belief that casualisation is the best way to manage a workforce. All research and practice shows that only a highly motivated, highly trained and well managed workforce, that is treated with respect and dignity, is the most productive. Casualisation is but one symptom of a mind-set that sees workers only as units of production and is used when management want short term, quick returns with no thought as to the future viability and profitability of the business. We fully support MUNZ’s efforts to win decent and secure work for POAL workers.”

FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said: “FIRST Union stands firmly with the Port workers and their union, MUNZ. This dispute will impact on drivers, logistic and retail workers as incoming freight dries up. If the supermarket shelves become empty we know it is the Ports of Auckland Board’s intransigence that is to blame, not Port workers fighting for their jobs and secure work. The Auckland City Council needs to direct Port management to come back down from the cliff, negotiate in good faith to put an end to this dispute, and not continue with their bloody-minded contacting out proposals.”

Rail and Maritime Transport Union General Secretary Wayne Butson said: “Casualisation is a growing problem on the New Zealand waterfront, and workers and their families have a right to certainty of hours and secure jobs. Our members stand united with the Maritime Union, and no rail or port member of our union will be crossing any picket lines during the strike.”

Merchant Service Guild General Secretary Helen McAra said: “We are extremely concerned by the company’s continuing rejection of the very conciliatory offer MUNZ has proposed”.

About the International Transport Workers Federation:

690 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 153 countries are members of the ITF.

New Zealand affiliates are:
• Aviation & Marine Engineers Association Incorporated
• First Union,
• Maritime Union of New Zealand
• Engineering Printing & Manufacturing Union
• NZ Merchant Service Guild
• Rail and Maritime Transport Union
• Flight Attendants & Related Services Association

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