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Fisheries workers continue to build strength

03 Jul 2014
Representatives of the ITF and International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) this week spoke at a conference, where activists and government representatives alike discussed the continued organisation of workers in the fisheries industry.

The Papua New Guinea Maritime and Transport Workers Union (MTWU) staged the conference in Lae city this week, to agree a plan for organising 10000 fisheries workers in Papua New Guinea. The MTWU has been heavily involved with the ITF/IUF Catcher to Counter campaign, which seeks to organise the world’s fisheries’ workers.

Activists and government representatives alike attended and praised the aims and goals of the conference. Papua New Guinea Department of Labour representative Maria Lovaga said: “The government are working hard to ensure that this industry, which is of significant value to our people, provides excellent standards of work and access to decent living conditions. We welcome the Maritime Union’s efforts to properly represent our people in this industry.”

Helen Saleu, the industrial registrar in Papua New Guinea who has been instrumental in championing fishers’ rights in the country, praised the investment the MTWU has made in representing workers while complying with the laws of Papua New Guinea – a sometimes long and difficult process.

Liz Blackshaw, ITF/IUF fisheries programme leader, reinforced this sentiment. She emphasised the amount of work that has already gone into the campaign, and stated that the global campaign to organise fisheries workers has a heavy emphasis on the Asia Pacific region. She further said that 2014 would be the year that all stakeholders would show progress – not just the maritime union.

You can learn more about the Catcher to counter campaign at http://www.itfglobal.org/fish/

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