Story: Strikes and labour disputes

Cook Strait airlift, 1983

Cook Strait airlift, 1983

Several passengers are securely strapped in and fitted with ear muffs for their flight across Cook Strait in an air force Hercules plane during a 1983 strike by seafarers and other waterfront workers. The unions were protesting the presence in Wellington Harbour of the nuclear-armed American warship USS Texas. During this and other strikes that held up the Cook Strait car ferries, the government used air force planes to fly passengers and their vehicles from Wellington to the air force base at Woodbourne, near Blenheim. The flights, known as Operation Pluto, cost far more than the regular ferry fare.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP-Labour-Seafarers-03
Photograph by Phil Reid

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Strikes and labour disputes - Social impact of labour disputes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 February 2020)

Story by Mark Derby, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 1 Mar 2016