Report from BusinessDesk
Maritime Union members at Ports of Auckland have voted to strike for a sixth time, and wharfies will refuse to work containers moved by the company’s transport unit Conlinxx. Some 300 union members voted for a week-long strike this morning. The industrial action won’t be continuous. The action will start at 7am on February 15.
“The union is prepared to work through productivity and other issues, but not under the type of threats the management are holding over its employees,” union president Garry Parsloe said in a statement. “It is aimed at getting management to negotiate rather than dictate.”
The strike will be the latest in a running battle between port management, who want to cut costs by increasing use of casual labour, and the union in a dispute that’s cost the transport hub contracts with shipping line Maersk and dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group.
Ports of Auckland has requests for proposals out with potential new labour suppliers which are due back today, and it expects to make a decision about whether to proceed with plans to outsource jobs in early February.
Last week, it emerged the port tapped former Port of Tauranga chief Jon Mayson for advice on how to set up more flexible labour relations. Mayson was involved in the 1990 labour reforms at the Tauranga hub.
Statement from Maritime Union of NZ
The Maritime Union has announced further industrial action to protect secure jobs at Ports of Auckland. A meeting was held this morning in Auckland attended by around 300 port workers. The meeting voted to place further strike action on the port.
The strike action would run from 7am on 15 February until 7am on 22 February 2012, said Maritime Union national president Garry Parsloe.
The strike action would not be continuous, but would involve members refusing to work containers that had been delivered or moved around the Ports of Auckland by Conlinxx.
Conlinxx was the majority owned POAL company that had already been used to outsource jobs at the Ports of Auckland.
Mr Parsloe says this is legal and protective action to protect jobs and family livelihoods from outsourcing and casualization.
He says the industrial action was taken with reluctance, but was necessary as port management refused to negotiate.
“It is aimed at getting management to negotiate rather than dictate. The Union is prepared to work through productivity and other issues but not under the type of threats the management are holding over its employees.”
Mr Parsloe said the Maritime Union members had received support for their cause from many workers in New Zealand as well as overseas.