Ports of Auckland has received a second strike notice from the Maritime Union of New Zealand – Local 13 (MUNZ), with which it is currently bargaining over a Collective Agreement.
The second strike is for the period commencing 10.30 pm on Thursday 8 December 2011 until 10.30 pm Saturday 10 December 2011.
Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson said further strike action would threaten the Auckland and New Zealand supply chain in the lead up to Christmas.
“This added disruption has the potential to cause substantial delays and add extra cost for shipping lines, exporters and importers. Exporters may suffer a loss of credibility by being unable to get their goods to market on time, and there could well be costs and delays beyond the period of the strike due to the flow-on effect of the interlinked shipping schedules.”
The strike notice follows the failure of a mediation session between the company and the union yesterday.
“The central issue appears to be our use of a third party to undertake shuttle work, which involves moving containers between the two container terminals by truck.”
“This work has been out-sourced for approximately 18 months and a comprehensive consultation process with staff was undertaken before the decision was made. Four union employees were affected. All were offered redeployment. One accepted and three took voluntary redundancy.”
“Out-sourcing this work is a commercial matter between Ports of Auckland and the third party. It has delivered significant operational flexibility and cost savings.”
Ports of Auckland’s most recent offer to the union involved rolling over the expired CEA with no changes to terms and conditions, a $200 signing payment to recognise backpay and a 2.5% increase to hourly rates, in line with CPI changes.
The company had also offered to work collaboratively with staff and the union on a range of performance initiatives, to make no redundancies as a result of these initiatives during the term of the agreement, and to undertake no further contracting out of labour during the term of the agreement.
“We consider the offer to be a generous one given the uncertain global economic climate and the significant losses being made by shipping companies in Australasia and around the world.”
Mr Gibson said that claims by Local 13 President Mr Parsloe that the port company was not willing to continue talks were not correct.
"Mediation concluded on the basis that we would contact the mediator to advise if we wished to participate in further mediation talks. We do. We will be contacting the mediator today to arrange further talks as soon as possible.”
“What is true is that Mr Parsloe has declined to meet with us tomorrow or Friday due to overseas travel commitments.”
Ports of Auckland’s multi-cargo wharves, cruise business, vehicle import trade, marine services, Onehunga seaport, Wiri Inland Port and Seafuels barge Awanuia are not affected by the proposed strike. The on-dock empty container depot will also remain open.
The proposed action involves 327 employees out of a total of 580.
Mr Gibson said questions were being asked about the number of staff who had voted for the strike and the robustness of the voting procedures used by the union.
“I urge the union to clarify how many staff out of the total 327 union members voted for strike action.”
POAL has been in formal negotiations with MUNZ since 5 August 2011 with informal discussions underway for most of the year. The Collective Agreement (CA) with MUNZ expired on 30 September 2011.