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The Alliance Party has added its voice to the Maritime Union of New Zealand’s call for public support for Ports of Auckland workers to keep their jobs.
“It will be a very grim day for New Zealanders if the Ports of Auckland is allowed to make workers redundant and contract out work at the port,” says Alliance Party Co-Leader Kay Murray.
“Since when has it been a problem for workers to have secure well paid jobs? The Ports of Auckland CEO should be proud of the existing wages and working conditions of his staff, not waging war with them. Contracting out will mean private contractors compete to do the work at the lowest price but still make a decent profit for their company directors and shareholders,” said Ms Murray.
The Alliance believes that New Zealand has been in a race to the bottom for wages and conditions for the last 20 years. The party believes that only a fight back by workers can now redress this imbalance such as the one occurring at Ports of Auckland.
Ms Murray further pointed out that only strong unions can help secure the high wage, high productivity economy successive governments have long wanted.
“Thanks to the support of a strong union, Ports of Auckland workers have enjoyed decent wages and working conditions and in return have worked hard for their employer. The good pay and conditions enjoyed by wharf workers there need to be the norm for all of us if New Zealand is to become the productive high wage economy John Key talks about.”
Instead the Alliance believes that Ports of Auckland management has instigated this dispute as part of a plan to make them ready them for privatisation.
“Make no mistake, if Ports of Auckland workers lose this fight we all lose. Forget about closing the gap with Australia. A decent day's work for a decent day's pay is an idea that will be consigned to history,” said Ms Murray.