Members of the Maritime Union were thrilled today that following a Settlement Conference with the Employment Court, Ports of Auckland has seen sense and undertaken to halt its contracting processes and re-enter collective bargaining.
Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says this now means these workers can safely return to work on the terms and conditions of their collective agreement and do what they have always wanted - concentrate on collective bargaining for a renewed agreement.
The fact the Port has taken this path today is a clear indication they are nervous about potential court action and realise that the path they have put all their efforts into, including the absolutely unprincipled decision to dismiss the workforce and employ contract labour is not viable, he said.
CTU President Helen Kelly said: "Today is great relief for these workers but the fact they have even had to go through this means the Council must now ask serious questions about who is running this Port and why the Board embarked on a path that has cost the rate payers millions and done considerable damage to the reputation of the Port.
"The Council should hold an immediate inquiry into how this whole mess occurred," Helen Kelly said.
Garry Parsloe said the main focus of the union will now be to get a settlement for a new collective agreement.
"Whether this Board and Port management are capable of working constructively to rebuild the battered and damaged relationship with port workers who they have besmirched at every opportunity and settle a fair collective is an unanswered question."
"The Council as owner must ensure that any Board or Port management are able to get this Port back on track".