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For a group of workers already receiving twice the average wage, the Maritime Union decision to end today’s mediation talks by serving a new 48 hr strike notice for Friday 30th December is “perplexing and very disappointing,” said Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
The Union has confirmed the dispute is not about money, but conditions. The Port today has confirmed that the proposal on the table is in line with agreements of non-union employees on individual employment agreements.”
“So what is the strike about?” If the union cause was a value-based proposition surely their brother maritime workers in other ports – especially Tauranga – would be coming out in support.”
Instead, they are putting themselves out on a limb with fellow Aucklanders. “We all agree that workers are entitled to the best platform they can achieve,” said Mr Barnett. “But all they are achieving is creating an environment of uncertainty about Auckland as a good place to do business, and denying Auckland having a profitable port which generates revenue for investing in the city’s development.”
The further strike is timed to cause maximum disruption. Auckland’s rail network is being electrified and so bringing diverted freight from Tauranga will not be possible.
“The Union would have known this, suggesting they are not acting in “good faith” that they have claimed. It doesn’t help Auckland’s image, and raises questions as to how genuine the Union is to help improve the port’s efficiency and competitiveness.”