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Acrimony and accusations rife in Auckland ports dispute

Ports of Auckland's release of negotiation documents has sparked more threats from the Maritime Union.

Wharfies returned to work after several months of strikes in April, but a new collective agreement is still being negotiated.

The council-controlled port company and the union asked for help negotiating an agreement from the Employment Relations Authority, which appointed chief authority member Alastair Dumbleton as a "facilitator".

On Friday, PoA published a letter to workers from chief executive Tony Gibson and its collective bargaining proposal.

Mr Gibson says in the letter the company needs to shake up its rosters to fit the shipping schedule, while increasing pay rates by 10%, with a further performance bonus of up to 10%.

It will guarantee full-time workers 160 hours in a four-week roster cycle, with a minimum of 10 hours between shifts and the end of double-shifting.

He says without this flexibility the port will continue to lose work – such as Maersk's Southern Star service, which went to Tauranga last year.

"We can't wish our customers back, we have to win them back," Mr Gibson says in the letter.

"If we do nothing we'll lose more customers and end up a smaller port. 

"Smaller ports need fewer staff."

On Saturday, the Maritime Union of New Zealand accused the Auckland Council-controlled company of breaching the law by publishing the documents.

Garry Parsloe, the union's national president, says it will be issuing proceedings about the "continued breach of good faith by this arrogant and heavy-handed company".

Mr Dumbleton issued a recommendation on Friday evening that none of the parties talk to the media until midday today, other than statements about the process of or progress in the so-called facilitation.

Ports of Auckland is owned by Auckland Council Investments Ltd, a council-controlled investment company.

More by David Williams

Comments and questions

I hope PoAL are checking with the Registrar to double check that MUNZ are in fact fully complying with all their legal requirements and have all their minimum annual accounts filed - because if they aren't filed, then surely MUNZ are in breach of their minimum legal operating criteria and are unable to represent anyone until they comply with the law and minimum statutory requirements?

Having spent 40 years( both in the conventional and box boat years) in the shipping business I can tell you its time the Auckland Wharfies were kicked into touch --- I could write you a book about the goings on - on the Auckland Waterfront from the 60s through to 2006.
The employers should have had the internal fortitude to do it years ago (like Mt Maunganui /Tauranga) and have only made a rod for their own back.
Of course, I wouldn't give you a cent for the current POAL Management or their Board-- who in their right mind would pay an alleged nzd 750000 package to the Chief Executive (nice guy but thats it). Ask him what happened at Maersk.

And that's why this national led government wants to change the employment act to make it illegal for workers to take strike action, just like they did in the 1990s, and also to give the employer the right to walk away from collective bargaining. Offer whatever wage and conditions they like on individual contract, as well as driving wages and working conditions down.

Elected governments make, change, alter, fine-tune all manner of Acts constantly to keep society functioning, growing, evolving and moving with the times.

In this particular instance - it's MUNZ who insist on 1950's work practises who really need to evolve. I mean - how many other industries in NZ have been offered a 10% increase and 10% bonus?

look here annoyingmouse take your j key, r hide ,and banksie propaganda and walk in front of a bus.......