Businesses fear Port lockout backlash
Auckland businesses expect trouble from wharfies following lockout notices issued this morning by Ports of Auckland (PoAL).
In an abrupt turn-around in the face of mediation, Ports of Auckland (PoAL) has given striking Maritime Union workers two weeks notice of an indefinite lockout.
Angry strikers plan a fire-with-fire response with protests at the port this afternoon.
Word of the planned lockout leaked out yesterday and businessmen, who declined to be named, told NBR Online they expected action on the picket to heat up and say they expect trouble at any time.
Lockout notices were served as striking workers were about to meet to consider a possible return to work to allow continued mediation during the next month.
PoAL chairman Richard Pearson says it is the Ports view the "existing right to contract out must remain."
"This existing right will be fundamental to the upcoming mediation," Mr Pearson says. He says PoAL has written to the mediation service seeking an urgent start to mediation discussions.
He says the Port will continue to operate as it has been throughout the strikes and the company's stevedores continue to service vessels arriving at the container terminal.
Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe says a judicial settlement conference at Auckland’s Employment Court yesterday meant workers could lift the strike and return to work.
Mr Parsloe says workers would not be able to return to work if the port gates are locked, which he says will amount to an unlawful lockout.