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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.

More by Conor O'Brien

Comments and questions

Despite this lockout I suppose Conor will still say it's the union that's acting in bad faith and unwilling to negotiate?

The old saying goes "Without sight any coffin, will not shed any tears"

Ive yet to see a tearful cofffin??

"Without sighting of any coffin, you will not shed any tear"

just like corporations weilding power with undue harm and influence.

Any multi-million corporation should not be at the MERCY of any union, no ifs or buts...

I smell "Dragon" lurking around. That's a chinese saying.

Dragon and I are two different persons...please get your fact right before posting any comment.

"Realistic Kiwi" aren't you the same blogger who is found in the Crafar article promoting China and slagging off all things New Zealand?

I guess its time for a new board then... lock them out and get some reasonable people

commentator obviously has inside information about why PoA have done this.
Or is he/she just another union whinger?

Union didn't stop their strike or pickets, why should POA think these workers will change

Productivity will remain higher for at least an additional two weeks!!!

Good news!!

It shows how ridiculous and emotive this issue has become when the NBR gets half a dozen comments from a one-sentence posting.

At least the barbeques will be usable for a while longer...

Get rid of the leaders on both sides and get people in that can take a step back and start again.

Why this "business man" there are hundreds who feel to the contrary/

Lock them out and leave them out.

Can somebody please enlighten me? Don’t Port of Tauranga (PoT) already have and enjoy the employment conditions that POA is trying so hard to implement? We never hear PoT staff / contractors complaining. What is all the fuss about, why don’t MUNZ start living in the real world? I think the management of PoA deserve a medal! If the union members can swallow their pride, do a decent day’s work, who knows maybe they get a job back at the port (under the new conditions). As for Ms Kelly and Mr Parsloe, I think they should be looking a job elsewhere, not at all suitable for their current positions!

There are already contract stevedoring companies at POAL....Auckland Stevedores, C3, and 1 or 2 others

It's fair that the Port isn't going to let perpetual strikers back in. They've been notified of their effective redundancies and the Port has been losing significant amounts of business because of the prolonged actions of the unionsts. Why wouldn't they 'lockout' people who keep refusing to work and keep disrupting the business that supposedly they 'want to work for'?

Hear... hear.... I totally agree! I am the comment above yours at 2.48 pm. Wish somebpody would answer why the PoA MUNZ union have such a problem to adopt the same working conditions as PoT. Think they have their heads in the sand, they should leave them in the sand! It's cause they want a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Tauranga is a tidal port and can't have ships in and out all the time the same as Auckland can. Auckland needs flexibility in working conditions of their wharfies but the demand for caualisation is unnecessary ideology overriding the needs of businesses here and abroad. There are plenty of other ways of achieving flexibility for a 24 hour/7 days a week port (as is done in highly efficient ports elsewhere around the world).

I believe that Tauranga's tidal windows pose no restriction on labour. At any time Tga has labour on board within 30 min. of a ship alongside, whatever the time of day or night.

Yes but ships can only enter or leave Tauranga depending on tides - it is not like POA where ships can enter or leave whenever they want. POA could run a 24 hour a day 7 days a week operation if they got enough business.

Turn the hoses on these striking scum!!

This ports of Auckland sounds like a Mickey Mouse Operation to me,for gods sake just get this bloody Port operating and get on with it.

Keep biting the hand that feeds ya - and sooner or later that hand will withdrawn and maybe even extended a few more times... but keep biting it...and hopefully it will bunched up into a solid fist and used to help MUNZ / Parsloe / Kelly to understand they can't keep trying to hijack a rate payer owned workplace to further their own political ends.

no, no free lunches, unless you are a corporate getting government bailouts, a rugby union getting bailed out by a regional council, or a bank getting government bailouts. No free lunches... hmmm.


So just as both parties agree to go back to talks and the union vote to go back to work, POA locks them out.

POA - you are operating under your own agenda and clearly have never had any intention of good faith bargaining. You certainly aren't operating in the best interests of your customers.

I agree, the Unions need to move into the 21st century or move on indefinitely. The days where people being paid 40 hours when they really only do half those hours are over.....why should an employer pay for hours not worked? Clearly when there is no work i.e. there is a break between shipping schedules and the workforce is not needed why should they pay them? I'm sure there are plenty of other people out there that would gladly replace them....the strikers clearly have not been educated properly and have listend to the Union propaganda and like solidarity says.....keep biting the hand that feeds ya and you'll be put down.

Sure - whether workers or management, let's only pay them when there's work for them. And let's have them waiting by the phone until when we tell them there is work

Parsloe should have taken the original deal. His Union membership should sack him - in a democratic fashion. Yeah Right!

the problem is the people involves all have out sized egos and no common sense. All of them are to blame. The Chairman and Board and CEO of the company are a bunch of cowboys living in the last century. The union bosses are a bunch of 19thcentury Pom cloth caps. Time to send them on their way. Bring in the Army Declare a state of economic emergency. Get a bunch of new people with 21st century thinking. This lot and Len are last century.

The whole port should be shut down. It's an anachronism - council led, on prime waterfront in the biggest city, unions from another century, and management from the same era. It seems all the parties involved are trying their hardest to make a shut down happen, perhaps we should let it!

The Rail and Maritime Union are laying low. Kiwi Rail Westfield, services Ports of Auckland and their Wiri Inland port. Butson signalled support for the port workers, and assured there will be no crossing of picket lines by rail staff. More should be done by the RMTU.

Why should the union be the only party able to initiate action i.e. issue notice of strike action. The port does not exist to provide employment for union members. It exists to provide import and export cargo services for businesses in the Auckland region on a cost competitive basis with alternative ports. A lot more employment is at stake in the long term than the jobs of 300 wharfies at the port. If the work can be performed by 200 wharfies then the port should immediately take steps to do this.

Love your work Conor O'Brien

Party at my place when these greedy lazy layabout communist scum finally get axed. Bring it on!

Perhaps if these wharfies entered the world of private enterprise and small business for a while it would help them put their
wages and conditions into perspective.

It would also help them understand why few people have sympathy for their cause.

Parsole is a disgrace and should apologise to the members of his dinosaur union then resign or retire.

If you are a striking wharfie you'd be wanting to pack your bags as NO ONE is going to hire you - NZ is finished for you - you are gone - pack your bags --- No employer is going to be interested in hiring an ex unionist who pickets and causes you guys need to thank the old die hard union members who are in line for BIG redundancy payouts and don't care about anyone else not getting their jobs back - you have all been conned and are now screwed

No one or no organisation wants anything to do with them alright - not even when they offered free labour.

What does that tell you MUNZ?

Here Here, I agree with this comment

I think the Ports of Auckland is acting in an aggressive, uncaring and clumsy manner. The company does not seem to have acted in the spirit of good faith bargaining.

Despite spending much money on radio and newspaper advertisements, their rhetoric seems empty, one-sided and unconvincing.

Furthermore I think that company actions are not good for the efficient and profitable operation of our port.

On the other hand, I do not think that Ports of Auckland should cave in and make a settlement that is unreasonably generous.

As a rate-payer and an ultimate owner of Ports of Auckland, I call upon my Auckland Council to tell the company they need to improve their handling of the situation and quickly sort out a reasonable deal that is fair to all parties before more damage is done.