Rival port union signs collective agreement

Ports of Auckland has signed a collective agreement with new PortPro Union representing about 30 non-striking workers.

The agreement does not affect the ongoing dispute between the port and the Maritime Union, which is holding a barbeque in Auckland this afternoon to show the public its employment dispute is far from over.

PortPro was set up recently by former Maritime Union member Grant Lane, who wanted to offer non-striking stevedores an alternative.

PoAL ceo Tony Gibson, who is away in United States, says in a statement the agreement runs for two and a half years.

It offers workers a "flexible shift and roster system" similar to what has been in place at Port of Tauranga.

"If we can get a deal like this across all the port we will be able to compete with Tauranga on level footing," the statement says.

PoAL spin doctor Matt Ball would not give specifics of the deal, but says it is similar to the one the Maritime Union has rejected.

Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe questions the legitimacy of the new union, saying it is "too close to the boss".

He says this is based on a union rule which requires new members to be subject to an interview. 

However, Mr Lane has previously insisted his union is "totally independent" of the company.

Mr Parsloe is not aware of what the PortPro agreement involves, but says the Maritime Union will continue to try to reach its own agreement when it re-enters talks later this month. 

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