Ports of Auckland workers want their share

Maritime workers at Ports of Auckland say their industrial action is about getting a fair share of the profit their hard work generates.

Workers at the Ports of Auckland will be on strike from 0700 hours on 2 October 2007 to 0659 hours on 4 October.

Maritime Union Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says that maritime workers are the engine driving the success of New Zealand’s biggest container port.

“Ports of Auckland volume is up 12.6% over last year. Our workers handled the equivalent of 773,160 standardized containers last year. The growth of the port is due to the productivity, skills and round the clock shifts of maritime workers.”

Mr Carlisle says workers productivity and increased living costs are not reflected in pay offers from management.

He says management have blundered by trying to bypass wage negotiations and paying wage increases that had not been agreed to.

“Ports of Auckland has started to make extra unauthorized payments into our members bank accounts – of the amount they feel we are worth.”

Mr Carlisle said this tactic was clearly designed to undermine genuine negotiations.

“We want upfront negotiations to get a deal that both sides agree to. Not ‘pocket money.’ It’s about respect.”

Mr Carlisle says that when managers spoke to workplace meetings last week, they were obviously taken aback by the strength of feeling displayed by workers.

“There has been a suggestion from top management that workers here are already wellpaid, which has gone down like a lead balloon with the workers.”

He says the way forward is for management to return to negotiations and “stop being clever.”

Maritime workers will be on pickets outside the Axis Bledisloe and Axis Fergusson terminals of Ports of Auckland for the duration of the strike.

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