Maritime workers stand strong on Ports of Auckland picket

A positive upbeat mood and a sense of unity and determination is present at the Maritime Union of New Zealand picket line outside Ports of Auckland today.

250 workers at the Ports of Auckland container terminals are on strike for better pay and conditions.

Maritime Union of New Zealand Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says there is a sense of determination amongst striking workers, with a high level of interest from the general public.

Mr Carlisle says around 50 maritime workers were at the Axis Fergusson terminal gates and 40 at the Axis Bledisloe terminal gates at around 2pm today.

He says picketers are manning three shifts around the clock outside port gates in Auckland, from 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, and 11pm-7am, until the end of the strike on Thursday morning.

“Our members are reporting to the picket line on a roster just as if they were at work. This is a very disciplined, organized group of workers.”

The picket line has been joined by other unionists including the National Distribution Union, whom the Maritime Union supported in their 2006 Progressive supermarket dispute. Offers of support from other unions and the International Transport Workers Federation have come in.

Mr Carlisle says an employer offer of a 3.25% wage increase was an indication of their value of the labour of their employees.

“Our labour is the commodity we sell, and we will offer that labour at the value that we think it is worth.”

Mr Carlisle says the Union is looking for options to get negotiations back underway, but would not be dictated to or shortchanged.

Key issues behind the workers action are pay claims, including full back pay from 30 November 2006, and a “no cost” claim that seeks to bring a small group of Planner/Supervisors and Cargo Officers to join the Collective Agreement.

ENDS

For further information contact Maritime Union of New Zealand Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 President Denis Carlisle on 021963528

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