The Maritime Union of New Zealand says its members at the Ports of Auckland earn every cent they are paid for long hours and skilled work in tough and dangerous conditions.
Workers at the Ports of Auckland are on the second day of strike action today, picketing terminal gates for improved wages and conditions.
Maritime Union Auckland Waterfront Branch Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says bosses have resorted to “old fashioned propaganda” that the workforce had it too good.
“Of course, the people saying this get paid much more than workers here or anywhere. Let’s ask for an individual breakdown of how much senior management are being paid at the Ports of Auckland for a comparison.”
He says the attitude seems to be that CEOs and corporate managers can command vast inflated salaries that bear no relation to their performance, but workers are not entitled to a decent wage.
“Everyone seems to be concerned that New Zealand is a low wage economy, so we’re doing our bit to change that.”
Mr Carlisle says workers are getting fed up with being “thrown crumbs” from employers.
He says that transnational shipping corporations were extracting vast profits from New Zealand, and no one questioned that.
Mr Carlisle says a permanent stevedore working a 40 hour week earns $52 000 on average in Auckland.
“Anything above this is earned by overtime including double shifts (16 hours) worked around the clock, 364 days a year in all weather conditions and under heavy time constraints.”
Mr Carlisle says to give an idea of the working environment was the situation over Christmas Day.
“We’ve managed to get a day off for Christmas for members two years ago, but the port company are trying to make it a working day again. Family time means nothing to them. Our members will continue to assert their rights as human beings and workers.”