Maritime Union confirms Ports of Auckland strike action

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has confirmed strike action at the Ports of Auckland for Tuesday 2 December and Wednesday 3 December 2008.

Fourteen days notice of the strike action was given to the Ports of Auckland management early this afternoon by Maritime Union Local 13, which represents waterfront and other workers at the Port.

Maritime Union Local 13 President Denis Carlisle says around 300 workers in the container terminal stevedoring, road, rail, shuttle and engineering services areas will withdraw labour for a 24 hour period starting at 10.59pm on Tuesday 2 December.

Mr Carlisle says the industrial action has come about because workers want to hold a major stopwork meeting to discuss employment issues.

“Workers want to meet together, and are prepared to do this at a time that is convenient for shipping schedules. Management have refused our proposal and obviously see hardline posturing as more important than ensuring stability and service for their customers.”

Mr Carlisle says that the Union membership requires an eight-hour stopwork meeting to work through outstanding issues with their employment agreement.

He says short meetings proposed by the Company will not resolve anything and will simply delay dealing with the issues.

“We’d like to get some progress, get matters discussed thoroughly, take direction from our members and then get on with things.”

Mr Carlisle says management has taken an aggressive approach to the issue by attacking the Union in public, which has backfired and angered workers.

It had also created poor publicity for the Ports of Auckland.

“This tactic has had a major negative impact on negotiations between the parties. It appears management are assuring their customers they are trying to reach a solution on one hand, while pushing up tensions with inflammatory statements on the other hand, which does not indicate a constructive attitude.”

Mr Carlisle says the Union will continue to be open to a negotiated solution to the problem, but would take a stand on principle if union members were unhappy with the approach of management.

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