Maritime Union opposes outsourcing at Ports of Auckland

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says outsourcing at Ports of Auckland cannot replace a skilled in-house workforce.
Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 President Garry Parsloe says any moves to contract out work by port management would meet strong resistance.
Ports of Auckland Managing Director Jens Madsen has claimed in media interviews that outsourcing parts of Ports of Auckland’s workforce was being driven by the need to handle peak demand.
But Mr Parsloe says the workforce currently employed by the Port Company are one of the most flexible workforces in New Zealand.
“Maritime Union members at Ports of Auckland work 24/7 in all weather. They undertake highly skilled duties operating heavy equipment in a challenging environment.”
He says the focus of management should be on maintaining its current workforce at a level where it can service its customers.
Mr Parsloe says Mr Madsen’s claims that outsourcing was common practice overseas neglected to take into account that it was also a common source of major industrial conflict between management and workers.
Maritime workers around the world were fighting outsourcing and job insecurity tooth and nail.
“We have no doubt outsourcing will be used to reduce the terms and conditions that our members receive under the terms and conditions of the Collective Employment Agreement recently negotiated in good faith with the Company.”
He says workers feel that they have been deceived by the Port Company management following major redundancies in 2009.
Mr Parsloe says managers were warned at the time that they would be left understaffed.
He says the current agreement contains the flexibility to meet the ‘peaks and troughs’ of shipping.
“The outsourcing concept from the Ports of Auckland management is about trying to cover a lack of skilled, permanent staff. If it is such a good idea, why not outsource the managers?”
Mr Parsloe says during the global economic downturn, the hard work of maritime workers saw an increased profit of $4.6 million for the Ports of Auckland.
The profit from the Port Company is returned to the people of Auckland through the Auckland Regional Council and has contributed over $200 million in the past five years.

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