Maritime Union of New Zealand National President Garry Parsloe says a major stumbling block in the current industrial dispute at Ports of Auckland is the contracting out of work covered in a signed collective employment agreement between the parties.
He says the Union is prepared to lift its strike notice in the new year, but needed an indication of good faith from management.
“We can work with the company to sort out a timeline on outstanding issues, but we need to see that the company is not just pursuing an exercise to casualize the entire workforce, which they have been threatening.”
Mr Parsloe says if Ports of Auckland management want to make a genuine show of good faith, they could make progress by ensuring the existing shuttles that move containers within the port are manned 24/7 by skilled workers trained to operate them.
In the event of undercapacity, Mr Parsloe says the Union is prepared to negotiate in good faith to resolve any issues within an agreed time frame.
Industrial action could be lifted as long as management negotiated outstanding issues in good faith.
“During the term of the previous agreement, Ports of Auckland management contracted out the shuttle work to a company called Conlinxx, which they are the main owners of.”
He says the ownership structure of the Conlinxx service showed the contracting out exercise was clearly aimed at undermining terms and conditions within the signed collective agreement between the parties.
The Maritime Union tried to resolve this issue with past and present management during the term of the agreement, but the contracting out had led to a dispute over the protection of workers livelihoods and their families futures
Mr Parsloe says many New Zealand workers had experienced the bad results of contracting out and casualization, which had decimated wages and conditions and made working life harder for many people in this country.
“Casualization and contracting out isn’t about productivity in our view, it is about taking advantage of workers by driving down their wages and conditions.”