Port proposals to reduce worker protections when contracting out unhelpful

Members of the Maritime Union were frustrated today that in mediation the Ports of Auckland has tabled a document that presses ahead with reductions to job security for wharfies.

Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe said that company proposals not only reduce employee protections in the event of contracting out, but also continue to insist on the removal of employment security that would result in wharfies having no guaranteed days off, no protection against casualisation and a package that would significantly reduce their pay.

“The Port today tabled an agreement that only contained three changes from their position in December that lead to the contracting out proposal,” Garry Parsloe said.

“The changes today include a guarantee for full timers of 160 hours work per month and 96 hours for part timers and it includes a provision to vary hours with 24 hours notice and cancel shifts with 8 hours notice.  Apart from that nothing else has changed.”

“Despite the union offering a range of significant proposals to change the current agreement, the Port continues to insist on a whole new agreement which removes basic security.”

Garry Parsloe said Port proposals would see the lack of any guaranteed weekends off, where currently workers have one weekend off in three; no limits on the employment and utilisation of casual staff and a proposal to pay casual workers up to $10 per hour less than permanent staff; the removal of entitlement to rehabilitation when injured; the removal of 5 days leave for workers to spend with a partner after the birth of a new baby; and a number of other changes which will significantly reduce pay and conditions.

“When challenged today about whether or not the proposal by the Port to increase pay by 10% is more than offset by the cuts in pay and conditions in other areas and in addition to a complete removal of employment security, the Port could not respond.”

“The company’s offer to have a non binding, yet to be developed code of practice around some additional issues that would be developed by Port management over the next few months post settlement, is simply unacceptable and unjustified,” Garry Parsloe said.

Mediation is continuing and will proceed to facilitation if needed.

The Maritime Union is committed to achieving a settlement and intends to continue to use the next two days to try to do that, Garry Parsloe said.

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