CEO’s approach blocking solution in Ports of Auckland dispute

The approach of the Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson to the current industrial dispute is blocking any hopes of an early resolution.

Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says the Union believed progress had been made on the central issues, but an “attitude problem” by management was getting in the way.

Mr Parsloe says the credibility of Ports of Auckland management is in tatters after CEO Tony Gibson asserted last week that the current industrial dispute had caused a Maersk shipping service being pulled from Ports of Auckland.

“A basic examination of the facts has shown this claim to be nonsense, as the New Zealand media have reported and commented on in some detail.”

Mr Parsloe says due to the inaccurate representation of this situation by Ports of Auckland, questions are now being asked about the wider agenda and judgement of Ports of Auckland management.

“Then Mr Gibson keeps on going on about how much the stoppage is costing. But he was the one who ordered a two day lockout timed to cause maximum disruption to his own port. You have to wonder where he is coming from with this kind of stuff.”

Mr Parsloe says the union was focussed on mediation, but the CEO seemed to be expending all his energies trying to justify himself in the media by attacking his workforce.

He says the port company was insisting on constantly contacting members with error filled information.

“The CEO is legally allowed to contact our members. However the practical effect has been to aggravate our members who are clear they want to negotiate with management through their elected advocates in the Union.”

He says that Mr Gibson had to accept that the situation required negotiation, and negotiation required a relationship.

“If you keep on blowing things out of the water then it’s hard to talk. We’re not sure if it is a CEO ego issue or some wider anti-union ideology that is the problem.”

Mr Parsloe says giant steps were made at mediation on Friday.

“However, we came up against a brick wall when we asked he respect our members wishes that he negotiate with their elected advocates, rather than bothering them at home with constant misinformation.”

“We have to ask why such a simple concept is not getting through. It is simply about respecting workers wishes. What is the hard part here?”

The sole result of the management’s approach has been to drive the parties further apart.

“We’re not sure who exactly Mr Gibson thinks this is benefiting.”

Mr Parsloe says Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson needs to start listening to what his workforce is telling him, and if he did so, progress would be made.

Ports of Auckland workers were picketing the port this morning and raising awareness of what the real issues at the port were, and had been joined by MPs, other unions, community representatives and members of the public.

He says workers would be meeting at 10am to discuss the way forward.



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