The Maritime Union has put in a further 48-hour strike notice at Ports of Auckland from 7am on Friday 30 December until 7 am Sunday 1 January 2012.
Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says the strike notice is a legal requirement and can be withdrawn as soon as any progress is made with Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson.
“The answer is in Mr Gibson’s hands. He can stop trying to attack the union and the majority of his own workforce and start dealing with the real issues. It’s simply a case of trying to get him back on track.”
Mr Parsloe says the issue is not and has never been about wage increases.
What the Maritime Union and its members are concerned about is protecting the conditions of employment, secure jobs, and ensuring a strong collective agreement, he says.
“The position of the CEO has no credibility. First of all he tries to offer non union workers a much greater wage increase than members of the union in a blatant attempt to undermine the collective agreement. Then he waves money around when this inconvenient fact is pointed out to him. But it has nothing to do with the real issues at hand.”
Mr Gibson’s statements about flexibility while simultaneously claiming that he intended respecting employees’ preferences about when they work were hollow, says Mr Parsloe.
“You don’t respect something by undermining it. The flexibility Mr Gibson describes means workers give up their family time, personal life and normal existence to be called into work whenever the employer wants. That’s the flexibility he means, in a nutshell.”
Mr Parsloe says Mr Gibson seems to think family time or regular hours and secure jobs are “restrictive and old fashioned”.
“It is this attitude of regarding the wellbeing of his employees as an impediment to raking in even more profit that is causing so many problems in these negotiations.”
Mr Parsloe says the POAL agenda is also reflected in continued letters from Mr Gibson to members homes that have created stress and concern for family members by threatening contracting out of work at the port.
He says there is an agenda of outsourcing and casualization behind Ports of Auckland management’s approach and that until Mr Gibson starts to negotiate on a more sensible basis, the strike notices will remain in place.
“If port users are concerned about the effect of these stoppages, we suggest they consider the result of some of Mr Gibson’s more hare-brained concepts that he is throwing around, such as complete contracting out.”