The Maritime Union says the dispute at Ports of Auckland is about workers maintaining a family life outside work.
Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says members will be meeting tomorrow at a special meeting that will also bring together family members.
Maritime Union members at the Ports of Auckland are taking industrial action on 23 December and Christmas Day, 25 December.
He says there are several key issues that have consistently been misrepresented by Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson in his attacks on his workforce, including the fact that workers had turned down pay increases.
“The dispute is not about money. It is about ensuring secure jobs, decent hours and conditions for workers.”
“The idea that maintaining a family life is somehow up for sale is repugnant. This sinister idea that you can just wave around some cash in people’s faces and tell them to give up more time with their family when they already work long and unsocial hours.”
Mr Parsloe says proposed “flexibility” means that workers will be on call for round the clock shift work and lose any semblance of job security through outsourcing and casualization in the future.
“How can you have any balance here between working life and family commitments?”
He says that the pressure put on families was already severe.
Mr Parsloe says it should be noted that Maritime Union members at Ports of Auckland, and in other areas of the maritime industry, work on public holidays.
“Our members work in 24/7 industry where unsocial hours, long shifts and hard work in an unforgiving heavy industrial environment are the norm. Add to this the issue of two income families with both parents in the same situation and it is really a shameful reflection on the dark ages attitudes and values of corporate managers.”
Mr Parsloe says it should be noted the upcoming industrial action was taking place during a time of year the majority of New Zealand managers and workers were on holiday with their families.
“Our members already work over this period, yet the employer always wants more.”
Mr Parsloe says this brought another issue to light, that Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson had repeatedly put around information about wages and hours of work that were inaccurate and had caused a massive backlash amongst his own workforce who saw it as an indication their employer did not value their productivity.
“The simple fact that any Ports of Auckland worker earning the amounts stated by Mr Gibson would have to be doing hundreds of hours of overtime a year, over long shifts, round the clock, public holidays and weekends, in highly skilled and responsible roles.”
“Our members see Mr Gibson throwing around these inaccurate figures in public, yet he has refused to release his own salary and perks, alongside that of his senior managers, to the public. This arrogance has unsurprisingly resulted in a breakdown of the relationship with his own workforce.”
Mr Parsloe says it should be remembered that Ports of Auckland workers had a high level of responsibility operating heavy machinery in what was still one of the more dangerous industries.