Port expansion row shows management “isolated and out of touch”

The Maritime Union says the debate about the expansion of the Ports of Auckland shows a port company management who were out of touch and isolated.

Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says the debate about the port expansion was an example of the intransigence the workers at the Port are facing.

He points out that a “take it or leave it” attitude of port management had extended from their own workforce in the current industrial dispute, and was now evident in an agenda to privatize and expand the port regardless of public concerns.

Mr Parsloe says while the Maritime Union is 100% behind a busy working port in the heart of Auckland, it understands the need to work through the issues in a democratic way to find a negotiated solution which includes sharing this beautiful piece of land with the people of Auckland.

“We have to share the waterfront in Auckland, it can be used creatively to run the Port and so that recreational users can enjoy it waterfront. The Port is single minded in its plans – it is basically saying stuff the workers and stuff the city.”

“As we have experienced, this management team don’t believe in negotiation. They won’t negotiate with their workforce. On the port expansion issue, they won’t even negotiate with their owners, the people of Auckland.”

Mr Parsloe says POAL management actions threatened to destroy the relationships that underpinned the future of the port.

The other irony that won’t be lost is the contrast between the port management claim that it will lose business without casualising the workforce and its justification for expansion based on massive growth.

“This is a port management and a CEO who has spent months bagging his own business, running it down, saying it was doomed. But at the same time, POAL expansion plans show it is a port whose future is assured.”

Over the last 20 years, container growth had averaged 6.74% growth, but improvements in productivity had allowed the port to do more with less space.

Mr Parsloe says while the Maritime Union did not often agree with the statements of Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney, he says the Union thought that his request that there was an opportunity for a review of the port’s plans by the people of Auckland was a good one.

“We believe that the decision on issues like port expansion, privatization and outsourcing should not be left with a self-interested management cabal pursuing their own opaque agendas.”

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