Global union the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today described POALs lockout decision as “unbelievable, unlawful and practically suicidal”.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. Do Richard Pearson and Tony Gibson have a death wish for this port? Just when a negotiated settlement was within reach they have trampled on those hopes and issued a lock out notice.”
He continued: “The thugs in this dispute are in the boardroom at POAL: slinging out workers, locking out workers, trying to bring in strikebreakers from outside New Zealand to replace a willing and skilled workforce. Gibson and Pearson beggar belief. It’s like they want to turn this port into a disaster area.”
Crumlin was speaking from the ITF’s London headquarters, where the organisation’s Fair Practices Committee (FPC) – a high level group made up of global docker and seafarer union representatives – was planning its response to this latest provocation.
“We are today calling on our members to use all lawful means to convince Auckland’s mayor and council to step in and replace those in the POAL board responsible for these actions with members who are willing to run this important asset properly for the benefit of the city of Auckland and its citizens.”
“We are also forming an international crisis mission to investigate the management-engineered crisis in POAL and meet with the city’s mayor, as well as further investigating the use of labour supply companies to break strikes and drive down conditions in the ports industry in New Zealand and internationally.”
Crumlin concluded: “Today’s decision by POAL’s chairman and CEO to crush the hopes and chances of a solution that was so close just yesterday has shown that they are not fit to be running this enterprise. The port of Auckland is community owned. That community has been sold out. Even those who have supported the management so far are now realising that they are defending the indefensible.”