The Maritime Union has welcomed the release of the Auckland Council commissioned report into health and safety failings at the Ports of Auckland – and says its findings mean the current CEO must be removed.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the report confirms everything the Union has said about the failure of POAL management to keep its employees safe over many years.
He says many of the proposals in the independent report were sensible but the major problem was fixing management culture at POAL first.
Mr Harrison says the first step would be the replacement of the Ports of Auckland CEO.
“There is no confidence in the CEO, and the Board has not done its job in our view.”
Mr Harrison says suggestions in the report that poor relationships between Union members and port management were partly responsible for failures to improve health and safety were wrong.
“The only problem is the Maritime Union’s ongoing campaign for safety at the port was disregarded and sidelined by management.”
Mr Harrison says if the Maritime Union’s repeated concerns about health and safety in the port had been listened to, it was likely that deaths would not have occurred.
He says the responsibility for deaths at the Ports of Auckland is on the management and the Board of Ports of Auckland.
“There has been no accountability and the costs and the harm have all been on the workers at the Port and the public of Auckland.”
Mr Harrison says the Maritime Union is not happy at the level of input the Union was invited to have in the report, and was concerned it did not receive a copy of the report in advance – as the Ports of Auckland management did.
He says union members are ready and waiting to work with the company and always have been – “they know their lives depend on it.”
“This situation does not bode well for the findings in the report that there needs to be more and better worker engagement.”