23 February 2012

Importers Ask Government to Break Strike

The Importers Institute has today asked the government to pass urgent legislation empowering the Port of Auckland to dismiss striking port workers and contract out the work to private operators.

The Union today threatened to extend a two-week strike into three weeks. During that period, importers and exporters will have to spend many millions of dollars diverting cargo to other ports and airfreight, to keep shops and industry supplied. The exodus of shipping services from Auckland to other ports will accelerate.

This is not a genuine labour dispute for better pay and conditions. What the Union is demanding is quite simply a monopoly on wharf work, usurping the right of management to manage the Port. In effect, they are striking for the right to run the Port for the benefit of the Union. Their members will get nothing from this action, except for one month's lost wages and most probably redundancy.

The Importers Institute asked the Port management what the cost would be of moving the work over to private contractors without delay. We were told that is not possible. Under current legislation, a Court would probably force the Port to take back the striking workers. This is apparently something to do with the 'good faith' nonsense legislated by Margaret Wilson a few years ago.

We call it nonsense because the Union has been guilty of the utmost bad faith. They have lied through their teeth concerning the average remuneration of their members (over $90,000) as well as pretty much about everything else concerning this dispute.

The current government has had plenty of time to reverse the legislative excesses of the last government, but chose instead to smile and wave. The time has now come for the government to assume its responsibilities and prevent a bunch of industrial thugs from holding New Zealand to ransom.

We already have legislation that prohibits some forms of industrial action, for example sympathy strikes. That has not stopped the managers of the Union from going off to Sydney to ask their comrades in other countries to boycott New Zealand. The government's obligation is clear and urgent.

7 comments:

  1. Changing the law and removing the Union and therefore the workers as you so desire will actually do the opposite to what you want. It will bring into play the ITF and the port will be deemed a "Port of Convenience". No shipping company in its right mind would allow any of its ships into Auckland for fear of being "Blacked" elsewhere round the world, meaning they would not be worked anywhere.It is no skin off their nose to go to Tauranga or some other port.
    Be careful what you wish for because the alternatives could have very dire consequences.

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  2. Change labour laws just for your convenience! That is the most arrogant, short sighted and dangerous proposal so far.You deny the port workers the right to earn a living wage, in a highly profitable company which is being badly mismanaged by the council and senior managment, so easy to blame the workers for bullies like you. What, I wonder, do management and board salaries and bonuses look like?

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    Replies
    1. The CEO is reportedly on $750K

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  3. And what are you on? Who are you, by the way?

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    Replies
    1. I earnt $74k last year. I am partners in a commercial fishing supply co. And yes we will be affected by the strike!

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  4. I'd suggest you have not fully though through the impact of what you are asking for.
    And for the record I'm sick of people comparing Auckland and Tauranga ports. You are in the industry and you know full well that the different cargo profiles between the two ports allow Tauranga to work far more efficiently.

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  5. Wow! I learn a lot from here. I must agree the government's obligation is clear and urgent.

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