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Strike action to continue at Lyttelton Port over Waitangi weekend

Friday 3rd February 2017

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 A strike at Lyttelton Port Co's container terminal will go ahead this weekend despite positive talks with the Maritime Union of New Zealand. 

The planned industrial action for Feb. 11 and Feb. 12 will proceed, and the Maritime Union has also issued a strike notice for Feb. 17 until Feb. 19. 

"While negotiations this week have been positive, MUNZ has not been prepared to withdraw these strike notices," port marketing manager Simon Munt said in a statement. Mediated bargaining will resume next Wednesday "with a view to achieving a settlement very soon," he said.

A spokesman for the Maritime Union today said that "negotiations have progressed and we are keen to sign an agreement, but not any agreement." 

Between 160 and 180 Lyttelton Port employees are part of the Maritime Union covered by the collective contract for the container terminal, which employs more than 250 people. Port management wants to line up work rosters more closely with the company's operating needs.

The existing Lyttelton agreement was set to expire on March 7, 2016, and negotiations for a new collective agreement started in January last year, with 30 meetings in the second half of 2016. On Dec. 1, union members unanimously voted to go on strike after rejecting a proposal by port management, with the outstanding issues over planned changes to the start and finish times for night shift workers by up to four hours.

According to Munt, the port has contingency plans in place to manage container shipping this weekend and it is providing reduced receiving and delivering services during the industrial action. CityDepot will now open Monday from 7am to 3pm, he said.

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