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Ports of Auckland holds off on redundancies

Friday 16th March 2012

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Ports of Auckland has agreed to put off plans to sack its wharfies and outsource stevedoring services in a last-ditch bid to cut a deal with the Maritime Union.

The disputing parties will hold a judicial settlement conference on Monday to prepare for an Employment Court hearing on March 26, according to an Employment Court minute released yesterday.

As part of the deal, port management will hold off its wide-scale redundancy plan and won’t employ or engage Drake Personnel or Allied Workforce to fill in for the striking wharfies, while the union will pay for the cancellation of ads planned for this weekend.

“Counsel and their clients are to be commended for agreeing to the voluntary process of submitting the substantive proceedings to an attempt to settle by the means of a judicial settlement conference,” Judge Barry Travis said in the minute.

The union and port management have been at each others’ throats since last year over the prospect of lifting the use of casual labour at the hub. That’s led to ongoing strikes and a lock-out by management, leading to the port losing major contracts with Fonterra Cooperative Group and Maersk shipping line.

The parties agreed to eschew suppression orders given the level of public interest, but won’t make any comment until they meet.

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