Monday 27th February 2012 1 Comment
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The Maritime Union of New Zealand will resume mediation talks with the Ports of Auckland later this week, although the port remains closed for a three week strike that started last Friday.
MUNZ President Garry Parsloe told BusinessDesk there would be mediation talks in Auckland on Thursday and Friday. Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett welcomed the news and called also for the introduction of new blood to both the port management and union teams with people who could “encourage some good behavior”.
“A mediator can bring some skills to the table,” said Barnett. “But these guys have been at one another’s throats for a while. In my opinion, they’re not that far apart. They need a way to bring some different behaviours to the table.”
Barnett was highly critical of MUNZ threatening to blacklist an international ship company arriving in Auckland last night if its vessel was unloaded using contract workers while unionized port workers were still striking.
“This is no way to win the hearts and minds of Aucklanders,” Barnett said. “The only course of action is for the Ports of Auckland to remain firmly resolved and committed to achieve a lasting solution.”
The union restated its settlement offer to the Ports of Auckland to build a framework and deal with all outstanding issues last week. It also offered to work on improving management-union relations.
Port management and union bosses have been at loggerheads over a bid to increase the use of casual labour at the transport leading to several strikes and a lock-out. The latest industrial action started on Feb. 24 and is set to last three weeks.
The dispute has cost the port contracts with shipping line Maersk and dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group, who have shifted to Port of Tauranga and Port of Napier.
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