Thursday 22nd March 2012
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Ports of Auckland management has agreed to go back to the bargaining table with the Maritime Union of New Zealand but is sticking to its plan to contract out its stevedoring work.
The port has put off plans to sack almost 300 wharfies for four weeks as it gets back into formal negotiations for a collective agreement, it said in a statement. Port management and union bosses have been in a judicial settlement conference this week as they worked towards an Employment Court hearing on Monday, but have agreed not to proceed with legal proceedings for the time being.
“POAL (Ports of Auckland) has agreed to halt contracting out for 4 weeks but the company has not in any way resiled from its position on contracting out,” the port said. “The mediation will involve the collective agreement and it is the company's intention to also discuss the striking workers applying for positions with the contracting companies.”
MUNZ president Garry Parsloe said the union will focus on securing a new collective agreement for its members after a series of rolling strikes that have cost the port two major contracts with Fonterra Cooperative Group and Maersk shipping line.
“Whether this board and port management are capable of working constructively to rebuild the battered and damaged relationship with port workers who they have besmirched at every opportunity and settle a fair collective is an unanswered question,” Parsloe said. “The council as owner must ensure that any board or port management are able to get this port back on track”.
The port was planning to sack its workforce and use third-party contracts Drake Personnel and AWF Group for its stevedoring to increase its casual labour and cut a wage bill it claims is unsustainable.
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