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Port workers show how its done

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, December 17th, 2012 - 20 comments
Categories: wages, workers' rights - Tags:

You have to respect how the Ports of Auckland workers stood staunch in the face of the bosses’ attempt to contract out their jobs, without support from the ‘leftwing’ mayor and against an expensive PR effort. They’re still getting their own back. PoAL has just been fined for employing a strikebreaker. And, in Lyttelton, wharfies have started a smart new campaign.

On the excuse that they had to minimise disruption to port work – which only came about because of their plan to cut the port workers’ pay – the PoAL bosses hired a foreign engineer for $10,000 a week to do some of the port work. It was a clear and illegal attempt at strikebreaking by replacing the labour of striking workers with new workers. PoAL has been fined $40,000. Add that to the massive bill in lost custom caused by the bosses’ stupid idea to save money by cutting the workers’ pay packets and you have to wonder why any of the bosses still have their jobs.

Not only do they have them, I bet they paid themselves bonuses too.

Just like in Lyttelton, where the port boss got a $600,000 bonus for increased volumes in the last financial year compared to the previous one (the previous one being the year when the port was closed for a period by earthquake damage). The workers there have launched a campaign for the boss to share his bonus with the workers. It’s perfectly reasonable – he didn’t make the port productivity, they did. And what’s he going to do with an extra $600,000 on top of his already generous pay? Divide that among the workers, though, and you’ve got a nice bit extra for everyone. Pretty hard to argue against the basic fairness of that.

I can see that campaign being repeated across the country.

20 comments on “Port workers show how its done”

  1. karol 1

    Well done MUNZ and the PoAL workers.  Hope you and the Lyttleton port workers get some time to enjoy being with family and friends over the Xmas/New Year period.  
    There should be a cap on CEO bonuses, and they shouldn’t be paid if the business fails or declines.  In fact, why do CEO get bonuses at all?  Most workers don’t, and CEOs usually get paid pretty well to start with.
    And a message from Billy Bragg.

  2. alwyn 2

    And in the meantime the Port of Auckland drops another place in terms of the Exports passing over its wharves.
    Napier has passed it to take second place in the North Island behind Tauranga.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      Yep. Rodney Hide’s cowboy board has really shafted the Auckland ratepayer with their expensive ideological mismanagement.

    • One Tāne Viper 2.2

      Has everything Rodney Hide has ever done resulted in an unmitigated disaster?

      So many things for the next government to do by lunchtime.

      Can’t they just pass one act repealing everything passed since 2008? It would cause problems but I can’t imagine they’d be worse than the current Tory clusterfuck.

      • Tracey 2.2.1

        In his former life he was Ala Gibbs puppet… Now he is a “columnist”. I just don’t get how the Herald, or any othe rpublication can expect to be taken seriously when it gives prominent page sapce to ideological bandwagons be it McCarton, Hyde, Laws, Farrar… Journalism for journalists I say

        • IrishBill

          It’s not the ideology that gets me but the fact he’s such a dreadful and transparent writer. I’m not sure I’ve seen a single one of his columns that doesn’t lean so heavily on a straw man argument that it collapses.

          • Tracey

            but isn’t the purpose of his straw men to persuade to his ideology? He is an appalling writer.
            Deborah Coddington writes some good stuff, perhaps she was ajournalist in another life? I am surprised no one has eevr attacked Mr laws in the street. Does he believes most of what he writes or is he deliberately poking a stick into the hornets nest? if the former, his constant haranguing about what makes a good parent is ironic given his ill-disciplined, and at times, bigotted viewpoints expressed in a major paper for all to see and lap up.

  3. Tracey 3


    Do you know if the work conditions at those other ports are the same or different to POAL?

    There was an expensive report in the past 12 months or so that stated very clearly that we have “too many ports in NZ”. And, because we have too many ports, companies are often jumping from port to port as ports try to undercut each other. I’m certainly not advocating monopoly but

  4. David Viperious H 4

    Whats the chance, that any of the Bosses, would split a 600k bonus with the plebs that earned it for them? Zip, Nix, Nada, Zero. Because how then could they buy those shiny new cars for their mistress’s and another for their wives (to keep them quiet) plus all those useless trinkets to replace all the other useless trinkets that were bought before?

  5. Respect to MUNZ and the workers.
    What is really weird is that POAL increased its profit for the year ending June 30, 2012.  The profit was $26.8m.
    It is hard to know how much POAL has spent on the dispute but the spend on lawyers and consultants must be in the millions.  I have heard figures in the vicinity of $9 million mentioned.  Chief Executive of ACIL Gary Swift thought that the dispute had cost $8 million in reduced benefits.
    If the port was operating normally and money not being wasted on lawyers and consultants it would be well on its way to achieving the rate of return that Len Brown and the Council wanted.

  6. Tom Gould 6

    As usual, the left attack their own. The CCO model was set up by Key and Hide, who also appointed the Boards. The POAL is doing precisely what the set up intended. The Mayor is prohibited from operational matters. So is there a single mention of Key or Hide? Of course not. Any mention of ideologically pure lefty hand-wringers on council? Of course not. Just attack the Mayor, then pour another chardy. Job done.

    • IrishBill 6.1

      You’ve difficulty reading, eh? Quote exactly where anyone attacks Len Brown in this post or comments. 

    • tc 6.2

      TG makes a good point, the opportunity to remind everyone that this was Hide’s board and the NACT’s dysfunctional supershity structure they cower behind making Brown effectively toothless should’ve been hammered over and over and over and over to leave the echo reverberating around.

      It’s this failure to pick a simple theme and hammer it that lets the left down, swinging voters don’t do ideology/intellect they do gut/emotion.

      A simple effective phrase repeated ad nauseum. Counter the brighter future etc. Play your own game don’t fall into the mire of neo liberal speak.

      The number of irate ratepayers who blame Brown is further evidence they’re getting away with it.

  7. Tracey 7

    Havent at least three people mentioned Hide?

    Where can I go to see national supporters without rose-coloured glasses? You make it sound as though blindly agreeing with everything your preferred party says is a virtue, especially when they are caught in lies and failures.

  8. Fortran 8

    Have heard that POAL will appeal decision (to be announced this week).

  9. Tracey 9


    In NO small part because it gets egged on by its lawyers… lawyers with a vested interest in further litigation. I see this constantly in cases involving council with leaky claims. It’s one thing to test that council is not wrongly settling, it’s another to “fee farm”.

    Also saw a case of the crown doing this recently. The parties wanted to settle, and were very close… Then the crown decided nah it would rather go to a hearing… Over $100,000 later and the judge has ordered them to…. Mediation to try and settle.


  10. Blue through and through 10

    and mean while my port of Tauranga shares keep going up and up!

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