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What next at PoAL?

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, March 22nd, 2012 - 167 comments
Categories: business - Tags: , ,

Good to hear PoAL are going back into negotiations with the union. That’s a win for MUNZ and they’ll now call off their strike and get back to work.

However port chair Richard Pearson claimed on morning report that the company will determine when workers can come back.

The problem is that under law the only way they can do that is to negotiate a return to work arrangement with the union or to issue a lock-out to the workers and lift it at their leisure. Pearson’s comments would indicate they’re considering the latter.

Given the port has less than 30 non-union workers on the job, a move to lock out union members would add millions, perhaps tens of millions, of dollars to the cost of this dispute. A cost that would be worn by Auckland ratepayers.

During the course of this dispute it’s become clear that the port board and senior management are operating as a small cabal of unaccountable cowboys. I think it would behove them to pull their heads in before they do any more damage.

On a more legal note, Pearson appears to have already breached the court mediated agreement by using his appearance on Radio New Zealand to encourage people to apply to become contractors. It seems these people have no respect for, or perhaps just no understanding of, the law.

I would hope that if, after all this, the port company continue to disregard good faith and destroy Aucklanders’ wealth, that Len Brown and his council step in. They’ve just been given a four week window of opportunity to do so.

Update: I’d forgotten that the port is an essential industry. That means, by law, any lock-out by PoAL would have to be notified two weeks in advance (as would any strike notice). No lock-out has been notified. If Pearson and his management don’t make best endeavours to get workers back to work asap time then they’re engaging in unlawful industrial action and face significant fines.

Update: management has issued an indefinite lock-out notice starting in two weeks. So much for good faith bargaining. The cost to Auckland council and city will be immense. Brown must intervene against this management team gone rogue. Eddie.

Update: the port intends to keep its contractors on and prevent the wharfies from working the next two weeks. That’s clearly an illegal lock-out without the necessary two week notice period. Insiders say Pearson if is “out of control”. Eddie.

167 comments on “What next at PoAL?”

  1. Good point about breaching the undertakings.  I heard Pearson and thought “what the?”.  Undertakings given to the Court are important things and breached at your peril.  It is also evidence of the utmost bad faith.

    • tc 1.1

      More of the same bad behaviour from Rortneys and the Hollowmens handpicked crew.

    • IrishBill 1.2

      I know. I think they really believe they’re above the law. I guess this is what happens when you use the collected works of Ayn Rand as your managerial handbook.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      Seems to me that POAL just have no idea, and should it eventually come to a court case, they’re going to severely lose from bad faith on all possible angles.

  2. Kotahi Tane Huna 2

    Perhaps it is good to employ objectivist muppets every now and then just to remind people how completely incompetent and delusional they are. Familiarity breeds contempt.

    • Jackal 2.1

      Yeah! Why would PoAL change now? They’ve got their track record to live up to. The Employment Relations Act is just a guideline after all… init? And like all court orders, PoAL can just find another 200 Judges to refute it.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.1.1

        I seem to recall a certain Prime Minister who thinks judges’ rulings are “opinions”.

        And on the one hand I think “stupid political opponents deserve all that’s coming to them”, but then I also wonder how the fuck we have arrived at this point and what a complete embarrassment these people are to all of us.

        • muzza 2.1.1.1

          That – And why they are allowed to represent us is a disgrace to all invovled!

  3. fisiani 3

    PoAl simply want the workers back to give them a chance to take up future work offers with the contractors who will operate later this year without further union bullying. Seems like a very reasonable and fair position.

    • Marana 3.1

      You’re a plonker.
      Union bullying, there is NONE. These guys are as tight as anyone could be and they aren’t about to be bullied by anyone, union or company.
      So don’t delude yourself. No one is going to work for those wankers (the contracters).
      We will be back under our terms, not his.
      As for the scabs, well we’ll see.

  4. Kotahi Tane Huna 4

    Yes, that’s right. Just like you were bang on when you said ” The union has cost the POAL workers their jobs.”

    And now they are back doing those jobs, and how completely right you were. Through the looking glass with fisiani ROFLMAO don’t give up your day job.

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      this isn’t Fizz day job?

    • fisiani 4.2

      I was right about the union costing them their jobs. Duh.
      The fact that the PoAl are so generous and conciliatory is of no difference.

      • felix 4.2.1

        I disagree entirely with Kotahi.

        I think you should immediately quit your day job and hit the comedy circuit.

        • mac1 4.2.1.1

          Isn’t being humorous one of the job descriptions for a comedian, a given like negotiating in good faith and accepting judge’s rulings?

      • Te Reo Putake 4.2.2

        Generous and conciliatory?
         
        The fact is that POAL have just been handed their sorry butts by the court. What has happened here is that the judge has indicated to POAL that if the case is left for the court to decide, MUNZ will win hands down. POAL are going back to mediation with their strategy destroyed, millions of dollars lost and clock reset to the start of bargaining. The dumb saps are on their knees, Fisi. A position I’m sure you are familiar with!

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1

          And that’s a knock out punch, TRP!

          • Fisiani 4.2.2.1.1

            What a great win for the MUNZ. Yeah right!
            Makes the union triumphalism displayed here look utterly ludicrous.
            Don’t worry. Stay calm. The workers who want to work for the contractors will be hired. Garry Parsloe has overplayed his hand and cost many jobs. Tis a sad day for the duped workers.

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Actually, its the judge who has been duped, by POAL.

            • fender 4.2.2.1.1.2

              Yeah Mr. Parsloe and the guys should have let the bullies walk all over them, like you will do when your employer decides to shaft you Fisiani.

            • Marana 4.2.2.1.1.3

              Fisiani,

              You need to get your hand off your old fella, it’s making you go blind.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Loyalty, solidarity, unity, internationalism, are qualities sleaze bloggers Slater & Odgers and their dirty filthy tory mates on the CCOs and ACIL would only be dimly aware of.

    But they are the very forces when combined with an employment court that is doing it’s job as intended, that will hopefully see Pearson and POAL sent packing by the wharfies at the end of this dispute.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Loyalty, solidarity, unity, internationalism, are qualities sleaze bloggers Slater & Odgers and their dirty filthy tory mates on the CCOs and ACIL would only be dimly aware of.

      The Right Wing are actually very adept at internationalism, loyalty, unity and solidarity.

      With their own of course, not with the rest of us.

  6. DH 6

    POAL seem to have a very different idea to the rest of us about what good faith means. As a legal term in this context it’s certainly subjective but I struggle to understand how POAL can be so confidentt their legal case is ‘watertight’. At the very least they’ve been sailing close to the wind.

    Does anyone know if there has been previous employment court rulings over good faith bargaining? I’m interested to know how the court sees it.

  7. Has Len Brown slightly shifted his position?  An issued statement suggests that his preference has always been that “both parties reach a sustainable collective agreement”.

    • felix 7.1

      Len just wants to be on the side that’s winning.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMjJIRZk1K8

    • Olwyn 7.2

      On the face of it, I have more sympathy for Len now that the new NACT local body plans have seen the light of day. One has to choose one’s battles, and this one, from a mayor’s point of view, seems to have the potential to reduce his role to a form of impotent managerialism, under which conditions the value of his support would be reduced, wherever he decided to give it. He may well have seen this as the more important challenge, figuring that MUNZ workers have others to take up the cudgels on their behalf, as well as avenues such as the employment court.

  8. John72 8

    “Life’s but a walking shadow – a poor player., that struts his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by idiot, full of sound and fury, saying nothing. ” (Shakespeare)

    My memory seems to be failing. 5 months ago, what was this dispute about?

  9. Hilary 9

    Michele Hewitson’s very interesting interview with Richard Pearson shows he is paid $100,000 a year for one day’s work for this PoAL job, and that he has very little ability to empathise. I was interested to hear he also chairs the company that was once Wellington’s Capital Power. (The street lights around here are regularly out for days at a time.)

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10792610

    • Bunji 9.1

      Yes I read that, and his justification for earning more in that one day than the wharfies he complains are earning too much in a week was “well, you’re getting 37 years of experience. Remember, that’s what you pay for.”

      I bet there’s a few wharfies with 20 or 30 years experience, so unless there’s a magic switch at 37 years where you suddenly get all the dosh, that’s a pretty rubbish reason for a ridiculous salary…

  10. coolas 10

    Pearson is typical of the born-to-rule, pale, stale, males on massive salaries who are the real inhibitors to productivity. And he doesn’t seem very bright compared to the likes of Helen Kelly who is so on to it: articulate, informed and determined.

    For Pearson to say the contracting out agenda will continue after the court judgement is plain dumb – his arrogance is unbelievable.

  11. These guys are not stupid, they a following orders.
    Their bosses are Maersk and Hutchinson and other international corporates who want totally casualised cheap labor. The purpose of the lockout is to force the workers to meet the bosses terms.
    They are pushing to get the union to play along like at Longview where a two year dispute with scab labour locked the ILWU out. Recently the ILWU signed a new contract at Longview with the EGT corporate bosses but on much worse terms that the old contract. One explanation is that the union heads signed up to it rather than risk a major mass picket confronting state troopers which would embarrass the Democratic Party in the lead up to the Presidential election. These new terms include concessions on shift work, hours etc, the the right to select workers and right to hire and fire.
    So lets see if Mayor Brown intervenes to pressure MUNZ to sign up to a new COLLECTIVE contract which has all the big concessions that competitive contracting brings. After all the ECA of 1991 allowed for Collective contracts provided they offered the concessions imnposed on individual contracts. Like the ECA, the CTU has the face saver of a Collective, while the bosses have the cheap labour.
    Then let’s see if MUNZ backed by supporters in the labour movement resists this sellout. MUNZ has many supporters waiting for the call for a mass picket.

  12. POAL have set Slater on the case.  He just blogged that POAL have not agreed to halt the recruitment process and that the workers cannot head back to the port.  A “helpful” source in POAL gave him the information.
     
    He then said he read the Court Minute and could find no trace of POAL agreeing to either of these things.
     
    I will help him.  Clause 1(d) of the Court Minute states that POAL undertakes “to take no further steps to implement the proposal to make [MUNZ's] members redundant”.  And also it will not take any steps to recruit a replacement workforce.  Pretty clear really.
     
    It does not refer to workers resuming work but time will tell.
     
    Is Slater the PR adviser for Pearson?  It would explain a lot.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.1

      Helen Kelly seems to imply that the workers can return as soon as the strike notice is lifted. If that’s the way the law stands would the court minute need to say so?

      • IrishBill 12.1.1

        In the absence of a lock-out notice from the port (which requires two weeks notification in an essential industry – which the port is), that’s exactly the law. Just as workers would be required to return to work if a lock-out was lifted and no strike notice was in place – or face abandonment of employment action.

        A failure to allow workers to return would constitute an unlawful lock-out which would be heard urgently. At most the company could buy a couple of days with such a lock-out and it would be at the risk of up to $10k in fines for breach of good faith for each worker locked-out.

    • TighyRighty 12.2

      You should change your moniker to Dennis Denuto. Just because

      “POAL undertakes “to take no further steps to implement the proposal to make [MUNZ's] members redundant”. 

      Does not mean

      “it will not take any steps to recruit a replacement workforce”

      Those are your words Dennis.

      “Pretty clear really.” only on your broken photocopier

      • mickysavage 12.2.1

        TR you also did not read the Court Minute.
         
        How about these undertakings for POAL promising not to recruit a replacement workforce:
         
        1(d)(iii)  [POAL] will not employ or engage Drake Personell Limited or Allied Workforce Limited, or any other person to perform the work of striking employees in breach of s 97 of the ERA and will take steps to instruct DPL AWL and any other potential contractor not to undertake any recruitment or training related to the contracting out of work at Ports of Auckland.
        (iv)  In the event that the defendant intends to employ or engage any other person to perform work covered by the collective agreement in dispute, it will give the plaintiff 48 hours’ notice to enable the plaintiff to apply for relief.”
         
        Have you thought about changing your name to “Doofus”?

        • Jassen 12.2.1.1

          Could you please be so kind as to also quote the words of the judge pertaining to refraining from discussing this in the media.

          • Te Reo Putake 12.2.1.1.1

            Jassen, are you playing dumb or are you dumb for real?

          • Hayden 12.2.1.1.2

            “The Court requests that both parties exercise appropriate discretion and restraint regarding any media statements in relation to this matter given this continuation of the bargaining.”

            Did you have a point to make?

          • KJT 12.2.1.1.3

            Court judgements are not supposed to be secret.

            • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.3.1

              “appropriate discretion and restraint”…maybe someone should have told the POAL chairman before he blabbed on nation wide broadcasts.

          • felix 12.2.1.1.4

            Jassen, the words “pertaining to refraining from discussing this in the media” weren’t from a judge you nincompoop.

            They were from that illiterate simian waste of space Slater.

            When are you simpletons going to learn? He’s a self-confessed believer in lying for political ends, and you’re nothing but his bitches.

            Why don’t you ask him to show you where he pulled the “words of the judge ” from?

  13. Huginn 13

    This all goes back to John Key’s Hobbit intervention.

    Pearson and the PoAL board are not stupid. It beggars belief that they set out on this adventure because they are all ‘muppets’. They have a very good understanding of employment law and we should be asking ourselves why they thought that it wouldn’t be applied to them in this case.

    Their use of political channels like Slater and Farrar suggests that they believed, or were led to believe that Key would make a political intervention on their behalf. The reality that he didn’t will eventually register as a massive betrayal of trust somewhere along the line.

    Key’s impulsive, self-serving political management is disastrous. We knew he was shifty and unreliable from the start. Now they know it too.

    • Olwyn 13.1

      The larger than expected show of solidarity with the MUNZ workers may have played a part in this, as well as the international support. Under the circumstances, impulsive law changes cannot simply be done and disappear from view. And unlike Jackson and the Hobbit, POAL do not have fans.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 13.2

      It is unfortunately possible to be intelligent and still so totally blinkered by life experience and dogma that you may as well be a stupid muppet.

    • Te Reo Putake 13.3

      Interesting summary, Huginn. I remember that the lockout of Progressive Enterprise distribution centre workers a few years back had a similar expectation of victory based on an an unrealistic understanding of the factors in play. Woolies Australia had a strategy based on what they thought the law allowed them to do, but they didn’t think beyond that.  They took on the workers thinking that there would be no consumer backlash and the employer would be supported by suppliers, logistics providers and staff at the supermarkets. They were wrong.
       
      Simply getting technically correct employment law advice is not enough to win a dispute. And getting that advice from an idealogical intransigent like Rod Lidgaard is not going to help, nor is relying on a mentally disturbed criminal to do your PR.

  14. Kevin 14

    This issue has dragged on enough, and POAL have not acted in good faith in their negotiations with the Union and as of late the Employment Court.
    POAL management have not handled this dispute to the high standards expected of a publicly owned company, and as a ratepayer and thereby stakeholder in this company, I would request that the Chairman of POAL, Mr Richard Pearson, stand down or resign from his position.

  15. deuto 15

    The DimPost has a post pointing out a para or two in the Herald’s article this morning that may well have affected POAL’s position legally if true:

    “The backdown follows a Herald investigation into a ports manager who was at the bargaining table with the Maritime Union and was also allegedly recruiting non-union wharfies for a private stevedoring company.

    Ports of Auckland refused to comment on the allegations, saying the dispute was before the Employment Court and Judge Travis had instructed the parties not to speak publicly” .

    The full article is at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10793725

    Edit. Herald now has more on this – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10793727

    However, I now see that lock-out notices have been served………….

    Latest from the Herald

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10793793

  16. Te Reo Putake 16

    POAL have this morning illegally locked out the workers. A quick response from MUNZ:
     
     
    Ports of Auckland workers are shocked to learn that the Ports have moved to lock them out of their jobs. Ports workers have this morning been served an official lock out notice from the Ports of Auckland, to take effect in two weeks.
    The notice is for an indefinite lockout. But for the next two weeks, between now and then when Ports workers are lawfully able to return to their jobs if a strike is lifted, the company will lock the Port gates and prevent them from returning – amounting to an unlawful lockout.
    This move comes even before they have even had a chance to meet and discuss developments at their union meeting today at midday, Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe said. The workers will protest at Ports this afternoon, he said.
    “Ports workers are ready to go back to work and get this Port moving again for Auckland.
    “It is deeply disturbing that the company’s vision is so blurred on this dispute, that they now want to stop the Port functioning.”
    “Governance at the Ports of Auckland is out of control. It’s time for the Mayor and Councils to step in and sack this board, and replace them with a group who are willing to run this important asset properly for the benefit of Auckland,” he said.

  17. The port has now given notice of a permanent lockout, the board needs to be sacked.

  18. Jenny 18

    What next at the Port?

    Well more law breaking for a start.

    As well as bad faith bargaining

    Contempt of court

    Corrupt behaviour

    Illegal breach of privacy

    Under New Zealand law two weeks notice is required before a strike or lockout. In defiance of the law, Rodney Hide’s henchmen have now declared an illegal lockout starting immediately.

    Isn’t it about time these Qosymodos were evicted from their bell tower on the waterfront before they can do any more harm.

  19. Ross 19

    I’m a little confused. POAL has been bleating that the strikes have cost it millions of dollars and it wants wharfies back at work. But when the wharfies announce they are coming back to work, they are locked out! I guess the only conclusion that a reasonable person can draw is that this isn’t about money, that POAL can afford to forgo millions of $$$. Which means they must have another agenda.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      It’s not that PoAL can forgo millions of dollars so much as that the PoAL management don’t care that they’re throwing away Aucklanders money and for that incompetence they need to be sacked.

    • Bafacu 19.2

      I don’t recall any announcement that the wharfies had called their strike off – please show me where this was officially announced before the POAL made their announcement.

      btw “restraint in the media” clearly isn’t running to the media immediately after the hearing and stating that you have won and the other side is soooo bad.

      • IrishBill 19.2.1

        The hearing was on Monday. The media went to the union on Wednesday when the judge’s note was made public. Try again mate.

      • Te Reo Putake 19.2.2

        The union meeting was set for midday. The Port announced the lockouts prior to that meeting. At the union meeting, the workers voted to return to work in line with what had been agreed in the court, despite the provocation of the illegal lockout.

      • KJT 19.2.3

        Yep. POAL planned the actions they knew would give MUNZ no alternative other than a strike.

        Really it should be called a constructive lockout!

        MUNZ already said they would call of the strike at any time POAL returned to negotiations.

  20. The stench of bad faith gets worse.
     
    The Herald reports that a senior manager at POAL who was at the bargaining table set up a company to hire Stevedores before mediation occurred and the talks broke down.  Council are said to be concerned.
     
    Does anyone now doubt that POAL had made its mind up and was going to casualise the workforce come hell or high water?

  21. Pearson is also chairman of the wellington electricity company,owned by his old
    mate ka-ching.
    Pearson works for only 2 days pw, and gets paid $200 grand a year.
    Pearson said in an interview,”you can see something is wrong with people being
    paid for 40hrs when they are only working 26hrs,its crazy,its absolute madness.
    The interviewer asks if he thinks its right that he works for 2 days and gets paid
    $200 grand a year,his reply was ”you pay for experiance”
    His personal assumption is that you “pay for experiance”,isn’t that what port
    workers have,the very ones he is permanently locking out.

  22. ianmac 22

    I wonder if Key will enact some instant fix to change the employment Act, under Urgency of course, which would enable POAL to do what they wanted to do all along?
    Or perhaps at a later date and justify it, by pointing to the “demanding, greedy, lazy, wharfies”. A means to an end and thus the POAL leadership is fulfilling a political need and dismantling another Union.
    Fanciful?

  23. james 111 23

    The Union trying to look the good guys by saying they were going back to work was this afternoon was never going to work. Pascoe well ,and truly blew the situation months ago by trying to adopt a 1951 style union stance.
    Then they threatened and had strike after strike, holding the city ,and the rate payers of Auckland to ransom. They have very little support in the wider community.

    Everyone wonders why they are moaning when they get paid $65 per hour for actual hours worked.The wharf will change the culture of strike action , and bullying by the union on shipping companies will change it has to.

    The pickters even climbed over the bonnets and roofs of cars who belong to staff working at the Westpac & Coastguard rescue centres. How bright was that? is that the way to garner support from people who have nothing to do with POAL but are serving the community?

    This shows the low level of intellgence of some of the strikers, and maybe explains why the union can lead them so easily down the garden path right into the compost heap

    [lprent:

    I read through the thread and find that there is nothing substantiating this comment. Quite simply it appears to be a deliberate lie being stated as an assertion of 'fact'.

    I think that felix makes a good point. If you don't want to incur my banning finger, it'd behove you to either

    1. Provide a link to something credible (ie not Whale as he routinely makes crap up and believes anything someone tells him if it fits with his political inclinations)

    or

    2. State in your first comment the source of your information so people can judge how credible it is.

    FYI: Your next double up on the bans is 4 weeks. ]

    • Te Reo Putake 23.1

      You didn’t learn much while you were away, Jim Jim! Can we have the source of your car climbing lie, please?

      • james 111 23.1.1

        Te Reo
        The police were called from inside the centre after the staff felt threatened that good enough for you

        • Te Reo Putake 23.1.1.1

          Nope, not even close. Source, please. And some independent corroboration would be nice (and do try and remember that the port is festooned with cameras, so if this happened anywhere outside Whale’s diseased mind, it will have been recorded).

        • felix 23.1.1.2

          Can someone refresh my memory re:- what it was that james 111 was on sick leave for?

          Wasn’t it something to do with making baseless hit-and-run allegations and refusing to provide poof/links/sources when asked?

          ‘Cos if so, I don’t think he’s cured yet.

    • Jenny 23.2

      What ever happened to one law for all James?

      An illegal lockout, corrupt practice in negotiation, illegal breach of privacy, breach of good faith, contempt of court.

      My goodness James, what a bunch of crooks you idolise.

      And by the way, the only people to lead people into compost heaps are fascist admirers like you.

    • Please Crosby Textor send a better RWNJ than James 3.  Arguing with him is like arguing with a sea sponge.

      • freedom 23.3.1

        - but Spongebob always learns from his mistakes, albeit slowly and with wonderfully humourous eventualities, whereas James is more akin to what is served up by Plankton,

    • starlight 23.4

      The port of auckland is donkey deep in shonkey board members,one of them is the deputy
      chair who is an ex goldman sachs executive,look at my posting above on pearson.
      Take an honest look at what is really going on here instead of dissing the port workers.

    • KJT 23.5

      And you think removing peoples livelihood and cutting their wages illegally is not violent!

    • newsense 23.6

      a 1951 stance? You remember that Jimbo?

      Cos I remember everything getting sold for fuck all, when if the city had it now we’d be rich. Also perhaps we’d have one or two NZ owned brands represented at our airport.

    • Marana 23.7

      james 111,

      No one jumped over cars from the Westpac crew.
      The only car that was hit belonged to the union breaking scumbag Rod Lingard. And that was only because he drove at the picket at excessive speed.

      I know, I was there.
      Where were you, you prick.

      Got the balls to come down and talk to us, of course you haven’t.

      • james 111 23.7.1

        Well Prick I have friends in the Rescue Centrre and some intellectual midget jumped over her car. They called the police because of this act of stupidity. Im not talking about yesterday.

        I am talking about the last strike that happened when the Police arrived that is why they arrived first off they could see it was a woman, secondly they could see it had rescue centre markings.
        Obviously the person was one brick short of a load ,and isnt typical of all of the Wharfies however it did happen on your picket line someone has to control it

    • KJT 23.8

      Yeah right.

      Actually, MUNZ delegates have been instructing pickets not to do anything which can result in bad publicity, such as damage to property or violence.

  24. KJT 24

    MUNZ were ready to go back as soon as POAL went back into negotiations. Today.

    The latest I have heard is that POAL have started an illegal lockout, including labour for ships going to the conventional berths. Which were not part of the strike.

    I will have more info shortly.

  25. Ant 25

    So have POAL sniffed a law change and the accompanying industrial dispute coming? Nothing like that to kill a certain embarrassing story…

  26. Pearson is on Radio NZ.  He is saying there is a “safety concern”.
     
    The relevance is that a “safety concern” is an exception to section 97 of the EFA which was referred to in the consent direction.  Subsection (3) allows an employer to engage a scab to perform the work of a striking or locked out employee if
    “(a)there are reasonable grounds for believing it is necessary for the work to be performed for reasons of safety or health; and
    (b)the person is employed or engaged to perform the work only to the extent necessary for reasons of safety or health.”
     
    POAL agreed not to employ third parties “in breach of section 97″.  By raising safety concerns they can arguably continue with the hiring of scabs.
     
    So yesterday they agreed in Court to stop the redundancy process with this little loophole.  Today they have used the loophole.  Utmost bad faith.

    • Clashman 26.1

      What a fucking asshole this Pearson is

    • grumpy 26.2

      They can probably justify this excuse by referring to past actions by MUNZ against non union labour. Twistlocks under cranes, assaults on workers etc.

      POAL were backed into a corner by inflammatory statements on radio by Parsloe and Kelly and inflammatory headlines by journalists that should know better.

      Popcorn time!!!!

    • IrishBill 26.3

      I’ll be surprised if that flies but it’ll take a couple of days to get an urgent interim injunction. It seems to me that PoAL is running a strategy based on pushing the law past its limits, getting reined in by the courts, and then trying something different. They’ll buy themselves a day or two each time and are probably hoping for some solution to magically appear. It’ll end up costing them serious money and piss the court off. It’s desperate short-term time-buying from a bunch of hasbeen corporate warriors. It’s last ditch desperate gambling. Mind you it’s our money they gambling with not theirs.

      • mickysavage 26.3.1

        Irish I am certain it will not work.  The first thing that I would do if I was the Judge is ask POAL why did they agree then if they were going to raise safety concerns to thwart the obvious intend of the Judge’s minute.
         
        The next step to watch for is if POAL issues 48 hours notice under clause 1(d)(iv) of the minute to engage scab labour.
         
        It is certainly running the order to the absolute limit and two urgent days legal work will cost MUNZ tens of thousands of dollars. 
         
        Maybe this is the tactic, the continuous onslaught of crises to financially and psycholgically weaken the union and the workers using ratepayers money.

        • IrishBill 26.3.1.1

          The unions have much more experience in this than PoAL so I don’t think they’ll weaken. I also don’t think they’re going to run out of cash. I can see PoAL provoking a record award of costs from this though – it’s just a pity it’ll be ratepayers that cop it. I wonder if there’s anyway to join individual board members to an action or if that would have to be run separately by shareholders…

        • felix 26.3.1.2

          “why did they agree then if they were going to raise safety concerns to thwart the obvious intend of the Judge’s minute.”

          That sounds dangerously close to contempt, innit?

    • Pascal's bookie 26.4

      I don’t see in that quoted section that says they can lock out workers in the absence of a legal lock out notice being effect.

      It says that if safety requires it, they can bring in replacements for legally locked or striking workers, doesn’t it?

      • grumpy 26.4.1

        Looking at some of the info. coming from PoAL in the last few weeks, I think you may find them going the personal safety of non-union labour and port equipment line………

        • felix 26.4.1.1

          I don’t think you’ve quite got it – at least not the bit micky quoted.

          It refers to a situation where it would be a health & safety risk to not do the work at all.

      • mickysavage 26.4.2

        Sorry PB I should have also referred to section 84 of the ERA that says “Participation in … lockout is lawful if … the employer who locks out has, reasonable grounds for believing that the … lockout is justified on the grounds of safety or health.”

    • starlight 26.5

      Absolutely disgusting news,surely the court can see the game playing here.

  27. fender 27

    It’s time the POAL management and board were locked in a container, fumigated and sent into outer space. They don’t deserve to live alongside humans, they clearly don’t belong.

    • grumpy 27.1

      Great, a comment like this at a time when POAL are using “safety” as the excuse for a lockout. You guys never learn………

      • fender 27.1.1

        POAL management is behaving dangerously grumpy, fuckn reckless bullying enemies of the people.

        • grumpy 27.1.1.1

          Certainly agree they are acting dangerously but also pretty assertively. I think they are on a winner hear, they have been given plenty of ammunition by MUNZ.

          Next expect to see police cordons at the port. Police at Director’s homes for security. Escorts for non union workers etc.

          • fender 27.1.1.1.1

            Yeah nothing like a bit of paranoid overkill to try and attract sympathy, fuckn wowzers trying to paint Munz as terrorist group now, pathetic.

            • IrishBill 27.1.1.1.1.1

              I’d advise not engaging with grumpy. He seems to have a rich and somewhat creepy fantasy life. Best not to feed it.

              • grumpy

                Dunno if it’s a fantasy IB, I think the fantasy was Parsloe thinking they were going back to work today.

                Time for MUNZ to have a serious tactical rethink…..

              • fender

                Yeah he must be grumpy about missing out on vital human DNA like the POAL bosses are lacking.

                • felix

                  Nah, he just spends a bit too much time hanging around Slater’s hole.

                  • fender

                    POAL getting involved with Whalesludge really says it all. Spose it’s natural though that those who think they are a law unto themselves will be attracted to each other.

          • Puddleglum 27.1.1.1.2

            Surely a lockout on the grounds of safety could only apply to individual workers known to cause safety problems?

            Locking out all union workers as a safety concern simply because they belong to a union seems discriminatory.

            Next employers will be asking to be able to lockout all Maori workers, for example, because they have a case of a single Maori worker causing safety issues. 

            Or is there evidence of MUNZ actively organising its members to sabotage cranes and the like? 

  28. KJT 28

    MUNZ position is they will go back to work as soon as POAL restart negotiations.

    POAL have locked out all MUNZ members, including those that were going to work a local ship on a conventional wharf, tonight.

    Scabs are working a Mearsk ship on Ferguson. Other shipping companies are not willing to use the scabs at the moment. Not enough of them anyway.

    • grumpy 28.1

      Didn’t Kelly claim Maersk were not going to use Auckland?

      • Te Reo Putake 28.1.1

        No, Maersk claimed that, grumpy. It was in the news quite a bit at the time, as I recall.

        • Chaz 28.1.1.1

          No It was Kelly.
          Just a few days ago.

          Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Helen Kelly said Maersk had advised it could not be carrying containers loaded in Auckland during the industrial dispute.

          “It will stop calling at the Ports of Auckland until the dispute is resolved,” Ms Kelly said.

          http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/201297/maersk-still-calling-poal-has-backup-plan

          • Te Reo Putake 28.1.1.1.1

            Oh, noes! Maersk lied to the union, who’d have thunk it!

            • grumpy 28.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope, Kelly lied and Maersk called it at the time.

              • I wish I was a RWNJ.  I would never have to think about issues again or worry that I was wrong and I could then spout the latest attack line without hesitation or embarrassment.

              • felix

                Hi grumpy, you seem pretty sure of your facts there.

                Let’s have it then.

                  • KJT

                    Right now. A Mearsk ship is working Ferguson with scab labour.

                    Security guards are preventing any MUNZ members from working on the wharf.

                    Contrary to the propaganda from POAL about looking after customers,
                    POAL has locked out MUNZ labour this morning from working a locally owned ship on the conventional wharfs.

                    All the heavies at the gates are POAL security.

                    It is illegal to lock out in an essential industry without 14 days notice. It is also illegal to discriminate in the workplace between Union and non-union labour.

                    It is also well known now that POAL’s, Rodney Hyde appointed, board planned all this more than 9 months ago.

                    The board should be sacked for wasting shareholders money, when the aim, more profitability for the port could have been achieved more easily with better management, working in co-operation with the workforce..

                    • Grumpy

                      I have predicted a few things right here. For my next trick, if Len succumbs to pressure from his Union backers, watch for the govt. to step in using the excuse of “in the national interest”.

                    • Jackal

                      It would be a huge about face as John Key has indicated that they wont do that Grumpy. Now roll over… there’s a good boy.

                    • Grumpy

                      Dunno about that Jack, Key might use the intervention of foreign unions as an excuse. There are too many ports in the region anyway, I think Auckland Council might be quite happy to close it down and develop the land.

      • KJT 28.1.2

        Well they are. Looking at it right now.

  29. Blue 29

    This fiasco has gone on long enough. From here, it can go one of two ways – either the entire unionised workforce get sacked, or the entire board of POAL get sacked.

    If the union workers are sacked, then POAL have to find experienced stevedores willing to sign up as ‘contractors’ and deal with ongoing industrial action in overseas ports, making them even less of an attractive destination for ships than they are now.

    If the board is sacked, they can be easily replaced. Throw a penny in Auckland and you’ll hit a company director. The wharfies can go back to work, the international industrial action gets cancelled, and the port can get back to full speed immediately.

    POAL has made it clear that they are not going to negotiate. The time for negotiation has passed. It is time for the Mayor and the Council to step in and tell POAL management to pull their fucking heads in or they’re fired.

  30. burt 30

    Blue

    We need to be careful about sacking the board, port boards all over the world may go on strike until the POAL board members are re-appointed on better terms and conditions than before they were sacked.

    • infused 30.1

      lol

    • Colonial Viper 30.2

      port boards all over the world may go on strike until the POAL board members are re-appointed on better terms and conditions than before they were sacked.

      But what will happen when port productivity and morale improves without the Board members on board? That and the saving of the extravagant Directors fees means that those poor little board members might be locked out forever!

    • Draco T Bastard 30.3

      I’m in full encouragement of this action by board members around the world. The union can step in and run the ports and companies until the board members go off strike or the owners figure out that they’re getting a better deal – whichever comes first. I suspect it’ll be the latter.

  31. tsmithfield 31

    Some interesting comments on this thread.

    Something that most seem to have overlooked is that it would be wise to assume that POAL have engaged the best legal advice the city can offer, and any moves they make have been approved legally first. So, if they have locked out workers on the basis of health and safety, it would be reasonable to assume that they have run this and the supporting evidence past their lawyers prior to taking the action.

    • Te Reo Putake 31.1

      Bollocks. Their legal advice has been crap. Or in the alternative, the board is ignoring good advice in favour of macho posturing. Either way, they got done over in the court, which means their tactics are not legal, whatever the advice. The current lockout is clearly unlawful, which must also be an embarrassment to their legal team.

      • tsmithfield 31.1.1

        Time will tell, I guess.

        However, I expect the lock-out move has been planned prior to the dispute even starting. Management probably went through some fairly detailed contingency planning with their legal team, and predicted likely union reaction and behaviour under various scenarios, and had planned responses under each scenario. Therefore, I expect that if there is legal provision for the workers to be locked out on grounds of health and safety, that the lawyers will already have their case ready, and will have plenty of evidence to back it up.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 31.1.1.1

          It’s good to see that you’ve bounced back from the humiliation of telling us that the dispute was all over. I expect you have got it absolutely right this time too. Yes sirree.

        • RedLogix 31.1.1.2

          Yeah … they’ve found themselves a legal loophole to leap through alright ts. The question is “where are they going to land?”

          Because the average dude can see through this dodge plainly enough.

        • toad 31.1.1.3

          Oh, bullshit, TS. Even on Health and safety grounds (and that argument is pretty tenuous) an employer in an essential service still has to give the required notice of a lockout. Read the bloody law.

          • tsmithfield 31.1.1.3.1

            I am not trying to take a position on who is in the right here.

            Just pointing out that it is unwise to underestimate the opponent. The POAL will have prepared well for all this. The behaviour of unions to this sort of situation is as predictable as the sunrise and the tides. So, I expect the POAL will have been able to plan for various contingencies quite easily.

            As I said above, time will tell on this one.

            • KJT 31.1.1.3.1.1

              Yep. POAL planned the actions they knew would give MUNZ no alternative other than a strike.

              Really it should be called a constructive lockout!

  32. Tom Gould 32

    POAL locks out their workers indefinitely and that snivelling little Tory crawler Barnett is on the radio saying the union is ‘holding the country to ransom’? How can the breathless slow-witted head of news at Radio Live call himself a journalist? Or are ‘commercial interests’ getting in the way of news judgements?

  33. KATY 33

    Len Brown is engaging his own legal advice apparently, so it looks as if he’s contemplating some form of action.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10793980

    • Grumpy 33.1

      Don’t hold your breath. John Key has his own pet scientist too, someone to explain difficult concepts to him. Same with Len but at least Len has got a good one – it could have been Fairbrother…..

    • james 111 33.2

      Kathy
      Good to see in the same article that there are workers coming from the other side of the World to work at POAL.
      Im sure Drake will sort it ,and the next ones will have their permits. Obviously the new employment conditions are being met with Satisfaction by overseas workers ,and they are more than happy to join POAL.
      They will soon have POAL moving again ,and it will all soon settle down. Dont believe Len can do much he was the Mayor that all the Left wingers wanted.
      He has made some monumental stuff ups snce being in like the Maori seats on council when he had no mandate to do it. The people of Auckland havent forgotten ,and he knows he will be a one term Mayor anyway.The next Mayor is likely to be more realistic ,and conservative and will be very keen to get a greater return out of the Port for the good of greater Auckland

      • Hateatea 33.2.1

        James 111, apart from your appalling grammar, lack of punctuation and general failure to understand what has been written by others, you now add an apparent inability to spell a simple proper name ‘Katy’, not Kathy and downright untruths.
        Please show a link to a reputable source verifying the Māori seats on Auckland’s council. This is not the situation that I am aware of but I live in hope that you may actually fact check this assertion.
         

    • Jackal 33.3

      Yep! That’s my take on it as well Katy. You don’t put a high powered lawyer in there without serious concerns and with PoAL ignoring a court order and being egregiously in breach of the Employment Relations Act again by illegally locking out MUNZ workers, the hammer is likely to fall shortly. Allan Galbraith will be there to ensure it’s a clean swift blow without any legal reprisals.

      PoAL’s plan has always been to use stevedores at any cost and have wasted enough ratepayer’s money with bad faith bargaining. Their ideologically defunct privatise the ports at any cost and manipulation of the situation through people like Cameron Slater is plain to see. Their concern is not for the viability and cost effectiveness of the port, it’s for their pay packets… and those are about to take a hammering. How sad, oh dear, never mind.

  34. toad 34

    How low can PoAL go? Engaging not just scabs, but illegals:

    Meanwhile, two British workers who arrived at Auckland Airport without work permits to advise on the ports dispute were refused entry last week and put on a flight home.

    Both men worked for Drake International and arrived to work on contract for Ports of Auckland.

    Drake New Zealand is one of two companies appointed by the port company on March 9 to hire contract workers for the port.

  35. joe90 35

    Lets not forget the death of Christine Clarke who was on the picket line at Lyttelton when she was run down and killed by Derek Powell.

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