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.