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Incompetent management forces Shearer & Brown off fence

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, March 12th, 2012 - 47 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, capitalism, class war - Tags: ,

After months on the side-line, David Shearer and Len Brown have been forced to choose a side in the Ports of Auckland dispute by the irrational and unreasonable behaviour of the Ports management (not to mention a fair amount of public pressure). Shearer has come out against casualisation and marched with the workers in Saturday. Brown has offered mediation between the parties.

The chairman of the Port, Richard Pearson, has refused Brown’s approach. Ignoring Brown’s offer to mediate and, instead, saying he can ‘help’ by telling the stevedores to sign up with the contracting companies is an incredible act of disrespect. It’s like the head of an SOE publicly telling the PM to go fuck himself. It also reveals that the Port is having difficulty getting the numbers to sign up to the contractors that it needs.

I think the Port management can’t work out why the workers haven’t folded yet. This just proves how incompetent they are. With their strike fund and assistance from donations by thousands of ordinary New Zealanders (make yours here), the workers can afford to hold out for some time yet. It’s not easy for those workers but that’s the strength the union brings them, the strength to endure these kind of corporate bully tactics.

But how long can the Port afford to hold out? Before the continuous strike began, it had lost $25m in business – about 15% of annual turnover. Since then, how many more millions have gone down the drain? Something on the order of $3m a week. How much in future costs do they face from legal costs, redundancies (if they are even able to sack the workers), and ongoing loss of business.

There’s a fair chance that the workers are going to win the up-coming legal action, given the clear evidence that the management has been trying to invoke a crisis leading to casualisation from Day 1, and has never been acting in good faith.

If I was the council, I would be spitting tacks at the cost the incompetent Port management has imposed on Auckland. And, if I was Brown, I would be telling Pearson that he and the rest of the board appointed by the government when they created the Supercity are sacked. It’s time Ports of Auckland was run by people who are competent and have the interests of Auckland at heart, rather an an ideological, outmoded fixation with union breaking.

47 comments on “Incompetent management forces Shearer & Brown off fence”

  1. BLiP 1

    Incompetent management? No politician has ever been spurred into action by bad management. It is public opinion that is the driving force. The shame is that it has taken this long (and a “lamigram”) to get the message through. It speaks of politicians-as-managers rather than visionary leaders.

    Well done the Union – kia kaha.

  2. John Dalley 2

    As a rate payer of Auckland, i am seriously offended about the amout of print space POAL & Richard Pearson has been spending “our” money on. At least 3 days of full page adds llast week in the NZ Herald, full page adds in the Herald on Sunday and Sunday Star Times and don’t buy but possibly the Sunday News. How much is this splurg costing the ratepayer even if it is indirectly being spent by the POAL?

  3. It’s time Ports of Auckland was run by people who are competent and have the interests of Auckland at heart, rather an an ideological, outmoded fixation with union breaking.

    This may also apply:

    “It’s time Ports of Auckland was worked by people who are competent and have the interests of Auckland at heart, rather an an ideological, outmoded fixation with union action.”

    • Would you be happy with a de-unionised or neutered Union, Pete, that would ultimately result in abuse of workers such as was uncovered on Foreign Chartered Vessels? Those seamen were un-unionised, y’know. http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/a-slave-by-any-other-name/

      The result wasn’t just local – but impacted on our reputation overseas, with our major markets as Bloomberg reported on slavery within our territorial waters.

      Not exactly a good look, is it?

      • rosy 3.1.1

        And on a related point, Frank (shipping deregulation), I’d be interested to know how much ‘efficiency’ – either in shipping, or port operations – had to do with the Rena’s race to get into port on a turning tide instead of waiting it out. The ship was already delayed at other ports due to poor maintenance, and as they say ‘time is money’ (never safety is money).

        • Frank Macskasy 3.1.1.1

          Indeed, Rosy. Revelations that the ‘Rena’ was off-course in an attempt to get to her next destination are a timely reminder what happens when the commercial imperative over-rides safety and common sense.

          The race for the Holy Dollar, in this case, came to a grinding halt on Astrolabe Reef. (Which, we, the tax payer are having to clean up.)

      • Pete George 3.1.2

        Frank – no, I think unions play an important role in industrial relations and sometimes industrial action is justified, for example I’m sympathetic towards the aged-care workers.

        PoA is a mess and I don’t think either side is solely responsible for that. What do you think?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1

          PoA is a mess and I don’t think either side is solely responsible for that.

          o_O

          Lets see.
          1.) One side went into the negotiations with unrealistic goals (12% RoE)
          2.) One side went into negotiations with full intent of not negotiating in good faith

          PoAL is a mess and I’m damned sure of who the culprit who caused it is.

    • framu 3.2

      “an ideological, outmoded fixation with union action”

      really pete G?

      never mind that the workers have made numerous concessions along the way – even offering to accept a pay cut to avoid the one and only major issue for them which was having their regular job turned into a casual job.

      But that somehow means that they have “an ideological, outmoded fixation with union action”

      is that what your saying?

    • Blighty 3.3

      see, just replacing a word in a sentence with a different word doesn’t make the new sentence true.

      Management’s actions have cost tens of millions of dollars. Explain why the Port would have lost tens of millions of dollars in the last few months if workers had simply kept their conditions with a 2% raise like they asked for. Because that was the alternative.

    • muzza 3.4

      My god you are getting more senile by the post Pete. Here let someone with better understandin of what is going on help you out again!

      There is a document, its called the Statement of Intent (SOI) – you can find it below – http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/POAL_SCI_2011to2014.pdf

      The PoAL sits inside the ACIL portfolio, which is classified as a Public Benefit Entity (PBE), so perhaps you need to investigate what a PBE is bound by. “The Board noted that the OAG had confirmed that ACIL is a Public Benefit Entity (PBE).”

      Perhaps by competant, are you referring the POT contracted work force Pete, something like this – http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/one-dead-after-port-tauranga-accident/1068220/

      or

      http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/55000-fine-for-death-at-port-of-tauranga/1058168/

      I would suggest you go for a check up Pete, your comment I have responded to indicates a mind not capable of rational thought, and it just spews out whatever nonsense it dreams up.

      Off you go Pete, the senile old git!

  4. Blighty 4

    I see Maersk is now saying it won’t go to Auckland while the dispute is on. Looking at the expected arrivals list – that’s 13 of the 99 ships expected at the affected wharves in the next two months. The big ones too.

  5. marsman 5

    Note John Key is helping the port’s incompetent management, repeating the lie that the average wage of the workers is $90,000.

  6. Kevin 6

    It’s all over bar the shouting, Shearer and Brown have arrived into the debate to late.

    • Blighty 6.1

      I don’t know why you think it’s over.

      The Port desperately needs these 300 workers to sign the new contractors. There aren’t 300 skilled stevedores just sitting around in the reserve army of the unemployed. So they need these workers. And these workers won’t sign up. And they can afford to wait a lot longer than the Port can.

  7. John Dalley 7

    @Rosy. POT was closing at 3.00am and the Rena masters wher in a race to get thetre before that time.

  8. Is this the sort of thing to get off the fence over? There’s been a lot of complaints about union tactics, this one identifies the complainant:

    Alan Dempsey ()
    02:42 PM Friday, 9 Mar 2012
    I sat in a union meeting that was a call by the radicals to go on strike over absolutely nothing. I stood up and asked if, when our wages stopped (over 4 broken shower heads, vandalised by one of the workers to initiate the problem) would the union bosses’ wages stop to? I was beaten up outside after the meeting by their goons.

    The Maritime Union have bought the poison over many years, and now their foolish workers have to drink it. Sadly. I pains me to say, but this needed to happen.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10790376

    No indication of when this happened, but it is another serious allegation about tactics on the wharf.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.1

      I believe the incident occured in the writer’s head sometime toward the end of the seventies, Pete. Your claiming that it’s a serious allegation makes it even funnier!

      • Pete George 8.1.1

        You just dismiss that as a joke? You don’t think it’s cause for concern?

        It’s not like it’s an isolated allegation, there have been a number of others, including on TV news.

        [lprent: The NZ Herald comment section makes no attempt to check anyone’s identity. You can (and people frequently do) just use any old name to leave comments there.

        Similarly the TV coverage I have seen has had “stories” but no actual people fronting up and pointing to complaints (because that behaviour has always been illegal and would have resulted in complaints to police). TV tends to check that type of story only when it becomes defamatory. That requires a specific type of story and a person to be defamed.

        Quite simply both are of less significant value than you’d find here. Because if someone does make claims here, I will sometimes do what is required to find out if the claim is credible, and give my opinion if I think it is.

        Bearing in mind the widespread unverified and unverifiable nature of the allegations you’re talking about. I’d put it down to the usual disinformation campaigns that usually happen at this point in every dispute.

        I’m surprised that you don’t recognize that. Makes you a natural sucker for advertising… ]

        • McFlock 8.1.1.1

          Well if you saw it on telly it must be true. Golly, it’s not like the wharfies have been targeted in a campaign of lies and disinformation on everything for salaries to the role of the union /sarc

        • Blighty 8.1.1.2

          there’s nothing to prove that this incident is a) real b) accurately reported or c) in any way linked to Ports of Auckland and the current dispute.

          It’s kind of like me saying that I once knew a United Future candidate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_Chal ) who was elected to Parliament without even being a citizen of the damn country and had to resign from the list in disgrace, therefore, every time Pete George opens his mouth we have to assume he’s a fraudster/moron.

          • Pete George 8.1.1.2.1

            That was checked out and found to be correct so appropriate action was taken.

            What’s your point?

            • Te Reo Putake 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Where’s your evidence, Pete? If it was checked, etc. then you’ll be able to show us the links.

              • I don’t have any evidence, but it’s unusual for public claims like this (on the Herald website) using an apparent real name.

                Are you sure nothing like this happened?

                • daveo

                  I’ve heard pete george has predilections for sex with chickens. I think there should be a ban on him spreading his subversive poison until he disproves this allegation.

                  [lprent: Why? Actually don’t answer that. I’m sure that I don’t want the topic spreading. ]

                • Te Reo Putake

                  During the current dispute, I’m 100% sure it didn’t happen. In the past, if anything like that incident occurred, I’m 100% sure it didn’t happen the way it was portrayed. 
                   
                  Right now, I’m 100% sure you are grasping at straws, Pete. If your only evidence of MUNZ wrongdoing is somebody commenting on the Herald’s comments section with an unproveable claim without any names, timeline or facts to back it up, then you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not the voice of reason I once thought you were claiming to be, Pete 😉
                   

                • wtl

                  This is ridiculous. There is no evidence whatsoever that this person is who they claim to be or the allegation is real (for all we, Mr Dempsey might actually be Pete George). The only thing you having going for you is that the person has an “apparently real name”. The fact that you are willing to take such an allegation at face value and spread it says a lot about you.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Whoops, I can’t delete this, sorry.

                    • gareth

                      No… Pete did a cut and paste from Whale oil so he could engage in a spot of bait the lefties.
                      Does that a lot actually….
                      In fact is Pete The Standard’s answer to Kiwiblog?

    • another big lie like that one from today about strikers ‘intimidating’ all over the place..?

      ..but the police..who have people there..

      ..say there have been no incidents of intimidation..

      ..who is the liar there..?

      phil-at-whoar.

    • Rosemary 8.3

      Well, Mr Wormtongue, you know? When people are pushed far enough by filthy greedy arsewipes who don’t care about anything except their ability to continue to scrape millions off the back of others then things can go a bit awry. And, of course, while not everything that happens should be condoned, a lot of it can certainly be explained and understood.

      What’s most annoying, though, is when moderate pseudo-intellectuals like yourself pontificate away on things they clearly know nothing about, and who claim to support this and claim to support that and who believe in everyone being able to have a fair say blah, blah blah go on and on and bloody on either saying all these things but meaning another or without actually saying anything at all.

      I have come to the conclusion, Mr Wormtongue, that you are a gormless twit who just cannot be taken seriously. Your analyses of the planned asset sales and on the POAL/MUNZ dispute are pure and utter bullshit. I really think that you need to just stick with Kiwiblog. I’m sure they love you over there and that what you say is always warmly received. Good luck, Wormtongue, go well.

  9. infused 9

    It’s over, give it a rest.

    I love how Helen Kelly is like ” We are prepared to mediate with the Mayor…

    Time has passed lady. Bit late now.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.1

      Of course it’s over – there are no blacklisted ships, and the employment court has ruled in favour of management, Mr. Muhammad Saeed al-Infused

    • muzza 9.2

      Con(in)fused!

    • Te Reo Putake 9.3

      HK was responding to Bottler Brown’s offer to mediate, confused. It is Brown that is late with the offer not Kelly. And it only comes as he sees his re-election chances vanishing down the same idealogical hole POAL is pouring all that money and future prospects into.

    • Blighty 9.4

      quick infused, tell Maersk!

      “Maersk has advised today that they will not be carrying containers loaded out of Port of Auckland during the current industrial dispute. It will stop calling at the Ports of Auckland until the dispute is resolved”.

      • Jester 9.4.1

        Someone needs to tell Maersk about their shipping policies. Latest news is that Maersk are “bemused” by Ms Kellys claims.

    • lprent 9.5

      Ah no it isn’t over. Sounds like the PoA is having problems in court already.

      I wonder what happens when the court issues an injunction preventing the PoA from using the services contracting firms. I think that the port then grinds to a halt because the PoA now has only a few casuals from the existing agreement with the union that they can use.

  10. Bored 10

    Saw Shearer marching on TV news with the POA workers….solidarity photo op. Whoopee fekkin doo!!!! Bit too little and too late.

    • Jenny 10.1

      Never say never.

      We have not yet begun to fight.

    • Rosemary 10.2

      Are you familiar with what happens when the court says an employer hasn’t bargained in good faith? The best is yet to come.

  11. John72 11

    Mathew 20:1-16
    A parable that fits here.

  12. Rob 12

    In terms of planning strategy , its a good idea to fully understand the capability of your adversary. Your mistake is to think that the POAL management is incompetant. I think they know exactly what they are doing.

  13. John72 13

    Why is it that so many people on this site are devoted to criticisim? Is it a sign of weakness to find good in a person?
    “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to be kind to another, without helping himself.” (Quote:- Bailey)

    [You may be in the wrong place. This is a political blog … it is a discussion and debate forum. Much of it will be robust and muscular debate where ideas, references and opinions will be subject to strong scrutiny. Criticism is not the same thing as a personal attack, and most mature contributors have learnt this.

    The problem for many people is that they have trouble separating out their ideas from their ego’s; which tends to make them emotive and incoherent and makes for a poor debate. I agree with you on this point; that personal attacks that lead to flame wars are counter-productive and usually gets moderated out. On the other hand misinterpreting criticism as an attack is your problem. We tend to leave you to deal with it.

    If you paid attention you would see plenty of occasions where agreement is expressed, although because there is not a lot of point in simply repeating a point, or being nauseatingly sycophantic… it’s often quite a brief nod.

    If you want to contribute usefully here you need to spend some time observing the purpose and method we use. Telling us how to run the site will only get bad reaction….RL]

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