PoAL’s illegal lockout adds to Auckland’s losses

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, March 23rd, 2012 - 178 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The Port of Auckland’s refusal to let the stevedores return to work now that they have lifted their strike notice is a lock-out. There are specific legal requirements around strikes and lock-outs at ports and other essential services – notice must be given in writing and with 14 days’ notice. The Port’s lock-out is illegal. And it’s costing Auckland millions.

I’ve collated the relevant provisions of the Employment Relations Act (82(1)(a)(iv), 91(1)(b)(i), 91(2)(a), 83(b)(i), 91(3)(a)(i), and Schedule 1 Part A 7) into a single passage

Lockout means an act that is the act of an employer in refusing or failing to engage employees for any work for which the employer usually employs employees. No employer engaged in an essential service may lock out any employees who are employed in the essential service the proposed lockout will affect the public interest, including (without limitation) public safety or health; and the proposed lockout relates to bargaining for a collective agreement that will bind each of the employees concerned without having given to the employees’ union or unions and to the chief executive, within 28 days before the date of commencement of the lockout, notice in writing of the employer’s intention to lock out; and before the date specified in the notice as the date on which the lockout will begin. The notice required must specify the period of notice, being a period that is no less than 14 days in the case of an essential service including the provision of all necessary services in connection with the arrival, berthing, loading, unloading, and departure of ships at a port.

So, clearly what the Port is doing now (“refusing or failing to engage employees for any work for which the employer usually employs employees”) is a lockout. And it has been done without 14 days’ notice as required for a port.

What’s the punishment? Well, the Employment Court has very broad powers. It can be expected to levy massive fines on the port for this action.

Add those fines to the $12.7 million in lost custom so far during the strikes plus $25 million a year to permanently lost Fonterra and Maersk business plus hundreds of thousands for the Port’s PR campaign and legal costs. All of this in an effort to transfer $6 million a year from the workers’ wages to the Port’s profit line.

The question now is why Auckland Council is paying Pearson $200,000 a year for two days’ work a week and Tony Gibson $590,000 a year to wreck its port and cost it tens of millions in lost custom and fines, not to mention the wider costs to Auckland economy.

Brown can’t stand by and let these two loose units damage his city any longer.

178 comments on “PoAL’s illegal lockout adds to Auckland’s losses ”

  1. Fisiani 1

    You fail to mention that it is not illegal if there is a safety risk to the staff. The intimidation, bullying and sabotage by certain Union members has clearly rendered it unsafe to allow them to work alongside honest workers. Safety trumps the clause above.

    IrishBill: Put up or shut up. Final warning.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      It’s true, the post doesn’t mention this.

      That is what POAL is claiming is the reason behind it. Helen Kelly was on National Radio this morning saying that it’s just more bluster from POAL and they don’t have any actual proof or evidence that any such threatening or bullying behaviour has taken place.

      Someone else pointed out yesterday that even if this was the case, legally the port would be required to identify individuals to lock out because of this ‘unsafe’ behaviour, they can’t simply lock out all union workers unless they have proof that the union has been deliberately working together or instructing its members to behave that way. Which clearly they haven’t.

      • JH 1.1.1

        The port’s press release giving the lockout notice for 14 days time and also saying that the workers won’t be able to work for the intervening period – ie they will be locked out – does not cite health and safety as a reason for the immediate lock out without notice.

        Even if there was a health and safety issue (and no-one has presented any evidence of this) it doesn’t give them the power to lock out all the union workers without notice.

      • higherstandard 1.1.2

        Well if they do have such information or evidence pointing to it being unsafe to allow the striking workers back onto the port they will hardly be sharing it with the papers. From my understanding there will be meeting this morning between POAL and MUNZ wherein the previously striking workers will be allowed back into the ports to work as long as they agree to certain health and safety requirements.

        It would be prudent for POAL and MUNZ and the CTU and various bloggers to STFU do what they are going to do and expedite any mediation which to my mind will be a waste of time as both sides have specific items which they will not back down on.

        If anyone on either side thinks that POAL or MUNZ are covering themselves in anything apart from disdain and derision of the majority of the NZ public then IMO they are delusional

        • Well if they do have such information or evidence pointing to it being unsafe to allow the striking workers back onto the port they will hardly be sharing it with the papers.

          Uh, why exactly wouldn’t they be sharing that? They don’t seem particularly concerned with good faith or workers’ rights, so I don’t really see anything stopping them from doing a whispers game.

          No, the reason we haven’t heard from them is because they’re lying, they’re out of options, and this lockout is essentially them backing themselves into a corner.

      • Fortran 1.1.3

        Are you aware that serious threat have been made on Social media, in particularly Facebook.
        And that over recent days these have been professionally downloaded and collected, in order that they may be used in court, should it be necessary to use them to show threats.
        MUNZ should check their social listings, but it may be too late.

        • McFlock

          Personally, I certainly would expect a bad faith employer to trawl its employees’ social networking pages in order to find anything it can beat up or take offense at in court. Even “professionally”. 
          Threatening is a criminal offence, regardless of employment proceedings. How many arrests have been made as a result of these “professional” investigations?

    • Fisiani 1.2

      Certainly IB . http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/
      There is a menacing air hanging over the Ports of Auckland today. Not without some justification, the Ports of Auckland is refusing to let union heavies back onto the wharf. All they need to do is look through the Facebook pages of union strikers and see the threats, both overt and implied about what they are going to do the “scabs” when they get back on the wharf.

      IrishBill: I said put up, not puke up. Take a week off – I’ll not allow this site to be used to spread poal/slater smear lines.

      [lprent: Increased to 8 weeks. His comments over the last month have been pure idiot statement trolling – frequently duplicated from week to week and day to day.

      When he comes back if I see any trace of similar idiot level trolling then I’ll ban him permanently.

      I’ve been meaning to go back and point out the comments that are just copies of each other. But I’m a bit busy. ]

      • Hateatea 1.2.1

        Are you serious? You are quoting Slater as a reliable source? What, apart from coffee, have you taken this morning?

        • higherstandard

          No sillier than quoting The Standard as a reliable source which is done here with remarkable frequency – between the POAL and the Nick Smith debacle there’s between an incessant stench on the blogs along with some of the vilest comments I’ve seen on NZ blogs for quite awhile.

          I can understand peoples interest in these issues and their wish to comment but perhaps if everyone backed off for 48 hours and let things cool down a bit a more sensible discourse could take place.

          [lprent: “…done here with remarkable frequency…”. Good search makes it easy to find. The reason that many link to our posts is because they’re usually full of links to other articles and posts. That is why the authors write them like that. We tend to be a bit like The Economist; you may disagree with our opinion biases, but the bias is known, and there is a lot of backing information in the posts and comments for you to read to make up your own mind. ]

          • Lanthanide

            Although actually The Standard very rarely posts what it claims to be factual / new information, which Slater does all the time.

            The Standard is generally gathering up things of interest and then writing an opinion on them.

            [lprent: The authors do. Otherwise correct. There are occasional OIA’s (like the ones that I posted this morning) and SP stuck his nose into the companies office. But generally we express our views rather than act a news gathering organisation. We’re a voluntary outfit so are not resources for news gathering. ]

    • Rob 1.3

      Yeah, because locked out and striking union members have never intimidated other workers before…..

      [lprent: Point to charges being laid and at least one successfully persecuted court case by tomorrow. Otherwise I’ll treat you as a idiot troll and give you a 2 month ban. In the meantime you’re on auto-moderation. ]

      • IrishBill 1.3.1

        Again, put up or shut up.

        • Pete George

          POAL themselves have claimed it.

          “We are obviously concerned about our staff that are already working at the port, they have been subjected to much intimidation and threats of physical violence,” he told Radio New Zealand.

          “That’s our first priority … to make sure that they’re looked after, because the last thing we want is a situation down at that port which would just be a huge health and safety risk.”

          Mr Pearson said lifting the lockout would depend on assurances from the union.


          Obviously that’s unsubstantiated, but if the unions made an assurance they won’t tolerate any possible violence or intimidation it would make it clear if anything does happen it would be rogue and not sanctioned.

          • IrishBill

            How about you make an assurance you’ll not murder any more kittens before I let you comment here again?

            • Pete George

              I promise not to murder any more kittens, and not to feed my cat red herrings.

              • McFlock

                IB, I feel intimidated about being here with a self-confessed kitten-murderer. It’s not just rumour, he admitted it himself!
                I am, after all, merely a defenseless scab. Oh who will protect me from the kitten-crusher? The stress his continued presence causes me is a clear health and safety issue…


            • chaz

              Your example is inaccurate.

              Port management statements (and evidence – e.g. trespass notices and sackings) that cases of intimidation and threats have already occurred is not linked to their demand for future assurances.

              Port management has asked for assurances that there will no intimidation or threats of violence. Why wouldn’t the union simply agree to that assurance?

              Your example would be accurate if you had said:

              “How about you make an assurance you’ll not murder any kittens before I let you comment here again?”

              I’m happy to make that assurance. I’m also happy to assure you that I will not seek to initimate, threaten, or jeopardise the safety of any worker at the auckland port or anywhere else.

              Now why won’t your union pals do the same?

              • KJT

                LOL. MUNZ have been constantly reminding members that physical violence and damage to property is not on.

                I am not surprised though that feelings get a bit high considering the sheer volume of BS from POAL.

              • McFlock

                So they’re brutish thugs who will threaten lives, but their honour will not let them tell even a tiny fib or even not threaten anyone so they can get back to work?

                Maybe the fact is that the request is a pretty massive insult?
                PoAL have only one of two reasons to even make the request: firstly, every single one of the 300 union members has been making threats, so asking for a collective promise is appropriate (rather than just dealing with individuals concerned), or simply to throw more PR smoke because making such a “promise” would be spun as a tacit admission that this is how unionists behaved previously.
                One is less likely than the other. 

                • chaz

                  I would have thought that someone posting on this site would understand that the whole point of having a union is that negotiations are carried out as a collective?

                  On the other hand if you think management should be negotiating separately with each and every worker I’m sure they would be glad to – wait….doesn’t that make them individual contractors??

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    No, it doesn’t make them individual contractors. And you don’t get to decide what the point of unions is, fool. The union members decide that for themselves.

                    • McFlock

                      Chaz obviously is victim of the impression that unions are a borg-style collective into which everyone is assimilated and follows instructions from the networked hivemind core.
                      Shame when they start believing their own bullshit. 

                    • Chaz

                      If McFlock is calling for management to negotiate directly with workers, that’s exactly what they are, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up.

                      The point of a union is that it acts on behalf of a collective. If you deny that then we might as well agree that black is white and water runs uphill.

                    • McFlock

                      My collective contract is up for renegotiation shortly. That is a union matter.
                      In the meantime, my boss is still entitled to expect me to fulfil my job description and current contract, work professionally with staff, and comply with health and safety policies. Should I fail to live up to those reasonable expectations, my boss can work through the performance management process. Should I choose to involve the union in that process, fine, but (and this is the subtlety you seem unable to comprehend) it is a seperate issue to the contract negotiation. Two issues, two processes. If I were in the wrong, I could be fired. That is a different issue from the larger contract negotiation.
                      Get it?

          • Eddie

            You righties are having trouble reading this morning, eh? This is a lockout at an essential service that relates to collective bargaining – even if they claim health and safety it’s still in the context of collective bargaining. Therefore a fourteen day notice period is required. That hasn’t happened. That’s illegal.

            • higherstandard

              And the court will rule as such on that today if necessary.

            • Pete George

              That may be the case, I’m not arguing with that.

              What sort of time frame is allowed between ending a strike and restarting work? There must be some practical allowance for getting the workplace ready? Odd if there isn’t.

              • Lanthanide

                They would then have to prove that the workspace isn’t ready. Which would be difficult.

              • Hayden

                What do you think they’ve done to the workplace in the meantime? Taken away the comfy cushions?

                • They might have to try and rustle up one or two ships to work on.

                  • Lanthanide

                    So they fall back under their existing contracts where they are employed and paid by the port whether there are ships to unload/load or not.

                    Any lack of ships is entirely the POALs fault at this point.

          • grumpy

            With the loss of Fonterra and others, will there be enough work for all the MUNZ members, and, if not, how will the jobs be prioritised?

            Will the existing non-union labour be preferred?

            I can see how there could be scope for heated feelings.

            • Blighty

              it would be illegal to ‘prefer’ non-union Labour.

              Bill of Rights, freedom of association. Explicitly referenced in the ERA

      • queenstfarmer 1.3.2

        [lprent: Point to charges being laid and at least one successfully persecuted court case by tomorrow.

        Hmm, so this site runs numerous stories labelling the POAL’s current actions as “illegal” – despite no prosecution – but now another commentator is not allowed to suggest illegal tactics by union members without pointing to a successful prosecution… Perhaps a double-Standard?

        • McFlock

          As far as I know the actions of PoAL are not in dispute, just their ethics and legality.
          On the other hand, allegations of union threats and sabotage attempts seem to be very much disputed. Oh, if someone really did try to tip over a crane with a clamp, then that would be illegal and I’d expect criminal charges to be laid. But you seem to confuse making supportable claims about the legal basis or consequences of acts with making unsupported allegations and vague innuendo about what acts have and have not been committed.

        • IrishBill

          If you’ve got a problem with how this blog is run then start your own blog and take our tens of thousands of readers off us by producing a better product. The blogosphere is a free market with extremely low entry costs, after all.

        • Chaz

          Lprent, it’s a fair point isn’t it? You have banned posters because you say they have alleged that threats, intimidation and bullying behavior have occurred, you say without evidence being presented, which is unacceptable to you.

          The only evidence you seem to be prepared to accept is a prosecution, in spite of numerous threats and intimidating remarks made in this very thread, and actual evidence in the form of trespass notices, sackings and eyewitness testimony. The episode of the female worker being bullied and having her car assaulted by a gang of strikers has not been denied in this thread, it’s simply been passed off as not very important, no one was killed, and c’est la guerre. Follow up language including calls for the drowning of so-called scabs has followed.

          Well I think that most New Zealanders would hold the view that a gang of burly men, in semi darkness, assaulting a lone female in her car was intimidating, bullying, and thuggish; as is much of the language and threats outlined in this thread. Whether or not the posters ever intend to carry through on their calls for action is irrelevant to the charge of intimidatory behaviour, which is all too evident.

          If you don’t agree that’s perhaps the root of the problem here. In the eyes of many people posting here a level of violence and intimidation seems to be acceptable and part of the ‘game’. Hardly the family-friendly face the union has been trying to portray, is it?

          But returning to the question of what constitutes evidence, and repetitive postings.

          Since only a prosecution counts as evidence will you be issuing banning notices to the people repetitively posting here about a so-called illegal lockout? Or is there a different set of rule for opinions that you might happen to agree with?

          [lprent: Nope. I haven’t banned any for anything like those reasons. However Irish has banned one, and I increased their ban because they’d been trolling after the past weeks and I increased it to double their last ban – as I usually do if people pick up a ban too close to their last one. I find it helps to reduce the probability of people trying to game the bans system.

          There is one person on a stop commenting notice unless they provide something backing their allegations of illegal deeds in the past.

          Since those alleged deeds are completely illegal, then I’d expect that there will be charges and convictions to backup their claims. They are merely been told that they have to backup their claims with some evidence. Since I don’t know of any myself (and I keep an eye on the courts), I rather suspect that he is simply lying. I’m expecting that Rob will have a holiday from posting comments here tomorrow.

          And again. You have made a specific allegation. Unlike Rob, you don’t have a track record here. You haven’t offered any evidence for your allegation. So you are banned unless you posts some links to complaints and charges. I don’t expect it to be anything more than bullshit.. ]

          • xtasy

            Chaz: When management declare war to the port workers, they resorting then to employ scab labour to do the job that legally the POA worker should be doing, then that is a state of war, my dear!

            How would you feel if your boss suddenly decides, well I do not want to pay you anymore, do want to change our employment terms and tells you to sign at the dotted line, without any consultation and consideration for reasonable advice? I get from your post, you would abide and sign the dotted line.

            That makes you a mercenary or even slave minded worker.

            It is common legal understanding that agreements between parties must be made fairly and reasonably, without undue influence and intimidation and so forth.

            What we have here is unreasonableness and thus the workers at the port have every right to raise their issues, take a stand and not agree to such unfair, unreasonable and dictating terms.

            If other workers come in and sign unreasonable deals, then they are scabs!

            Would you agree to your rights being infringed on? Would you agree to your home being burgled for questionable reasons? Would you agree to be raped, to be disowned, to be treated like a slave who has to agree to what you are dictated to?

            I disagree with violence, with threats and the likes. But you are here operating as a person subverting the honest agenda that is followed by workers with reasonable expectations. YOU are a SABOTEUR or sorts and better take this advice and rethink!

    • Corundell 1.4

      Get it right Fisiani!!!…The only safety risk will be to the wharfies, they would have to watch there backs due to intimidation, bully and sabotage by scabs and POA management…Who shit on them…So you are saying scabs are HONEST!!!…Get off the green when you scab on your mates you will do the same to anyone…

    • Georgecom 1.5

      Gees Fisiani, you must be really strong to be pulling that really long bow of yours.

      If you are claiming intimidation and sabotage whilst the workers have been denied work or been on strike, then it must stand to reason the antidote is for them to actually be back at work. Allow them back to work whilst POA negotiate in good faith and the bullying, sabotage etc won’t occur.

      I have no doubt MUNZ will be informing their members not to do anything silly. Any worker than getting up to silliness is then able to be identified, a proper complaint laid against them, the matter can be investigated and the necessary corrective action applied.

      So having dealt with that matter, nothing to stop POA allowing their workers back in eh.


    • xtasy 1.6

      Fisiani: What about the constant “intimidation” that POA workers have suffered from the management, threatening them repeatedly with loss of jobs, of income, of decent living, and yes, a right to exist and survive?

      You come across unconvincing, because if such behaviour took place, it would be a matter for the police. So how many complaints were laid, taken seriously and pursued then?

      What you claim and write is full of mischief. The workers have now been treated like crap so many times, by a management, who has clearly only one goal, to break the worker’s representative (the union), to divide workers, to manipulate workers and the wider public, to disown workers, to cheat them and treat them with utter contempt.

      If there has been any bullying, sabotage, intimidation and more, it was committed by the board and management of POA, their newly created agencies offering scab labour, and the divisions that resulted are simply the mistrust and disapproval between legitimate POA workers (illegally threatened with redundancies) and newly hired workers, who would do anything, to abide by slave like conditions, thus also being a pawn in the game.

      So your self and who you represent, take this on board, shut your loud, wrong mouth and get real, please.

  2. grumpy 2

    Dunno how you an claim it to be “illegal”. It will need a court to determine that. MUNZ are seeking an injunction, so that should say one way or the other.

  3. Uturn 3

    “Brown can’t stand by and let these two loose units damage his city any longer.”

    Sure he can! One thing I learned by experience in my twenties was, never underestimate the stupidity of the NZ businessman – that includes politicians. The foreign national (some would call him “one of the elite”) I was working for at the time was flabbergasted, during his interaction with them, at their lack of ability to do anything but lose once their egos were pricked. One board of directors closed their large company down, rather than lose face.

    Brown will give up his Mayoralty if he thinks his overall postion, within his circles, remains unchanged. It’s mind boggling that they think people “below them” want to be just like them.

  4. Hippynz 4

    Unions do no good for anyone now days. Get rid of these bllies and employ people that want to work instead of bullies that just want to have aa holiday at the expense of the tax payer while calling it a strike.

    • thatguynz 4.1

      Wow just wow.  I’m far from being a unionist – never having been a member of one and all but…  I don’t believe every last bit of crap that I’m spoon-fed.  You seem to be truly living up to your name.

    • David H 4.2

      We have been through this before. But for the very slow, and totally one eyed RWNJ’s and their hangers on. and Fisiani. I will repeat it.

      With out Unions you would ALL be in work houses, getting paid fark all. The supposedly hated unions are responsible for a lot of evils aren’t they? So lets list a few.

      40hr week
      3 weeks holiday a year
      Bereavement leave
      Sick leave
      Smoko Breaks
      Lunch Breaks
      Fair wages and Conditions.
      It is a terrible list isn’t it Just look at all those nasty things that the Unions have fought for to make the workers lives easier.

      And what do the NACTS want to bring in?? or should I say bring BACK in.

      Slave rates for our young workers
      Slave rates for anyone who is not a Boss or better
      No job security (fire at will)
      the Bullshit 90 day trial period.
      There you go Fisiani or what ever handle you are using today. This is your lot, So stick with them, and when you loose your job. Don’t complain to a Union, remember you hate them so much.

  5. The “threat” of violence is being raised as a pretext.  If there was an actual concern it should have been raised with the Court and been the subject of directions.  The fact it was not suggests very strongly that POAL is looking for any pretext to continue this dispute.

    • What level of confidence do you have that there has been none – say, this year (aren’t there recorded cases from last year?)

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        Number of police prosecutions: nil.
        Number of videos of violence: nil
        Number of fantasy claims via WhaleOil: infinite.
        Even if there were isolated cases of violence, that does not make this lockout legal. But the fact is, there are none at all, except for the illegal bullying of it’s workers by the Port.
        By the way, I think it is utterly amazing that MUNZ have been so disciplined in the way they have run their picket line. It’s a tribute to how well organised they are.

      • mickysavage 5.1.2

        What skerret of proof do you have that there have been any?  Until someone, anyone, comes up with verifiable proof you are all wasting oxygen by continuing this discussion.

        • Pete George

          You’ve avoided answering the question.

          If POAL board members were filmed rocking cars of union members would you have any concerns?

          I don’t know if these are accurate reports claims or not…

          Mr Harrison was sacked on January 24 after an investigation concluded he made violent threats against a non-union employee and his family, calling the employee a “f**king piece of s**t”. Investigation by the Employment Relations Authority was delayed because of the industrial dispute.

          Mr Angus was reinstated while his case was heard by the Employment Relations Authority but was sacked a second time after he was caught on camera throwing a twist-lock under a straddle crane.

          Mr Lingard says a fifth union member, official delegate Dave Phillips, who was not employed by PoAL, was served a trespass notice in December after he entered the port’s mess-room and threatened non-union employees with violence.


          …but if they are they could be concerning to people wanting safety at work on the wharf.

          • mickysavage

            So if three behave inappropriately and 297 behave appropriately all 300 should be locked out?  Give me a break.
            Does this mean that because a member of the United Future Party is a loon they are all loons?

            • freedom

              Does this mean that because a member of the United Future Party is a loon they are all loons?
              (possibly a poor example?)

            • hawk

              So if there are comments on facebook…threatening violence. That are Anon like most comments on the internet theyou are suggesting the ports should trust that they could not come from any of the MUNZ members.

              Unless people I feel own up to the comments posted on facebook etc then they have no way of telling being able to tell if they are current workers or not. So to lessen the riskto current workers have locked out all potential people that have a likelyhood of making those comments.

              Easy to fix the comments made can be owned up to be the individuals that made them then they can be locked out while the others work.

            • Half Crown Millionare

              Does this mean that because a member of the United Future Party is a loon they are all loons?


            • David H

              But with only two loons you can’t really have a looney party. Just the Hair and his devout comb carrier.

          • McFlock

            Love the way you put in “I don’t know if these are accurate reports claims or not” as a disclaimer before quoting the tory press (doing what looks like yet another privacy violation by releasing private employment information) carte blanche. That way, if it turns out that any or all of the cases were beat-ups or outright lies you have deniability. Classy.

  6. KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 6

    It’s obvious to me the real reason for this dispute is ideological: TPTB in New Zealand, the government and POAL are hellbent to eliminate Union Power which power gives workers fair pay and conditions. It’s no coincidence this is happening under Shonkey’s watch and his RWNJ colleagues.

    The same outrageous behaviours have been aimed at Qantas workers in Australia to break their Union


    “Up, Up And Away: How Money Power Works Down Under”

    By John Pilger

    “It was an article of faith that the world’s only island-continent, flanked by the two greatest oceans, needed a long-haul airline – until the asset-strippers took control. What followed is a cautionary, universal tale. Last October, without warning, the Qantas Chief executive, Alan Joyce, ordered the grounding of the airline’s global fleet. More than 68,000 passengers were stranded in 22 countries, and the entire Qantas workforce was locked out without pay. Joyce later admitted that tickets had been “mistakenly” sold for flights that Qantas management would never take off; the grounding had been planned well in advance.
    This unprecedented action was the climax of a plan to crush the unions, Murdoch-style, and to take much of the company “off-shore” into Asia.”

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    We all know the end game here for PoAL is the destruction of the Union forever. When these rich white men sit around the board table they will be discussing one thing and how to achieve it. You can bet they have factored in 12 months of poor returns in their pursuit of their key objective.

    That is why this is the toughest war workers have had in decades. We are up against a boss that wants to destroy a democratic union and will do whatever it takes to get their including adopting illegal tactics and running the business into the ground.

    This is class war people. They have drawn the line. Time to pick a side and fight for democracy before these rich white men destroy it

    • KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 7.1

      Hi Enough is Enough
      You are 100% right.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      You can bet they have factored in 12 months of poor returns in their pursuit of their key objective.

      Nope, they’re just going for their key objective (the destruction of the unions and pauperising everybody else) and have no concerns about how much it’s costing Auckland.

  8. Te Reo Putake 8

    The POAL/MUNZ meeting has ended and POAL has decided to continue breaking the law by locking out its workers:

  9. Te Reo Putake 9

    Latest Press release from MUNZ:

    Auckland residents and businesses will be mortified to learn the Ports may only be functioning properly for a week before Ports management shut it down again.

    Ports management this morning told the Maritime Union that their intention is that none of the 292 wharfies covered by the collective agreement will have any work until next Friday March 30th at the earliest.

    The company has said they’ve asked their shift allocators to then ‘look out’ for shifts for the workers from next Friday onwards.

    The Port will then attempt to lock the workers out from April 6th.

    “Aucklanders should be angry that Ports management has no clear plan in place to get the Ports up and running as quickly as possible again,” Garry Parsloe said.

    “When the company put on ice their plan to dismiss its workforce and contract out the jobs, and agree to return to complete the negotiations, Ports workers were able to immediately end their strike action.”

    “The wharfies are ready to get this Port up and running again for Auckland. We need ships back in, and stock moved.”

    “The company are coming up with excuse after excuse about why they can’t get Auckland’s Port fully functioning again. The latest rosters debacle is another sideshow.”

    The Maritime Union has today filed an injunction to declare the lockout unlawful, Garry Parsloe said.

  10. burt 10

    Right… so we need to consider the impact on Auckland of shutting down the port operations…. But this wasn’t a concern when the unions were calling the strike becuase workers rights are mor important than increased freight costs to consumers…..

    FFS guys… you are making a rod for your own backs taking this tact, I hope you are comfortable with that rod when it gets used against you.

    • Blighty 10.1

      God you’re dumb, burt. there were posts here talking about the economic cost throughout the strikes.

      The strikes were the result of the Port management’s actions.

    • Uturn 10.2

      That is a good point, but if MUNZ starting telling Aucklanders that this dispute was the illustration of a Class War, not an issue of wages, hours and permanent work, most of them would fall asleep. He’s addressing those of the classes, that include the media; those “caring conservatives”; those who haven’t figured out how it is they are wealthy, but have figured out that if they behave in much the same way they always have, believe the same things they’ve been told to believe, stay in the social slot assigned to them, then the money keeps coming. From where the money comes… now there’s the rub!

      So you reckon, MUNZ, should just go to war on NZ?

      Do you think it would be a good move for MUNZ to publish research that cites “no stable long term work” as the most influencial driver of increasing poverty – and base their argument on that?

      Or attack the margin, investment, profit merry-go-round gospel the population has embraced, not by education, but almost by inhaling it from the air?

      Or even try what Eddie has done in his most recent post, open the can of worms about how the middle classes and above make their money – effectively exposing them as social parasites?

      Well, MUNZ could. They could take you advice. Maybe they just don’t want to be fighting a war on several fronts at once. What MUNZ are doing is using the… nah, it’s funnier to watch!

      The effect of the strike action was brutally rammed home to shoppers last night in the supermarket: the stock of Smiley Balls – children’s rubber kick balls – is unavailable till further notice. Won’t someone on the POAL board think of the children and end this senseless illegal action?

  11. Kevin 11

    @Pete George

    The examples of abuse you quoted wouldn’t be sufficient to close the Port due to health and safety concerns. For example calling someone a f..king piece of s…t would not present an immediate threat to Port operations.
    No one is being fooled by POAL’s antics, it is a cat and mouse game but increasingly POAL are looking foolish and amateurish.

    • David H 11.1

      And look at the foolish and amateurish supporters the POAL have on here.

      You know when you look at a class of school students goofing off. And you shake your head when you realise that these could be the next leaders of our country / industry.

      Well I give silent thanks that some of the goof offs I see in here, are NOT, or will ever be in charge of our country / Industry .

  12. Dr Terry 12

    Just whose “health and safety” is threatened? Surely that of union members and their families. The workers well-being is threatened by the rich employers, I would say! It appears to me, also, that the employers are repaying the court for what it, of course, regards as an “unfavourable” finding. Does this come close to contempt of court?

  13. chaz 13

    Your efforts to pretend there has been no threats of violence or safety issues are frankly laughable.

    There are current trespass notices in place against a MUNZ official because he encourged violence against non union workers – He won’t be back on the port for a couple of years – that’s a fact.

    There are MUNZ workers that have been walked off the port because they engaged in activities such as putting obstacles behind the vehicles of non union workers, that’s a fact as well.

    And this is a statement below made by a woman terrorised by the workers the last time they blocked the roads. I suppose this is all made up as well is it?

    One woman who works in the area, who did not want to be identified, said she was confronted by 20 to 30 men in dark hoodies when she arrived at the Solent St entrance at 6.15am.

    “After making me stop they demanded to know where I worked and when I told them I didn’t work for the ports and didn’t feel comfortable telling them were I worked and asked them to please move, I had them lean on my car call me a ‘stupid f**ing bitch’ telling me to ‘get a real job’ and pushing it backwards.”

    The woman said she was “extremely upset” by the incident and called police.

    “Feeling totally intimidated I started to move my car forwards and they threw themselves on it and shoved a road cone under my car.

    [lprent: And for some strange reason there is no link, no substantiation. How unexpected from a idiot troll. ]

    • Uturn 13.1

      All depends on your perspective really. The story could be headlined: “Woman discovers life is not so suburby-simple”.

      Most NZders are lucky that they never see how their lifestyle is paid for – they think money creates the trinkets they buy, like Santa at the north pole, but instead a paradisical place run by dollar bill Elves. They hand over the cash for the imported product, the cash turned up in their account by electronic magic, from the corporate they work at shuffling papers and pressing keyboard buttons – that’s all they see. Ain’t life simple? If she wasn’t living in NZ, there’s a good chance that she’d be lucky to be alive instead of just “extremely upset”.

      • chaz 13.1.1

        Wow, so when we are talking about violence what we really mean is that it is all just a matter of sematics. I understand your position completely now.

        Thanks for clearing that up.

        I’m terrifically grateful that no MUNZ workers have killed me, and I’ll be sure to pass that on.

        PS: I’d love to participate further in this, but my lunch hour is over, and sadly I have to get back to work.

        • McFlock

          I certainly am surprised that men in hoodies would use profane language.
          Since when do “road cones” = “murder”? Shit, besides the f-bomb, lying on someone’s car isn’t “violent”. They’re just lucky the driver wasn’t a jumped-up egotist who would have just run them over and possibly really killed them, like happened a couple of years ago.
          By the way, what was your source for that little anecdote? 

          • Chaz

            This is the article I got the material from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6559176/I-do-not-advocate-violence-Willie-Jackson-addresses-ports-comments

            It also points out that when Willie Jackson was calling on strikers to smash their placards on the cars of port workers, he meant that in a non-violent way.

            [lprent: I see that in your own link that Jackson didn’t advocate violence? I thought violence was against a person? Property damage doesn’t quite fall into the same level. I think that you are just a dumb troll. ]

            • Colonial Viper

              Right wingers always focus on physical violence. Because often that is all that labour can muster, not having the financial resources to muster the different forms of corporate violence a large organisation can use against people and their families.

              Right wingers always try and obscure that fact.

        • Jackal


          One woman who works in the area, who did not want to be identified, said she was confronted by 20 to 30 men in dark hoodies when she arrived at the Solent St entrance at 6.15am.

          LOL. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week.

    • Te Reo Putake 13.2

      Big deal, chump. As you yourself point out, that official has been trespassed and won’t be returning. So why can’t the workers go back?
      And why shouldn’t the scabs be packing themselves, anyway? They made a concious choice to attack their fellow workers and now they’re on the losing side. As the London piece says;

      “No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
      I’d suggest the Waitemata is a perfectly adequate pool of water for that purpose.

      • chaz 13.2.1

        The more you guys talk the less anyone else has to.
        The fact that you think this kind of sentiment is at all appropriate says it all.

        • Te Reo Putake

          C’est le vie, c’est la guerre.
          POAL will not be able to defend their illegal lockout on the basis of what an anonymous poster says on an unrelated blog, Pete. As you well know.

        • Tiger Mountain

          Hey chaz you turd on legs, it could be time to read the full text of Jack London’s “Ode to the scab” and learn something of how taking food from the table of families of the workers being deprived of their livelihoods is all about.

          • Chaz

            I don’t think Jack’s sentiments would have been so vehemently on the side of people earning (an audited by Ernest and Young) 91,000 per year somehow.

            • thatguynz

              And there’s the kicker.  Has the $91k figure not been roundly debunked previously?

              • lprent

                Yes. It is complete crap – including the E&Y ‘audit’ which is just a description from a idiot who has no idea that what it means when an accounting company audits accounts.

                chaz is just another idiot fuckwit troll who literally can’t discuss anything without a playbook next to him saying what to write next. Lets see what he says in comment 11 and ask ourselves who inserted the next pile of crap into his fingers.

                I’m getting rather tired and less tolerant of trolls again. Must be working a damn sight harder than they try to.

                • Chaz

                  I’m not sure what you mean by comment 11 lprent, but I thought you were all in favour of evidence.

                  The EY report is a published and attested document.

                  Do you have one of similar authority that debunks it, or is it just a matter of adding up hourly rates, ignoring allowances and penalty time, to arrive at a number that suits your argument?

                  Mark Cairns the CEO of Tauranga Port is on record stating that the contracted employees at Tauranga are earning at this level or higher.

                  It must be terrifically inconvenient to have all this out in the public arena, but i suppose if everything the ‘righties’ says is a lie, then you can just heap ridicule on it and describe that as ‘debunking’.

                  [lprent: If it is public – then where is your link? ]

                  • rosy

                    Try this from ‘Scoop’:

                    A number of commentators in the media, such as former National Party MP and Food and Grocery Council CEO Katherine Rich and prominent blogger David Farrar have uncritically repeated claims by the Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson that the average port worker is paid $91,000 a year. No detailed figures have been released to back this claim. In contrast the Maritime Union has released a fact sheet showing how much their members at the Ports of Auckland are paid. A Ports of Auckland worker is guaranteed $1090.40 for a 40 hour week, that is $56,700 per year. The union says earning $91,000 a year would be theoretically possible if one worked 1377 hours on top of a normal working year. This would be the equivalent of an extra 34 full working weeks on top of a full year of work. Workers at the Port are not paid penal rates for working overtime. Working these sorts of hours would mean almost never having a day off. This imaginary $91,000 figure also doesn’t take into account that overtime is not always offered because there are not always extra ships visiting the Port that need loading and unloading.

                    And this from the Herald about the PoT

                    “It makes it quite a dangerous place to work. I’m not saying the bosses are horrible but they are squeezing us. Because you are casual you are forced to take what shifts you can …”

                    This was usually in the form of “rolling shifts”, resulting in tired staff with a dangerous environment, the worker said.

                    Casual workers at the port make on average nearly $20 an hour before tax.

                    There’s plenty of stuff out there contradicting the Port management.

                    • Chaz

                      I’ve offered evidence Lprent, published eyewitness testimony which if untrue is defamatory of the union. I haven’t noticed any charges being laid for defamation have you? To apply your twisted logic then by defintion that makes it true doesn’t it?

                      Not to mention the threats made in this actual blog and the defence of violence on the grounds that it isn’t actually very bad violence.

                      Your crusade against people making allegations without evidence looks like nothing more than a device to reduce debate to the usual standard of dog-whistling that applies here.

                      Good luck with that.

                      The EY report by the way, whihc your posters claim not to exist is report on here:


                      [lprent: Back from a blog free weekend. But I can see that you’re running at the classic troll standard for stupidity when asked for evidence.

                      What you have referred to is not anything to do with a report by E&Y. It is a PR statement made by the Ports of Auckland that cherry picks a few unrelated numbers from a report by E&Y. Now I expect that you are too thick to understand how much of a difference that makes.

                      I and many others suspect that the figures here have some interesting criteria on them. For instance the total cost of having employees including such things as employer contributions to Kiwisaver, health insurance, and many other things that shouldn’t be part of such a calculation when looking at wage remuneration. If you look at the hourly rates and the number of hours that the PoA is asserting that wharfies work, then the is a substantial hole.

                      The port has so far proven to be unwilling to release any of the information about how this is calculated, including any reports done on their numbers. In fact I’d say that they are somewhat scared of doing so.

                      But basically you’re trying to pass off warmed over discredited propaganda from the PR wing of the port as being a report by auditors. That is really dumb. Banned for 2 weeks for being unable to backup your assertions. ]

                    • McFlock

                      “testimony” involves named witnesses referring to specific incidents that have enough information for others to refute or support it. You linked to rumour and innuendo.
                      And you didn’t link to the EY report, you linked to PoAL highlights of what they claim was in the report, selectively quoted out of context.

                  • thatguynz

                    Quite frankly I’m less concerned about the so-called left/right paradigm than I am about hearing the facts.  Left and right are just nice convenient labels that some may use to determine whether they deem other peoples opinions as worth listening to or not.
                    There were a number of comments here a couple of weeks ago that IIRC debunked the “audited” $91k figures.  To substantiate my previous comment further, you may want to look at those and draw your own conclusions as to whether the $91k average is accurate or not.

                    • “To substantiate my previous comment further, you may want to look at those and draw your own conclusions as to whether the $91k average is accurate or not.”

                      So let’s assume, for a moment, “thatguynz”, that the $91,000 is accurate and the figures haven’t been inflated (as I suspect they have).

                      Let’s assume that the Port workers earn fantastic sums.

                      So what?

                      Considering the the CEO is being paid three quarters of a million dollars pa, (plus perks?) do you begrudge him that?

                      Considering that POAL Board members appear to be paid, on average*; $70,833 each, for part-time work of a few hours each week; the sum of $91,000 doesn’t appear to be out-of-line with other “remunerations” paid by that company.

                      So it is unclear to me why some right wing groupies are fixated on what port workers earn. “Envy Politics”, maybe?

                      Indeed, the high wages would seem to be fulfilling Dear Leader’s pledge in ’08 and ’11 to lift wages to parity with Australia;

                      “We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.” – John Key, Prime Minister, 29 January 2008

                      “The driving goal of my Government is to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy with less debt, more jobs and higher incomes.” – John Key, Prime Minister, 21 December 2011

                      In which case, MUNZ is carrying out National Party policy.

                      Conversely, POAL appears to be doing the opposite.

                      * http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/a-fistful-of-dollars-for-some/

                    • thatguynz

                      Couldn’t agree more Frank – I’ve done my research and I know which side I believe and why.  What I was suggesting was directed to Chaz – that he might like to do the same and draw his own conclusions…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The EY report is a published and attested document.

                    A report commissioned and paid for by the Board of the POAL.

                    • Colonial, I’ve sent several requests to POAL requesting a full copy of the Ernst & Young report – not just the public precis. I want to see HOW E & Y calculated their sums and arrived at certain figures.

                      Because E & Y’s report appears to totally conflict with POAL’s own stated figures of port worker’s wages. http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/20120124_POALFactSheet_ErnstandYoung.pdf

                      So so I’ve recieved nothing – not even a “No Can Do”.

                      I have the stronbgest suspicion that the full E & Y report would show calculations that would discredit their case.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      FM – why am I not surprised that they do not want to release the actual report. Good work mate.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Mark Cairns the CEO of Tauranga Port is on record stating that the contracted employees at Tauranga are earning at this level or higher.

                    From memory, he said something along the lines that many of the better contractors earned more than the average stated in the EY report. Which isn’t actually saying much when you think about ‘many’ (which doesn’t mean ‘most’, let alone ‘all’) and ‘average’.

                    But if my memory of what he said is correct, then your statement I’ve quoted could be made technically accurate, if misleading, by changing the bolded word to ‘some’, or better yet, just deleting it.

                  • Frank Macskasy

                    Chaz, in your 24 March 2012 at 2:01 pm post, you state,

                    The EY report by the way, whihc your posters claim not to exist is report on here:


                    We are all aware of that report. Nothing new there.

                    What I (and others) are seeking is the full breakdown of how Ernst and Young arrived at their figures.

                    Because quite simply, the figure of $91k doesn’t gel with the hourly rate pf $27.26. (Grab a calculator and try it yourself.)

                    I have requested the full report and means of how E&Y arrived at their $91k conclusion, not just their precis. Because Para #10 on the precis indicates to me that E&Y may have included costings that are not normally considered as a worker’s pay.

                    Hence, “remuneration” may not be the same as “pay” if employers’ costs are included.

                    That would be the same as suggesting that Oceania rest home workers are given a remuneration of $20.00/hr instead of their actual pay of $13.61/hr.

                    I have requested the full breakdown from POAL, to no effect.

                    Considering they’ve been only too happy to release data to right wing blogs, I can only assume that their reluctance to release the information I’ve requested can only be because it does not serve their purpose.

                    (By the way, the POAL employee, Catherine Etheredge, no longer works for that company. Instead, I have been dealing with Wayne Thompson, POAL’s Chief Financial Officer.)

                    • Frank Macskasy

                      Further to above, I’ve emailed Wayne Thompson again;

                      Date: Sunday, 25 March, 2012 11:24 AM
                      From: “Frank Macskasy”
                      To: “Wayne Thompson”

                      Kia Ora, Wayne,

                      Thank you for getting back to me.

                      I have seen the precis of the E&Y report on alleged port workers’ “remuneration”.

                      What I am seeking is E&Y’s full analysis as to how they calculated port workers’ “remuneration”. The precise which is publicly available, and which you sent me, is not not clear in how E&Y made their determinations.

                      I await your response on this issue,


            • fender

              There’s many people earning more than that, start your war of wage envy with the highest paid why don’t you.

          • David H

            And just in case you don’t know how to click a link, Chaz here’s the text.

            The following written by Jack London in 1915.

            Ode To A Scab

            After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

            When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab hasn’t.

            Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children, and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust, or corporation.

            Still fitting words 97 years later.

            And this I found as well

            ODE TO A BART SCAB by anonymous

            You snake, you rat, you festering scab
            Your spine is weak, your personality drab
            Your morality is nil, your ethics none
            We stood for all, you crossed for one.

            You don’t believe in the strike you say ‘
            But smugly accept your new found pay
            Plus the check you made, the one we lack
            Your blood money for stabbing us in the back.

            Now in the halls, we hear you whine
            Hoping all will be forgiven soon in time
            But our resentment likely will last for years
            You profited from our blood, sweat and tears.

            You sat on your butts, ate like swine
            Have no qualms about crossing the line
            There will be no forgiving, we’re pals no more
            You crossed the line, now we’ve shut the door.

            And if you think management is your friend
            Judas, I advise you to think again
            You’ll struggle, you plead until you’re dead
            But not in this job will you get ahead.

            Because bosses are dense, but they’re not blind
            And they don’t want the odor of your kind
            Lingering on in their one-way cabs
            That malodorous stench of the BART strike scabs.

      • Pete George 13.2.2

        That suggestion may render worthless all the claims of indignation here that there’s no problem with intimidation or threat.

        Maybe Te Reo Putake could confirm if he/she is not one of those out the remaining of the 293 port workers, or affiliated to any union involved in the dispute.

        [lprent: Or maybe not. Requests for others to break privacy tend to draw my attention with what is effectively an open-ended question.

        They degenerate so fast into demands, and then into my having to exert myself banning people. I often abort the entire process by simply pre-emptively banning anyone requesting such information before it escalates into too much work for me and the moderators.

        In other words you can’t ask that without moderator involvement. You can ask someone how they know something if they assert it but not framed as “you must be” (as you have done). I will if requested state if a person is (in my opinion) likely to be who they are claiming to be. ]

        • tsmithfield

          However, IF those sentiments expressed by TRP are typical of those held by the wharfies, THEN I can well understand why the POAL is locking them out, legal or not.

          • Te Reo Putake

            Really, TS? Really? I can assure you the sentiment is widely held in the entire union movement, worldwide. But the question is not about the sentiment itself, but about whether MUNZ members are going to act on the sentiment. So far, there is no evidence that they have or will.
            Nice to see you backing law breaking though. Typical Tory, use the law when it suits, break the law when it doesn’t.

            • tsmithfield

              If I thought that the safety of my workers was being threatened by others that I could exclude from my workplace, I would do that and then worry about the legalities of it later. For me, the safety of my workers is more important than legalese.

              Let me ask you: How likely do you think it is that people holding those sentiments will be able to completely divorce them from their behaviour towards those whom you refer to as “scabs”?

              • Te Reo Putake

                They have, so far, TS. And wouldn’t the easiest solution to the safety ‘problem’ be to send the 50 or 60 scabs home on pay and let the real workers work?

                • Do you mean just in case those sentiments are more than just sentiments?

                  And what about the workers you think should be on the wharf – there’s total unity and trust amongst all them? What if some have different sentiments to others?

                  • Pete, the illegal lockout contravenes Employment Relations Act 2000, section 97.

                    That is the same law which forced Wellington port workers back to work, after mounting an unlawful strike.

                    The question begs to be asked; how can POAL get away with breaking the law, whilst workers have to abide by it?

                    The relevant law and section can a be sussed here; http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM58317.html

                    • If the law requires it then it should happen. But does the law require an instant re-rostering to a full complement of staff the same day the union decided to stop a strike?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      PG no but a visible plan to get to a full roster should be easy.

                    • toby

                      How is it that the law has been broken with this lockout? Specifically I mean.

                    • McFlock

                      Seriously, Toby?

                    • toby

                      Yes, McFlock. Seriously. In all the blogs and social media I’ve read, not one has managed to provide a legitimate reason why the lock-out is illegal. The ones that attempt to, like the blog entry here, claim that two weeks notice was not given. That is simply untrue and you would know this if you had read the actual notice. It gives 2 weeks notice and states that the lockout starts from 12:01am on 6 April 2012. So, not illegal on that count. Does anybody else have a reason why the lockout is illegal?

                      BTW, the link to the notice is here:

                    • McFlock

                      Read the post again.
                      The illegal lockout is where the employer is refusing to engage the workers right now. Even if you disagree with James’ interpretation, the subject of his argument is pretty obvious. Are you that dim?

                    • toby

                      There’s no need for name calling just because I disagree with you, McFlock. Are you getting a bit angry?
                      The port isn’t ‘refusing to engage the workers’ at all. To say it is, is a gross mischaracterisation. They simply don’t have the work or the roster for the union staff. I don’t know about the Ports, but I get my roster something like two weeks in advance. The Port would have done their roster in advance. Do you really expect the Port to be able to cater for the union staff when the strike action has reduced the number ships visiting and hence there is no work for the extra staff? Do you really think that the Port ought to come up with a new roster immediately which allows the union staff to recommence work instantly, unloading non-existent ships? Come on, be honest with yourself. Think about what would happen if the Port pulled a new roster out of thin air where the union staff show up and do nothing: reality is that they would spend their time heckling and intimidating non-union staff. Hell, Pete George summed it up succinctly but you don’t seem to have taken any notice, so I’ll quote him again:
                      “does the law require an instant re-rostering to a full complement of staff the same day the union decided to stop a strike?”
                      Besides which, a key factor here is that in a real lockout the affected employees don’t get paid. In this case, most likely the union staff who don’t have a roster will get paid up until the lockout tales effect, hence there is no lockout currently in effect.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thanks for being an obstructionist management shill Toby.

                      I’m looking forwards to Gibson getting his highly paid ass fired.

                    • McFlock

                      O, okay – so when you were asking about what was illegal about the lockout and talked about the poal notice of a lockout starting on April 6, you actually knew that the “lockout” being referred to in the post is the current state of non-work.
                      I don’t particularly wish to rehash the issues around the current state of “lockout” (or not, for the tory apologists out there) because it’s been throrughly discussed in both the post and the comments. I merely wanted to know whether you were really that dim,  or merely being intentionally obtuse. Obviously it’s the latter.
                      As to your plaintive whining about how hard it is to write a roster, that is neither mine nor MUNZ’s problem. PoAL have an agreement to provide employees who are union members with work. If they hired someone else to do that work as well, that’s nobody’s problem or fault but PoAL management.

                    • toby

                      Gee, McFlock, you are a bit nasty aren’t you?
                      I got the answer to my question – that answer being that there is no illegal lockout and your posts have helped clarify that. So, thanks. BTW, the employer doesn’t have to provide them with work – it just has to pay them. POAL is within their rights to do that. It’s worth noting, also, that it’s not illegal until a judge declares it to be so.
                      @ Colonial Viper: management shill? Very funny, but not true.

                    • McFlock

                      Was I being overly nasty? I was merely trying to establish whether your misunderstanding of the subject of the post was intentional or inadvertant. You claim it to be the former. So really, you are simply complaining that someone was a bit terse when you came to waste people’s time. Imagine that.

                      it’s not illegal until a judge declares it to be so.

                      Not quite. Otherwise trials would have to be held before the offense.
                      As for the nuances of what constitutes a “lockout”, I suggest you actually read the post.

                • tsmithfield

                  “They have, so far, TS.”

                  Well I have seen a few specific examples cited above that would seem to contradict you on that point.

                  “And wouldn’t the easiest solution to the safety ‘problem’ be to send the 50 or 60 scabs home on pay and let the real workers work?”

                  I have seen no evidence that they hold the nasty, vicious sentiments you seem to think union members generally hold. As you said: “I can assure you the sentiment is widely held in the entire union movement, worldwide.”

                  So why should they go?

              • McFlock

                 How likely do you think it is that people holding those sentiments will be able to completely divorce them from their behaviour towards those whom you refer to as “scabs”?

                Bullshit. Show me in employment law where employees have to pretend to like each other.

                Is there a real threat? If yes, suspend the individuals involved while the matter is referred to the police. If no, it’s a bullshit excuse from someone who wants shills like you to defend apparent breaches of employment law. 
                I guess either way, it’s going to court. 

          • Tiger Mountain

            This dispute is not the place to be faux precious and disingenuous tory laddie (TS).

        • Pete George

          I wasn’t asking for an identity, I was asking if they were one of the port workers or associated with any of the unions involved. No name necessary, and no broken privacy, but it would clarify if it was some random mouthing off or a view from within the dispute. Isn’t that relevant to the discussion?

          [lprent: Nope. It is only relevant to the discussion if they choose to share it or choose to rely on their experience.

          In every other case I view it as fishing for their in real world identity using the 50 questions technique. I treat whoever is doing it as trying to violate our privacy policy. ]

          • Pete George

            I have no wish to know the identity of Te Reo Putake. It’s sufficient to know that…

            And why shouldn’t the scabs be packing themselves, anyway? They made a concious choice to attack their fellow workers and now they’re on the losing side. As the London piece says;

            “No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.

            I’d suggest the Waitemata is a perfectly adequate pool of water for that purpose.


            I can assure you the sentiment is widely held in the entire union movement, worldwide.

            But the question is not about the sentiment itself, but about whether MUNZ members are going to act on the sentiment. So far, there is no evidence that they have or will.

            Len Brown has been called a scab, but no worries if he pops down to the wharf to see if he can help sort things out, unless he has proof he has been chucked in the harbour he needn’t worry about mere widely held ‘sentiments’.

            And no worries working alongside such sentiments. Just idle chat on the wharf I guess.

            An illuminating insight into old union thinking.

            • Colonial Viper

              Its Old Tory thinking which has been driving the POAL into losing money last few weeks.

            • Te Reo Putake

              I disagree with Brown being called a scab, Pete. He’s a flea.
              And, rest assured, I’m always happy to illuminate your otherwise drab world. But you are wrong to think of it as ‘old thinking’. It remains as true today as it did two hundred years ago when the class war started in industrialised Europe. While there are two classes in this world, there will always be a need for unions, whatever righties like yourself might wish.
              And as for you not wishing to know my identity, I think, actually, that you’ve been obsessed with finding out ever since I set you up on that Dunedin TV show, you poor sap.

              • Colonial Viper

                Oh do tell what happened?????

                • Te Reo Putake

                  You might recall Petey boy admitted he was most likely going to vote Tory in Dunners North, instead of for himself as UF’s candidate, in a bid to stop the Labour candidate getting up. And he also refused to say whether he would even party vote UF. At the same time he let slip that he was going to be on the local access TV station that night talking about his refreshingly vague campaign.
                  So I rang the producer and suggested they ask Pete if he was going to vote for himself. About two minutes in, they did. The look on his face was priceless! He blinked and blustered, fluffed and bluffed, said it was just bloggy banter and he’d make up his mind on the day or some such waffle and then namechecked The Voice of Reason as the villain who dobbed him in. Laugh? I nearly wet myself!
                  End result? UF’s electorate and party vote both dropped on election day. Yes, that’s right, Pete, I’m claiming credit for making you fail as a candidate. Got any proof that’s not the case?

                  • McFlock

                    Sadly, as proof that you are not the only reason pg received trace-element support as a candidate, I must reluctantly present Pete G himself. 🙂


                  • Your first statement is incorrect for a start.

                    Re Channel 9, there was plenty of laughter in the studio over that. Did you really think that was a hit? A different sort of hit to what you seem to think.

                    And no, you’re wrong about my interest in your identity, I don’t care. I’ve done nothing to try and find out/

                    You’re really getting a bit lashy aren’t you? Fairly typical attempted diversion from your ballsup here. “The Voice of Reason” was a typically hypocritical pseudonym.

                    Whale sometimes calls Labour “the nasty party” – I don’t agree, not all of it. David Shearer seems very nice. I’ve heard first hand that David Clark was very nice on a visit to a Dunedin training organisation today.

                    And I’m sure not all in union faction are nasty, but some can’t help themselves, obviously. Carry on proving a point.

                    [lprent: I prefer to be nasty. It sure beats being a hypocrite like yourself and Whale.

                    Ummm I’m sure you had a point.. somewhere.. outside of the moronic superficial drivel that you specialize in.. Perhaps you should simply look at why you provoke such a response from others.

                    But I can see why you avoid other peoples opinions about you if my reactions are what you usually get (you realize I had complaints from dimpost readers trying to tell me I should lift your last ban?) ]

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Crikey, Pete! I knew it hurt, but to hold on to it like that isn’t healthy. I can certainly understand the laughter in the studio, the young folk running the joint must have thought you were a hoot. Did you try and act hip? You did, didn’t you! When the interviewer asked if you were going to vote for yourself you looked like a possum in the headlights. Two moons, Pete. Two moons! Still it’s good to know you’ve done nothing to try and find out my identity, because a mere mortal might think that’s exactly what you did up thread.
                      I thought I was being diplomatic in my first statement, by the way. You said you’d be voting for the party most likely to beat the Labour candidate. That’s National, obviously.
                      What were the numbers again, Pete? How much did you cost UF?

                    • Diverting to something silly you did six months ago won’t hide something sillier you’ve done today.

                      If I doubled the UF vote it wouldn’t have made any difference, you’re scraping the barrel a bit. The party vote % in Dn Nth was just over the national %.

                      “You said you’d be voting for the party most likely to beat the Labour candidate.”

                      No I didn’t, making things up won’t help. I said I didn’t usually make up my mind who to vote for until election day.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Nope, you didn’t just say that you wouldn’t make up your mind till the day, which is funny enough in itself, given that you were UF’s candidate, but you also said you would probably would be voting National. The latter was prior to your announcement as UF’s candidate, as I recall, but it doesn’t make it any less real.
                      Anyhoo, (as they say down your way) I’m off to the pub. It’s been fun reminiscing. Good times, good times!

                    • lprent – If I wanted to avoid other people’s opinions would I come here? I happen to provoke opinions, which often says more about those making them.

                      I do find the nasty approach strange. (Is that why Shearer isn’t well supported here? Not nasty enough?)

                      Almost incomprehensible. Physical violence, verbal violence, blog violence. Trying to hurt others, trying to knock them down, just because they are labelled different. Maybe we just aren’t as civilised a race as we sometimes like to think.

                    • lprent []

                      Read the policy which was put up about a couple of months after the site opened in 2007 and has minor revisions since. You’ll find that we want robust debate. It means discussion and tearing apart others ideas and motivations. You can describe that as being ‘nasty’. I don’t.

                      Similarly Whale can describe the Labour party as being ‘nasty’. I just think he is looking at a mirror. The whole purpose of a opposition party is to examine a government’s performance in exhaustive detail. It involves robust discussion, and tearing apart others ideas and motivations (now where have I seen that before?).

                      But since neither of you has earned my respect from your ideas then I really don’t give a shit, and neither will many around here in inside Labour or the Greens or even through the business communities that I work in. Since you probably can’t code then you don’t earn much kudos from your professional skills either. But I have a very limited view of what is important in skill sets – coding is hard. The rest of my skills like (to name a few) management, sciences, running factories, running computer systems, or running this site are child’s play by comparison..

                      I have a grudging respect for your action in fronting up in an election campaign. It tends to speak more highly of you than Whales’ inventive but largely futile imagination (ie an ability to lie) does of him. But I’d have to say that I’ve seen more useful and implementable ideas out of 18 year old’s than I have seen from either of you. And they don’t tend to offer up futile excuses like ‘nasty’ to excuse their inept performances. They’re more interested in living.

                      But that’s ok. I like being ‘nasty’. Please give me more excuses…

                    • McFlock

                      Pete, even if “race” were a coherent and valid sociological concept, nobody would ever admit to being in one with you. So your use of the nominative plural of “I” would be delusional.

            • ak

              Nothing “old” nor “union” about it Pete. Simply basic human nature that no amount of moneyed spin can ever eliminate or change.

              When an individual has put his or her hand out and accepted for years the wages and benefits that have been hard-won on the backs of of his or her colleagues over many decades, then suddenly and viciously stabs them in the back for monetry gain, it elicits resentment. Quite rightly, naturally, and inevitably.

              Quite a wee bit of resentment actually: because such betrayal is a direct attack on the very hand that has fed: the ultimate heinous obscenity. More treasonous and foul than simple theft, a gross act of greedy selfishness, effectively stealing from the plates of the children of those who have sacrificed and fought for all. The ultimate Judas act: SCAB is actually far too kind a word.

              Similarly, any individual of eminently mediocre talent who is nothing but hair until elevated from the same struggle to represent workers and underdogs, and who then betrays them by joining the opposite political party, is as worthy of any consideration at all, as suppurating pus. And those who support him, far, far less.

              Have a nice day.

              • Rob

                awesome show folks , the anonymous trying to out the anonymous. What a bunch of legends and hard arses.

                [lprent: I’m waiting ]

          • Frank Macskasy

            “And what about the workers you think should be on the wharf – there’s total unity and trust amongst all them? What if some have different sentiments to others?”

            Pete, that’s an old red herring…

            The collective contract is between POAL and MUNZ, on behalf of their members. Anyone not a member of MUNZ and not covered by the collective is a separate issue.

            Much like a professional body (eg lawyers) with protocols that cover their members. Even if they don’t have “complete unity and trust”)

            And pray tell, why should workers have complete “unity and trust” when even political parties don’t always have it. United Future’s own history might serve as an example, I think.

  14. Windy City 14

    Hippy N.Z???? How old are you/
    If there were more unions N.Z. would be so much beter off?
    Look at ozzy? You an narrow minded person!
    Good on those guys down there.

  15. Hami Shearlie 15

    Pearson claimed in the Saturday herald that he was being paid $200,000 p.a.for a two day working week because he was being paid for his experience! So why doesn’t he think the port workers should be paid well for THEIR experience? Hypocrisy!

    • Maybe he does think that – experience relative to similar types of jobs. Isn’t he suggesting that Tauranga is a good model to copy? Most of the port workers there even own shares in the company.

      • .

        Most of the port workers there even own shares in the company


        You infer that losing conditions and full time job can be justified with shares? What if workers don’t want shares, and want the continuance of their wages and conditions?

        • rosy

          I’m extremely interested to know which workers own shares in the in the PoT. How many wharfies are permanent staff? If any, do they own shares. How many wharfies are contractors, do they own shares?

          Unless you can definitively say all wharfies are able to have shares in the company this information is totally meaningless in terms of supporting the employment model at the PoT. If, OTOH the wharfies are contractors and thereby excluded from options to buy shares in the company it supports the MUNZ view that contractors have poorer remuneration conditions than permanent staff.

  16. Jenny 16

    The Ports of Auckland workforce are being illegally kept from their work place by the Ports of Auckland.

    If these workers can not return to work when they are fully legally entitled to be there, when in fact of law they are actually legally required to be there.

    Then they will never get their jobs back. (Legally)

    What ever happened to the rule of law?

    What ever happened to the conservative right wing war cry “One law for all”?

    The government, the courts, the EMA and council may regret allowing this precedent to be set.

    He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.

  17. Jenny 17

    This must be very worrying for all employers who rely on the courts for industrial peace.

    If Richard Pearson for the Ports of Auckland can openly spit in the face of the judge Travis of the Employment Court, what’s to stop unionists also ignoring the directives of the Employment Court?

    If unionists behaved like this, no matter what else was going on in the world, there would be thundering denunciations on the floor of parliament and in the media.

    Yet the parliamentarians of left and right are silent.

    And the best the Herald could come up with, was a very mild reprimand in their editorial column.

    The company should rescind the lock-out notice and concentrate on less aggressive means of achieving its ends.

    NZ Herald Editorial: Provocation move wrong route for port

    P.S. Check out the comments section; Unusually for Herald commenters, overwhelming condemnation of the Ports of Auckland’s action. Is this an expression of worry about the new direction for industrial disputes? By the normally conservative readers and commenters to The Herald.

  18. james 111 18

    Here is the link for Chazs comment, and even Willie Jackson said they would lose the support of aucklanders if they carried on like this. It appears they have trouble controlling these guys. No point picking on Chaz or me for telling it like it is.


    • James111 – funny ole world isn;’t it, when you demand angelic purity from the workers – whose jobs are under threat – and yet POAL management and their “little helpers” run rampant, including ; bad faith “bargaining”; wasting company money; illegality; etc.

      But all you’re focused on is when workers and other people react with anger at blatant injustices.

      Rememeber the reaction of certain people against “them uppity blacks” when they were rude enough to sit UP FRONT in the buses?! That broke the law. Yes, indeed, those Blacks broke the law…

      So whose side was justice on?

      History has passed judgement and those laws were judged to be bad laws. History will judge this moment as well, and my belief is that the workers will be seen as struggling for what was right and fair.

      Which puts you, James111, and others in your camp, fair and square on the wrong side of history.

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        What I find fascinating is that police said they’d received one complaint, the port said the police were investigating several complaints, the reporter couldn’t contact the CTU for comment (wtf? Isn’t it MUNZ involved with the pickets, anyway? Couldn’t the reporter have, oh, walked down to the fucking picket line?) but they still got oodles of comments from the port and an unnamed female complainant – unclear as to whether she is a port employee.
        No arrests, no charges.
        Is that a faint whiff of bullshit in the air?

        • Jackal

          It’s an interesting question Frank Mackasy raises… when is it appropriate to use force to ensure justice is done and how much persecution should be allowed to take place before more drastic measures are undertaken?

          Perhaps Pete George, james 111 and chaz etc should put themselves in the workers shoes before trying to answer that question.

          • McFlock

            I agree.
            But the local tory lickspittles seem intent on framing the debate around union violence before things have reached that point. Give ’em a “vilence might be theoretically legitimised insome circumstances” and they’ll take “gangs of union hoodies are out molesting women every night”.

          • Chaz

            I do put myself in workers shoes jackal.

            This strike was originally called on the basis, so-called, that munz wanted to get rid of 4 non-union positions at the port.(This is pretty much illegal under the legislation by the way, people don’t have to belong to a union)

            At the time the management offered to roll over the existing agreement, with a 2.5% wage rise, and an undertaking that the union and management would work together to pursue productivity gains.
            This was rejected by the union on grounds of principle – non union workers must go (four of them). It is not even clear if this offer was put to members for a vote (none of which are secret votes BTW because any hint that workers might be intimated is just plain insulting.)

            Since then there has been months of stoppages and weeks of striking with a huge cost to the economy and to the port business, while the union tried to enforce this demand.

            Since then also, dozens of people have left the union and crossed the picket. So the idea of trying to grab 4 jobs has pretty radically backfired.

            The contracting out is the last of many offers made by the company and came at the end of that whole business.

            It seems pretty clear that the port is not prepared to go through this disruptive process every couple of years, and they want to contract it out to make it someone else’s problem. Who can blame them?

            In my opinion the workers have been severely let down by their union, who have played a game of brinksmanship with the management by continually escalating and raising the ante until they reached the point where they played their members right out of their jobs.

            To put it bluntly, they have been engaged in a pissing contest, which was motivated in my opinion, by a desire to show the new port management who was really in charge at the waterfront.

            Well they sure showed ’em didn’t they? And in the aftermath the union bosses will keep their jobs while the workers line up for redundancy, a brief period of full pockets, and then the dole queue, or emigration of australia, where some of them by all accounts have already gone.

            • McFlock

              So that’s what happens when you wear blue-tinted welding goggles, is it?
              Funnily enough, most employers, even of MUNZ members, manage to renegotiate collective agreements without it being too much of a “disruptive process”. And calling it a “pissing contest” implies that the other party is also engaged in urination, so even under your scenario it’s not a case of evil MUNZ shafting its members (I figure you’d appreciate the freudian imagery).

        • lprent

          That is my conclusion based on the sheer lack of substantiation. Looks to me like a PR exercise designed for talkback…

  19. Jenny 19

    Police have told the wharfies that they will arrest anyone who blocks any trucks going into the wharf.

    Police have not said that they will arrest anyone who blocks any wharfie from legally going into his job.

    Are the police aiding an affray by refusing to arrest anyone who blocks the wharfies legally going into their job?

    Are decades of industrial law, court rulings and the social contract they are based on, to be trashed, replaced with a naked show of state ordered bias on the whim of an employer who has decided to defy the courts?

    If the police refuse to honour their oath of office to uphold the law in an unbiased way, who will be responsible for any resulting industrial chaos and breakdown of the rule of law?

    Meet the new lord of industrial chaos! Ronald McPortsofAuckland

    • Grumpy 19.1

      Jenny, that is the shit fight you guys have got yourselves into…….

    • Rob 19.2

      Well thats great Jenny, lets make sure the goods get delivered.

      [lprent: I’m waiting ]

    • Colonial Viper 19.3

      The police always support the port owners and the farmer-exporters, not the port workers. NZ history very clearly demonstrates that time and again.

  20. Craig Glen Eden 20

    The Union should be requesting Police support to enter the work place, I agree Jenny. Lets see them up hold the Law.

  21. North 21

    Righties don’t worry about being on the wrong side of the law and on the wrong side of a palpable morality.

    Why ? Because they’re essentially selfish, tunnel visioned people, notwithstanding the intelligence I’m not prepared to say many of them don’t have. Their selfishness overrides their decency.

    J.K. Galbraith: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    Fisiani, Grumpy, Pete George et al are more and more flaky in their stubborn apologism for selfishness. And when their backs are to the wall they’re more and more hootingly superior. Poor buggers !

  22. rosy 22

    I just want to know if Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and PoA CEO Tony Gibson are the same person. Has anyone seen them in the same room? They sure spout the same words.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      That’s from the Neoliberal Bastard Bosses Bible they all seem to get free copies of at MBA school.

  23. Doug 23

    It’s happening in Australia too.


    ASCIANO has escalated its long-running dispute with 1200 wharfies at ports around Australia, calling on the federal government to step in to ensure a resolution.

  24. KATY 24

    The ITWF are giving their international support to MUNZ.


    This is going to increase


    And will cause more problems that are going to spiral way out of control causing government intervention in the future unless it’s sorted. At the moment our government remains tight-lipped, they surly know their is a possibilty of problems arising and would have made up some form of action plan that would make some money for them and their mates.


    So why the refusal to tell us about any information that they have is Brownlee waiting for an opportunity to step in and take control as happened during the world cup?

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