Ports of Auckland management may be starting to realise that they have bitten off more than they can chew. This is an encouraging development:
Port’s redundancy plans halted
LATEST: Ports of Auckland has halted plans to make nearly 300 striking workers redundant and to employ other workers to do their jobs.
In a minute issued by the Employment Court last night, the port agreed not to proceed with its plans until after a settlement conference takes place on Monday. The port will ”take no further steps” to make striking workers redundant, to dismiss staff or employ other workers to do their jobs.
The Maritime Union and the port will now file their evidence to the court and a hearing will take place on March 26.
Judge Barry Travis commended the ports for “agreeing to the voluntary process”.
An outbreak of sanity among the directors? Or maybe this had something to do with it:
International union organisation issues “red alert” about ports dispute
March 14, 2012
News release from International Trade Union Confederation
The powerful group of global unions – which between them represent tens of millions of unionised workers – today said they are now on ‘red alert’ over the treatment of workers in New Zealand that is being dramatically illustrated by disputes at the Ports of Auckland, Affco and the Oceania care company.
The warning was sounded today by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Union of Foodworkers (IUF), Public Services International (PSI), and the Council of Global Unions.
They demanded an end to the union-busting measures that New Zealand’s workers have endured over recent months, and highlighted the amended Employment Relations Act 2000, which has reduced workers’ rights and encouraged poor employers to attempt to crush worker and union resistance. (The statement appears in full below).
The ITF has mobilised its 690 member trade unions – which include 221 dockworker unions with 400,000 docker members worldwide – in support of the workers who the Port of Auckland is trying to throw out of their jobs. Paddy Crumlin, who chairs the ITF dockers’ section and is ITF president and MUA national secretary, explained:
“What’s happening in Auckland is a naked attack on the workers and their union, the MUNZ, and it’s creating worldwide repercussions. Messages of solidarity from ITF members have flooded in, and those same unions are contacting New Zealand embassies in their own countries. The ITF has today been told by the country’s High Commission in London that it ‘would not be appropriate’ to meet to discuss how a settlement in POAL can be reached – a sad abrogation of responsibility that shows how the government in Wellington is hoping that this attack on workers can be covered up and tidied away.”
ITF general secretary David Cockroft stated: “I am glad to report that the ITF’s worldwide force of ship inspectors are right now visiting vessels and explaining to their officers and crews what is being attempted by POAL’s management. We have also ensured that it is at the forefront of the minds of the shipping community, who value good and efficient port relations. …
Looks like the world is now watching the Auckland Port. Management have to start acting in “good faith” whether they like it or not. Let’s hope the cessation of the redundancy process is the start of a genuinely constructive solution. And let’s hear it for international solidarity!