Support MUNZ workers in port dispute

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, February 24th, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: activism, jobs, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

This was sent to us by a reader (not by Garry Parsloe or MUNZ).

Thank you

Thank you for showing your support for the MUNZ workers in the Ports of Auckland dispute.

The Maritime Union appreciates the community support so far. While we continue to push for a settlement of the dispute via collective bargaining we are seeing no movement from the Port Company except to progress the contracting out process. As a result we have no choice but to fight for maintaining some security of employment and against the contracting out of our jobs. This week therefore sees the start from Friday of a two week strike at the Port.

Your support is going to be increasingly important to us as we fight over issues that are significant for us all.

Catch-up with the issues at

Picket Support

We will have a 24/7 picket at Teal Park – outside the Fergusson Wharf gate (in front of the Westpac Rescue Centre) corner Tamaki Drive and Solent Street from 10 am Friday 24 February. If you are Auckland based or visiting town we would appreciate you joining us at the picket where you can learn about the dispute, directly from the workers concerned and show your solidarity. Where ever you live you can encourage people you know to come and join us. We are particularly inviting the community to visit on 25-26 February and 3-4 March 11am-3pm when there will food, children’s’ activities and entertainment for all. Parking is on Tamaki Drive and surrounding streets. Contributions of food are appreciated and can be left at the picket.

Please join us.

Financial Support

We have set up 2 ways for individuals to provide financial support for our members.
By calling our information line 0900ourport / 09006877678 to make a $5 automatic contribution.
or by depositing money into our bank account:
Account name: MUNZ National Fighting Fund
Account number: 02-0560-0450165-004
Branch: BNZ Manners Street, Wellington


We are organising groups to deliver postcards in your local area. If you haven’t already indicated you are willing to deliver a one hour bag of delivery and are able to, let us know.

Website and Facebook

Visit or to keep up to date with the dispute. Please encourage others to visit the site and sign our online petition. Attached to this email is a copy of the petition which you can take to your workplace, community organisation and events to encourage people to sign.

Keep in touch via or by ringing 09 9510226

In Solidarity,
Garry Parsloe
National President Maritime Union of NZ

52 comments on “Support MUNZ workers in port dispute”

  1. Gosman 1

    I’ve just finished listening to the Garry Parsloe on Radio NZ National. Interesting that he stated that the Union has no other option but to take strike action. Hmmm…. this seems to be at odds with the position of some on here who think there is some smoking gun evidence that would be able to force POAL back to the bargaining table. So how come you didn’t mention this Mr Parsloe ? After all you also stated if the company went back to the bargaining table the Union would call off the strike. Why don’t you just settle this in the Employment court? Then you don’t have to worry about causing hardship for your members.

    • Gosman the one man wrecking troll.

      The workers are going to lose their jobs.  The writing is on the wall.  If POAL has its way in a couple of weeks time the site will be deunionised.  And you cannot solve this in the Employment Court.  Of course the Union has to stand up and fight.

      But you know this.  You are just here to create smoke.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Hang on mickeysavage. That is not what was posted on the Standard a few weeks back. The story back then was that the document from POAL produced evidence of Bad Faith bargaining and that they could sort the dispute by presenting that in court. Why are you now stating that the Union can’t do this?

        IrishBill: the point was also made that legal action takes time and is ancillary to industrial action in a dispute. Unsurprisingly the legal action is taking time. Having been told this you seem to be disregarding it in order to disrupt the thread. Don’t.

        • mickysavage

          They can but it may not work.

          And besides a decision could be months away.

          So what do you want them to do?  Sit on their hands and do nothing and hope the Court comes through? 

        • Gosman

          Fair enough that it is taking time (by the way where is the evidence that this is in progress?). However that doesn’t explain why the Union leader this morning stated that strike action is the only option. It plainly isn’t. They could wait until the court process is complete to force the company back to bargaining.

          • mickysavage

            Did you know Gossie that POAL has applied for an injunction to stop MUNZ handing out leaflets??  How undemocratic is that??  This is an example of how much money they have to throw at the problem and how the Court by itself will not be able to solve things.

            • Gosman

              So what actions have MUNZ done to counter this via the courts?

              Any action is filed with the court and is available for the public so surely if they are taking this through the courts as well there is some sort of record of it?

              • Yep. Go and have a read of the file.

                • Gosman

                  Perhaps you have a link to the relevant court documents? I have done some google searches but nothing is immediate apparent. I readily admit I might not be searching for the correct terms.

                  • lprent

                    Not always, from ancient vague memories, employment court docs are often not available to the public until the hearing. Came from the old arbitration acts

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Bargaining is not done in the Employment Court, Gossie. If either party can prove the other has breached good faith, then the court will deal with that separately. There is a possibility of the parties being ordered into a court run negotiation (facilitated bargaining), but that doesn’t seem to be on the agenda at the moment.
      Anyhoo, Go Wharfies! And mods, can we have the Save Our Ports web button on the Standard, please? It’s downloadable from the SOP website and looks particularly fine.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Sounds like a good idea.. I will look for it when get to work

        • Te Reo Putake

          Cheers, LP. There’s also a widget for the petition, if there is time/room for it to be squeezed in.

          • lprent

            The blog didn’t like petition. Did all sorts of interesting things.

            The widget for the saveourports is up with a few work-related interruptions. I’m setting up component level regression speed tests and have to keep fixing the process files as I find config file bugs.

          • Jenny

            Before you sent it on to The Standard, I presume it was you, TRP who received this letter of thanks from the Maritime Union. – With the support of influential union leaders like yourself, the wharfies victory against contracting out, will be guaranteed.

            Keep up the good work. I expect that your next act of solidarity will be to issue call for all your members and supporters to attend the Wharfies rally on Saturday 10th of March.

            Good for you.

  2. Kevin Welsh 2

    This was sent to us by a reader (not by Garry Parsloe or MUNZ).

    If you have questions for Garry Parsloe, Gosman, then write him a letter.

    • Gosman 2.1

      Fair enough. I intially didn’t direct it to him but noticed it had his name against it and then edited it. I didn’t catch the first bit.

      The questions still stand though. This seems completely unnecessary if all the Union needs to do to force the POAL company back to the bargaining table is to take this to the Employment court and present the evidence of bad faith bargaining. Why cause your members 3 weeks of hardship if you can achieve the same outcome much easier?

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Gossie Courts are funny places.  You never know how it is going to go and it can take months and months.  And POAL has millions to throw at this.

        This will I am sure not stop you from repeating ad infinitum your comment.  Mods I reckon that after a couple of more mentions Gossie should be given a red flag. 

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Disputes of any kind usually run multiple processes in paradell. In particular anything involving courts is usually subject to significiant delays and is never assured. So you pursue other actions at the same time.

        Doesn’t matter if it is collecting a bill or an industrial action. Confining yourself to a linear process is usually futile time wasting.

        • Gosman

          Removing my ideological biased hat here for a second, MUNZ is missing a trick by not using any court action in their PR.

          For example, on the radio this morning instead of sounding desperate by claiming that they had no other option but to strike Garry Parsloe coiuld have stated that they were taking this case to the employment court because of the bad faith bargaining position of POAL. However the company is ignoring the resolution of this case and is pushing ahead with contracting out plans. To make a stand against this the Union is reluctantly calling this strike but would much prefer to get back to bargaining and get the issues around the bargaining process resolved legally.

          Currently I’d suggest the wider public isn’t swinging in behind the Strike. Certainly it hasn’t moved the Auckland City council and the Mayor one iota from their non-commital position.

          • Rosie

            Gosman, you mention the wider public isn’t swinging in behind the strike. I wonder if thats because of the general ignorance of the public surrounding the mechanics of this employment dispute, combined with with a disturbingly biased media that either directly or indirectly paint MUNZ members as the bad guys and the POAL as the poor suffering business.

            Last year’s long term lockout out CMP in Rangitikei went by largely unreported and it was over seas organisations such as Labourstart that got invloved in raising awareness about the issue. NZers, I think have little idea of their own employment laws and take little interest in disputes.

            Perhaps instead of there being a spirit of togetherness and solidarity towards fellow NZers who are struggling with an oppressive work atmosphere and management there is apathetic “why should I care?” attitude. So, I don’t think you can really use the concept of public support as a gauge for the status of the dispute.

            • Gosman

              You have to work within the media and wider environment you have not with the one you wished existed.

              Even if we accept the bias you feel exists against the Union MUNZ PR hasn’t been the greatest. For one thing it doesn’t seem to be very focused on what it is trying to achieve.

              This dispute should be a doddle for the Union movement. It involves a highly unionised workforce, a 100 % owned community business, and a Council which is run by a left leaning Mayor.

              All they need to do is to convince the Council that they should direct the POAL management to negotiate directly with the Union and to stop any actions towards contracting out. For some reason they haven’t managed to move towards this in the months the dispute has been taking place.

          • KJT

            Didn’t occur to you that, unlike POAL, MUNZ hasn’t got a spare $9 million of members cash, to fight a drawn out court case.

            • Gosman

              What people seem to be stating here is the Employment court process is so complex and arcane that even a case that is seemingly Res ipsa loquitur involving THE major employment dispute in NZ at this time can be delayed and drawn out just with one side spending enough money. If this is the case then there should be an immediate outcry from people to call for urgent changes to the Employment court as it is obviously not doing it’s job effectively here.

              • KJT

                Problem is with the whole court system.

                It is just a sheltered workshop for the legal profession.

                Closed shop Keeping legal fees up to $100’s of dollars an hour.

                And! Longer smoko breaks than Wharfies have.

      • Theodore 2.1.3

        What business is it of yours Gosman? Are you ok if we comment on your employer-employee relationship?

        It’s up to the membership of the Union to instruct their officials what procedures to take. Just as if I had a lawyer representing me in negotiations I’d be instructing him (or her). If some creep tried to butt in to my business I’d tell you to take a flying f—

        Seeing as your not connected to the Union in any way you have no idea what “hardship” is involved.

        In other words mind your own business.

        • Gosman

          Feel free to comment on my employer-employee relationship. Lot’s of people do. It’s no skin off my nose.

    • John Day 2.2

      You care about other people. Would you come and work with me for 24 hours, helping a charity serve other people. We learn so much about ourselves doing things like this.
      Regards, John

  3. Rosie 3

    Just heard on RNZ this am that a guy from the Inporters Institute (apologies, it was early and I didn’t catch his name) is saying the the “strikers” should be sacked and that MUNZ should be accountable for the financial losses due to ships having to unload in other other ports.

    It was the kind of statement that blew me away for a couple of reasons: Firstly you just can’t “sack” people for striking legally, what a stupid thing to say – does he have any knowledge of the ERA 2000? followed by the bizzaire demand that MUNZ pay up. Secondly it was a petulant and aggressive outburst and the content of it really belongs to another century. In a way in was in the same vein as former EMA boss’ Alisdair Thompson’s little outburst about productivity being dragged down by “women’s sick problems”. Both statements are absurd, ignorant and offensive.

    To the wharfies and their families: Sending you solidarity and support. Kia Kaha.

    • uke 3.1

      Pretty soon we’ll have the Paul Holmes/Michael Laws/John Banks’ of this country following Jeremy Clarkson’s lead in the UK and calling for the strikers to be shot.

    • Concerned 3.2

      Hi Rosie. The guy that you speak of has no direct involvement in this dispute other than maybe having some business run through the ports. He is a 3rd party to this and is being directly affected. As possibly a small business owner himself, do you not think that he may be agrieved at the fact that he has to pay more to complete his delivery of orders to his clients. Heaven forbid one of those clients is you and all of a sudden the goods you ordered have gone up by 10%.

      There are more people involved on a wider scale than just the POAL and the striking workers. Surely there is some sympathy for the fringe affected?

      • muzza 3.2.1

        Concerned, while your point is valid, it requires those who are being given airtime, and pass comments, have been honestly informed of the detailed going ons around the PoAL.

        How many people have an understanding of the honest events that are going on, the underlying issues? I suspect very few, least of all the public who are being fed nothing but BS!

        Seems to me the media is trying to shape the narrative against the warfies, and those who pass comment on it, do so from ignorance, or lies!

        It is unfortunate that there are spin offs of the action into the wider business sector, which will be impacting people, and it is right that these people should be given some sympathy, however publically passing judegments which are based on a lack of information, which in turn is looped back into the public view, via a bias media, is not the way to go about it.

    • Theodore 3.3

      Yeah, I heard the slimeball as well. What a ratbag.

    • Te Reo Putake 3.4

      Rosie, the Importers’ Institute is just one man and his blog. He’s managed to blag his way onto RNZ on the back of having one of his rants reproduced on Not PC. He represents noone, and is just another RWNJ opportunist frothing at the mouth. Quite possibly one of the ones we regularly see here carpet bombing the site with fact free diversions.

      • Gosman 3.4.1

        Seems to be at least a two man operation according to that site.

        • Te Reo Putake

          Check the other guy’s email addy. This ain’t his main gig, Gossie. So, nah, just a chancer getting his 15 minutes, I’m afraid.

          edit: Now that I think about it, your comment looked awfully like a fact free diversion as mentioned above, Gossy. Spooky , eh?

  4. Rosie 4

    Concerned, sure the importers institute dude has a right to have a little bleat, but how does it help the situation? I think his comments are inflammaorty, hostile and unhelpful.

    FYI: I do realise how broad this dispute is, I’m not one eyed. I have worked for an importer as a sales rep and have copped it from customers (retailers) when goods couldn’t be provided for a number of different reasons. I’ve also worked as a union organiser and have an understanding of what it is to feel powerless against an employer who holds all the power and control. While I can understand the temporary inconvenience that some importers may feel I can tell you that is nothing against the long term inconveneince of losing your job, or your conditions and security. Have you ever been in that position? I have. This is a critical time for these workers and they deserve our suuport.

  5. grumpy 5

    I have a container supposed to arrive in Auckland on 3rd March. Last night I emailed the supplier and have been told that the ship has been re-routed and the line will not be going back to using Auckland.

    Well done the unions……………

    • Rosie 5.1

      Sorry about that Grumpy, but really you should be thanking the managment of POAL for starting this battle in the first place.

      • grumpy 5.1.1

        Don’t worry, I’ll still get my container but just not via Auckland. The only losers are the union members – shippers, although 3rd parties in this dispute have the most to lose and will now not go back to Auckland.

  6. Bored 6

    For all those RWNJs who see the world in simplistic terms a few questions around this action:
    * how would productivity look if we were to slash management pay?
    * if you slash wages at one port according to the POA rational in order to become more competitive, are you not just encouraging your competitors (i.e Tauranga) to slash wages again to regain their competitive advantage?
    * how long can you do this before the wages are zero?
    * what happens to the competitive scenario if cargo destined for Auckland by road from Tauranga is hit by sky rocketing fuel prices?

  7. Gosman 7

    “how long can you do this before the wages are zero?”

    Ummmmm…. ow about it will never get to this situation under a market economy. People don’t tend to work for nothing. Presumably POAL will have to pay something to gain skilled staff. You do acknowledge the staff are skilled fon’t you?

  8. james 111 9

    Fantastic profit result for Tauranga for six months up 20% stealing all the work from Auckland. Union have failed their workers ,and the rate payers of Auckland

    . Port Workers have been lead down a pathway to destruction by the Union. Truck drivers ,and retailers lively hoods are being put at risk by the greed of the union workers who actually earn around $65 per hour for actual hours worked.

    Time to break the dead lock and bring in the same contractor who is running Tauranga then we will have a competitive wharf, and a fair return for Auckland rate payers

    • KJT 9.1

      Rubbish. Showing your total ignorance, James. Tauranga is not run buy a contractor!

      How much do you earn per hour worked?

      The problems were caused by the port company, not the union.

      They could accept the Unions reasonable concessions, negotiate in good faith, and the strikes would be off.

      Or they could sack some of the 15 Managers, starting with Gibson, replace them with one who can talk to the workforce, Tauranga has one! and increase the returns by 4%, tomorrow!

  9. Fisiani 10

    How much redundancy money will the elderly union officials get by voting for suicidal strike action in a non secret ballot that will end in redundancy for all?
    Who pays the price? The young mugs who are denied a secret ballot.
    Same old socialists……

  10. Jenny 11

    A container ship heading for the Ports of Auckland, on hearing that they were to be unloaded by strike breakers did a U Turn in the Huaraki Gulf.

    Tony Gibson, the CEO of the Ports of Auckland ltd. had pledged to personally supervise the unloading of the Kota Permasan, claiming that a successful disembarkation of this vessel by a crew of strike breakers, would represent the breaking of the union’s campaign against contracting out.

    Instead, the Kota Permasan’s unusual manoeuvre off the Whangaparoa Peninsula, could represent the opposite. – The sinking of Tony’s campaign to de-unionise the Auckland waterfront by outsourcing the work to non-union sub-contractors.

  11. John72 12

    We are stuck with Corporate Greed this week. We can not solve the world’s problems with one stroke(strike) so let us take it one step at a time. If we give the watersiders regular, secure work that is a big step. One very private question, for both parties. Ask yourself (1)how much do I really NEED and(2) how much do I want just because someone else is getting it. DO NOT tell anyone the answer because only you know the truth and part (2) is describing childish greed. We all like to think that we are big boys now. We do not suffer from Corporate Greed. Think about it alone. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

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