MUNZ

Another dodgy union caught owing IRD

The Maritime Union is having to update their accounting records with the Societies Commission. It isn’t pretty reading

The 2005 Accounts shows a previously undisclosed provision for settlement with the IRD of $340,000.00

Questions:

Why is a settlement required?

What was it for?

What event happened in as $340,000.00 is a very substantial amount?

More to follow….

Remember First Union hit with a $250,000.00 IRD audit bill as well.

Large variations in MUNZ Accounts

The Maritime Union of New Zealand are just starting file their correct financial statements and have released their 2005, 2006 and 2007 Accounts

A quick perusal shows that income received was actually $2.5M in 2007 against the original declaration of $ 573k

Operating expenses was $1.6M more than originally declared.

Full declaration of the consolidated accounts was requested by the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.

The Balance Sheet also shows an $11M increase in assets with $10.1M in fixed term investments.

The 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Accounts are still to be filed.

More to follow….

RMTU v. NZCTU – picking winners

Just to give a quick recap – the Owl only uses information freely available in the public domain. The Owl is also happy to congratulate unions who are good operators for their members.

I have always been impressed with the Rail and Transport Maritime Union accounts and they recently filed a great surplus, good re-investment policies and very clear and precise accounts. Well done and the members should be pleased with their executive.

The recent wrangling over the inter-islander negotiations is part of business we can generally accept and the Owl knows the recent settlement there was a certain amount of “huff and puff” but overall a settlement is a settlement which means both employer and employee are happy.

NZCTU President Helen Kelly made a public announcement on their website yesterday stating she was happy the Len Brown was going to get more involved the dispute and sort this so called “crazy POAL/MUNZ situation” out.

Owl’s Observation

I agree with Helen Kelly because the Rail and Maritime Transport Union are clearly impressed with the Ports of Tauranga model that they have invested $404,287.00 in Ports of Tauranga shares. The value of their shares increased in $82,828.00 in their last financial year.

That is a 20% return/increase for union members. Fantastic investment!

What does Helen Kelly do – asks RMT Union to divest and stand in solidarity with MUNZ or banish RMT union from the NZCTU?

Wonder how the next press conference is going to look like when asked why affiliated members of the NZCTU are happy to invest in the Ports of Tauranga model and yet argue against POAL vision?

Helen Kelly endorses Cameron Slater?

Helen Kelly’s endorses Cameron Slater’s work for the Unions at the Labour Conference 2012 – by the Owl

Front and centre stage – there she was in full light and radiant smile.

That soon turned to grief as she read stories of young men dying at work from our nation’s poor health and safety culture. A great read and the touchstone of how desperate we are as a nation to reconcile work place safety and building a good business model.

I nodded and agreed as the words flowed off her well written and delivered speech. The Owl has always supported health and safety measures

Then as I was almost crushed at my failure to not speak out more on these issues as a citizen…I was truly inspired…then Helen moved from saving our sons to you guessed it …the Ports.

My eyes lit up only to find that the biggest reason the Ports strike became a national issue was because of none other than CAMERON SLATER.

Helen Kelly credits Cameron Slater for helping the Maritime Union and the Unions in getting the nation to support the Port workers.

I quote direct from her speech:

 “The Port’s plans attracted little outrage from the political community outside of Labour and the Greens.  Only when it deliberately breached the privacy of some of its workers to blogger Cameron Slater, did any other politician express true outrage. It was ok to dismiss and replace the workforce, but not to breach their privacy. ”

Observation by the Owl

So that meant, National, Act, Mana Party, The Maori Party and NZ First didn’t give a damn.  60% of Politicians were quite happy the way things were going until Cameron Slater put his nose in.

I would have a guess that Greens didn’t give a damn either because their mandate would be to close down wharfs anyway.

However I finally found the road block to the stalled negotiations in her speech on Saturday. She wrote:

“The Port has not moved in the facilitation – I have attended many of them”.

MUNZ went nuts and filed a claim of breach of good faith at POAL about breaching the Facilitators confidentiality agreement and yet NZCTU President who has attended “most” breaches the rules and delivers the details to a national conference.

More major governance issues at the NZCTU and a complete lack of understanding of ‘good faith bargaining” from the gatekeeper.

I would bet a $1.00 she had to sign a confidentiality agreement or at least been party to it.

PS: is there something going on between Cam and Helen????

Is there a Governance Crisis at the NZCTU?

Is there a Governance Crisis at the NZCTU? – An Observation by The Owl

Over the last few months 2 of the 6 (technically) affiliated unions (NZ Meat Workers Union and Maritime Union of NZ) who get to vote on David Shearer’s future have been put under the spotlight by the Registrar of the Incorporated Societies. It has been proven they have both failed to file complete returns with the Registrar.

The NBR also questioned a 3rd union, the EPMU, on their balance sheet regarding a Pike River Trust. The EPMU have been reporting losses and the EPMU Education and Training Trust fund for members remains solvent only because the EPMU does not demand the $6M loan back as qualified by their auditors. (The Trust assets are approximately $3M.)

A number of so called affiliate unions to the NZCTU have been reporting losses, failing to declare income for GST purposes and generally been late with their financial returns. But to be fair some unions are good at compliance.

The ultimate responsibility of the NZCTU is to their members. Are there governance policies in place at the NZCTU head office to manage its individual unions when they fall out of line?

The Owl asks, is there a governance crisis? Here is a great example of good governance by a governing body.

When the Otago Rugby Union got into trouble – the NZ Rugby Union went down there, told them to sort themselves out and if they didn’t the NZRFU would liquidate them. The Board was changed and a number of people stood down. This is good governance from the top and Otago flourished on the field in 2012. The word on the street is it is a pretty happy camp now – a good dose of “tough love”

Owl’s Observation

The Owl believes the Labour Party Executive should demand that the NZCTU develop a good governance model to manage their affiliates if they want to get 20% of the voting rights.

The Labour Party Executive can exercise their governance control and meet with the NZCTU just like the NZ Rugby Union did with the Otago Rugby Union.

Current day unions only represent between 6-9% of the workers in private industry. Does this means the Labour Party is being distracted by pleasing a few when actually they are missing out on potentially serving the 94% of working voters?

The Owl is looking forward to analysing the results of the Labour Party Conference

MUNZ calls to sack POAL CEO and Board

MUNZ calls to sack POAL CEO and Board – by the Owl

MUNZ have called for the Mayor to immediately sack POAL CEO and Board and appoint a moderate board.

Their press release says:

“Ports of Auckland workers at the meeting called on the Mayor of Auckland to sack the CEO and the Board and restore a moderate management who respects its workforce, says Mr Parsloe”.

Further points are made that they are protecting New Zealanders in their actions.

“They do this in the name of their families, the city of Auckland and New Zealand workers.  The mayor and council can fix this if they want to.”

Owl’s Observation:

These statements are at odds with a press release issued late Friday by MUNZ which said which is yet to appear on MUNZ website:

“In the meantime we will be maintaining the integrity of the process of Facilitation and not commenting further while we work through the agreed process.”

This comment was because POAL updated their website with an up to date state of play on the facilitation process.

I did quantum maths at school.

“x” + Integrity = sacking (I can’t quite work what “x” equals?).

This needs to be resolved as a festering sore can become quite nasty.

MUNZ copies Meatworkers, breaking the law

The Owl has been digging into the Maritime Union’s affairs and it looks like they may well be in the same spot of bother that the Meatworkers Union is.

More importantly it may mean that Local 13 of the Maritime Union is an illegal union. They are collecting fees and only passing through capitation fees to the Maritime Union. Local 13 is not registered as a union and nor has it presented any accounts as required by law. My understanding is existing contracts and agreements are in the name of Local 13 and not in the name of the Maritime Union.

In my opinion Ports of Auckland should seek an immediate judgement from the courts on the validity of Local 13 continuing to negotiate and represent members at the Port.

The Owl’s findings are below:

MUNZ versus NZ Meat Workers Union

The Registrar Office has put the hard word on the NZ Meat Workers Union to file consolidated accounts and according to press releases this could add up to millions.

The issue lies around a word called “capitation” which means that all branches pay HQ a capitation fee of a set amount for the number of members each branch has.

I took the time to review other unions that have branches as well and the Maritime Union has the same set up.

2011 Accounts

Affiliation Fees $338,058.00

Registered Members according to Department of Labour Returns 2,580

Therefore average Capitation Fee $131.00

Annual Union Fees per member? At Local 13 the union fees depend on hours worked and are worked out at 1.5% of wages. That works out at between $10-$35 per week.

The majority of the Affiliation Fees comes from a branch called Seafarers $153,927.00

Owls Observation

The Owl has always said he doesn’t care what businesses spend their money on or what their business model is. What I do care about is process.

It looks like MUNZ has the same issue as the NZ Meat Workers Union and I wonder if the Registrar is taking the same hard line.

(Note: All information is available in the public domain and the Owl always apologises if incorrect.)

MUNZ cops it from ERA, Ctd

The Maritime Union has again been shellacked by the ERA. Remember when I blogged about Carl Findlay and his dodgy activities? Well the union sought to have his case used to slow down the negotiations toward a new contract on the wharves and the Emplyment Relations Authority has slammed them for it:

A second Employment Relations Authority ruling in as many weeks has gone Ports of Auckland’s way, with the authority ruling the port company was justified in giving a staff member a final warning.

It follows a decision earlier this month that the removal of two foreman’s roles at the port would not undermine current contract negotiations with wharfies or result in unsafe work practices, as the Maritime Union of New Zealand had claimed.

In the latest decision, the ERA said Ports of Auckland was within its rights to give stevedore Carl Findlay a final written warning for removing a letter from a manager’s office.

Findlay used a ruler to retrieve a letter written by another stevedore, Tamati Davie, from underneath stevedoring manager Jonathan Hulme’s locked office door.

The letter was in response to an investigation Hulme was conducting into whether Davie had passed on confidential Ports of Auckland information to the Maritime Union.

Davie put the letter under Hulme’s door but decided he wanted to add to his response so asked Findlay – who is vice president of the Auckland branch of the union – to get it back.

Findlay made no attempt to contact Hulme to ask for permission to retrieve it, the ERA said. Despite being confronted by a senior staff member who saw what he did, and receiving a text from Hulme the next morning asking for the letter back, Findlay did not return it, the authority said.

His actions did not constitute serious misconduct as the port company said, but were serious enough for the port to issue a written warning. Ports of Auckland acted in a “procedurally fair manner”, the authority said.

MUNZ cops it from ERA

The Maritime Union is usually very quick to rush to the news media over any perceived slight to their domination ont he wharves. They will be very quiet over this judgment from the Employment Relations Authority (full judgment PDF):

Parties: Maritime Union of New Zealand Inc v Ports of Auckland Ltd
Summary: BREACH OF CONTRACT – HEALTH AND SAFETY – Applicant claimed respondent’s proposal to disestablish two foreman roles would result in unsafe work practices in breach of collective employment agreement (“CEA”) – Authority found no tangible evidence indicating proposed change would compromise health and safety – No breach of contract – GOOD FAITH – Applicant claimed respondent’s failure to consult adequately over proposal breach of good faith – Found respondent explained to applicant effect of proposed changes on who would carry out foreman’s work – No breach of good faith – GOOD FAITH – BARGAINING – Applicant claimed respondent’s proposal undermined bargaining for new CEA – Found disestablishment of foreman roles operational matter rather than bargaining issue – Found bargaining not undermined by respondent pursuing matter not subject to collective bargaining for new CEA – No breach of good faith

This was nothing more than a shameless delaying tactic by the union. I note that costs have been reserved. I hope the union gets slammed for this.

Good luck reading about this anywhere but here.

PortPro – The “New Union on the Block” – Opinion by the Owl

As MUNZ and the NZCTU run around claiming underhand tactics (“ruse”) on the formation of the new PortPro Union is wanting to negotiate with the ports management (POAL) – a number of interesting issues come to mind.

I wrote many months ago about how Union members pay MUNZ to represent them – secure employment conditions and in particular provide a service. I made the observation that a Union member could indeed take the service provider (in this case MUNZ) to task if the failed to achieve their outcome.

I linked it to the classic contract wording of “offer and acceptance”.

PortPro is a new competitor on the wharf in “Unionland”. They saw an opportunity and decided to build a business around it. What are they offering? – I am assuming “Employment Service Advice”

The general public tends to use the word “Union” – but reality is that a “Union” is an “Employment Service Advice Agency”.

PortPro have 33 members (according to the NZ Herald Report) – or once again shall we call them 33 clients.

Most people in business know that getting 33 clients on day one is a major achievement. In my business I had to give away countless free products before I secured my first full paying customer.

More importantly PortPro is going to advise its clients how to get the best deal in the marketplace, best employment advice and overall secure long-term contracts. One would assume PortPro have sent out details about what they want to achieve and the services they provide. 33 people have decided to become customers or clients.

Even if MUNZ settles with POAL and holds the head collective agreement, the sharp point of this move by PortPro is there is a “new union on the block”. I cannot give a better example of what a “new competitor does” by referring you to the Telco industry – Telecom versus, Vodafone versus 2 Degrees.

There is also the classic story of Virgin Airways and British Airways when the new Virgin airline was set up.

Both examples went through very interesting court cases and parliament stages before the industries were deregulated or as some would say – more regulated.

Telecom spent years in court defending their position and then Parliament split Telecom up.

BAA and Virgin spent years in court with BAA defending strongly their position and then the aviation industry was overhauled by Parliament in England.

The Owl predicts that PortPro is the start of many new Unions to spring up which focuses on Employment Services (and Health and Safety – I do agree H & S is paramount, it is just whether you use it for political reasons) – there may even be a court battle and possibly intervention by Parliament.

For me the most interesting point and I think it will only be resolved in court will be if PortPro is allowed the freedom of speech on the wharf which the Unions have desperately sought in getting accountability on the wharf by the POAL Management and demanding good employer processes.

PortPro now challenges those assertions and tests whether a good employer will allow two unions to operate at one site. Many businesses have multi-union sites so precedence has been set.