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.