“An Unlawful Strike”

When are the Martime Union and the RMTU going to realise that breaking the law won’t work.

New Zealand law prohibits secondary strike action. Yet the Maritime Union and the RMTU, advised by their American bruvvers are trying to strong arm other Ports.

On Sunday the Port of Tauranga sought and was granted an injunction against their illegal strike action. Yesterday CentrePort in Wellington did the same. The Employment Court judge in that case was scathing:

The Employment Court has ordered Centreport’s striking workers to unload a ship that has been sitting idle for days.

The Wellington wharfies refused to unload the Maersk Aberdeen on its arrival on Friday after it was worked by non-unionised members at the Port of Auckland.

About 300 wharfies are on a three-week strike in Auckland over proposed roster changes.

In a decision released this afternoon, Judge Anthony Ford said he was satisfied that both the Maritime Union and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union had engaged in an unlawful strike.

He said Centreport had taken reasonable steps to avert strike action by allowing four hours for a stop work meeting prior to the arrival of the Aberdeen, despite requiring 14 days notice.

“…the events in question have had a significant potential impact on Centreport and on Centreport’s reputation as a ‘can-do’ port that gave the plaintiff an important competitive advantage.”

Claims by the unions that Centreport had taken the unnecessary step of court action rather than mediation were dismissed because of the immediate need to unload the ship, Judge Ford said.

The injunction was granted ordering the unions to refrain from being party to or directing or encouraging their members to refrain from working the Aberdeen or any other vessel on grounds related to the dispute at the Ports of Auckland.

It is now proven in two court cases that the Maritime Union willfully break the law. It is time that there were financial sanctions for the economic sabotage being committed by these illegal acts. It can’t be far off a class action by shipping companies and Ports against the union for damages as a result of their illegal actions. Based on two Employment Court judgments now about their illegal actions there would only be one result.

One thing is certain though, Garry Parsloe’s hollow promise that not a single ship would be unloaded and that the Ports of the country would be brought to a stand still are laughable. As each ship docks and is unloaded and reloaded in record time at Fergusson Terminal the resolve of the bruvvers on the picket is seeping away.

Once reports come in from their pals that have already got new jobs elsewhere their resolve will crumble. Already it is fragile, the reports coming in on the tipline are mounting and fascinating at the same time.

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