Ports Update – POAL Contracts out, illegal strike action contiinues

The Maritime Union is set for another court defeat this afternoon as they again perform unlawful strike action, this time in Lyttelton.

The Ports of Auckland industrial action is spreading to Christchurch.

The Port of Lyttelton has lodged an application for injunction with the Employment Court to stop union members in Christchurch refusing to unload a container ship, the Lisa Schulte.

It’s understood up to 300 Maritime Union members are refusing to handle the ship’s cargo, as it was loaded by non-union staff in Auckland.

The injunction application will be heard in the Employment Court this afternoon.

Meanwhile the Ports of Auckland has decide to contract out the stevedoring work:

Ports of Auckland has today decided to introduce competitive stevedoring into its Fergusson and Bledisloe Container Terminal operations.

This announcement comes after an extensive eight-week consultation and evaluation process. This produced a compelling business case showing that competitive stevedoring could enable Auckland to become New Zealand’s best-performing port, and a leader in the Asia-Pacific region over a short period.

Port CEO Tony Gibson said the decision to bring the Port’s stevedoring operations in line with global industry best practice would be welcome news for Aucklanders as well as customers.

“We’ve weighed up all the options and we believe this is the best decision for the future of the Port. Auckland enjoys significant natural advantages, including its proximity to New Zealand’s largest market, where 60% of exports, and 70% of import business takes place. Until now we have been constrained by practices which have reduced the Port’s competitiveness, and in recent months industrial action, which has lost us significant business.

Ports of Auckland Chairman Richard Pearson said that the Board’s first priority is to win-back lost business, retain current clients and put the Port on a pathway to success.

“This decision will reassure the wider market and customers that we plan to achieve a sustainable lift in the Port’s competitiveness as soon as possible, Mr Pearson says.

“We have our sights set high. Our ultimate goal is to become not just New Zealand’s most efficient and productive container port, but a leader in the Asia Pacific region.

Make no mistake here, union intransigence has caused the loss of their jobs. The last week has shown that Ports of Auckland can operate the port without the handbrake of union meddling.

Garry Parlsoe and the Maritime Union have been outplayed comprehensively by Ports of Auckland. They shouldn’t be surprised by the actions of POAL.

UPDATE: As predicted by this blogger Len Brown is staying staunch in backing his Port company:

Union officials are challenging Auckland Mayor Len Brown to intervene on behalf of 292 port workers who have been sacked by Ports of Auckland.

But Mr Brown is refusing to take a side in the industrial dispute between the company and union members – saying he is working only for the “people of Auckland”.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.