Garry Parsloe

After two years the union caves and declares victory at Ports of Auckland

More than two years have elapsed since the Maritime Union led by old crusty dinosaur Garry Parsloe brought the Ports of Auckland to a standstill.

Their demands were to work less for more money, despite eye-wateringly generous payments for the little work they did already.

It was die in?the?ditch stuff for them, and they held strong right up until they caved and agreed to the terms released by the arbitrator two years ago.

As expected, Maritime Union members have ratified a collective employment agreement with Ports of Auckland.

A stop-work meeting of members unanimously voted in favour of the new collective employment agreement first thing this morning.

Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says the new agreement is a positive step for workers at the Ports of Auckland that should ensure the continued success of the port.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson concurs.

?We are obviously pleased and look forward to working with the Maritime Union to deliver even more for the people of Auckland,? he says.

The agreement between the port company and the union will be signed off today.

Parsloe has declared victory…but it was a victory his members could have had two years ago. ? Read more »

Maritime Union spends over a $1million fighting Ports and still breaking law

The Maritime Union has spent over $1million fighting the Ports of Auckland but int he process continues to break the law over the filing of accounts.

David Williams at NBR writes:

The Ports of Auckland industrial dispute has cost the Maritime Union more than $1 million.

Asked if the dispute had hit $1 million, the union?s national president, Garry Parsloe, told NBR ONLINE: ?Yes, it?s over that.?

But, the union would do it all again, he says, adding: ?It?s something we had to do.? …

The union is an incorporated society, with obligations to file annual accounts. However, the public hasn’t been able to see the union?s legal costs for the past two financial years because it is yet to file its accounts.? Read more »

POAL fined today $40k but Garry has a short memory

Ports of Auckland has been fined $40,000 for bringing in an Engineer while MUNZ was on strike. Garry Parsloe is all over it.

?We need an agreement that provides increased flexibility while providing security and certainty to our members to enable them to have time with their family and to work in a safe manner. It?is time for the madness to stop and for the Port to be run by a management that values its workforce. Heads must roll ? deliberate illegal actions by management compel a firm response from?the Board and from the Council.?

He is trying to sheet home any financial costs resulting from his union’s strike actions onto POAL. He forgets that it was his union that went on strike in the first place…and he forgets that the engineer was called in because of OSH requirements.

This whole issue shows up the stupidity of that provsion int eh Employment Relations Act…POAL had to provide engineering skills, MUNZ was striking so POAL had to foly someone in from Australia…and as a result they have been fined.

What was POAL supposed to do, ignore OSH regulations and potentially cause an accident?

It just goes to show how?lackadaisical?Garry Parsloe, Helen Kelly and MUNZ are when it comes to safety…but then again when their own member throw twist locks under the wheels of straddle carriers you can;t really expect anything better.

So while Garry Parsloe is yelling form the roof tops about a fine for POAl perhaps he might also like to explain this:

Extract – 2005 MUNZ Financial Accounts for $340,000.00 Provision

Yep a cool $340,000.00 provision.

Rodney Hide on the Maritime Union

Rodney Hide comments on the news that the Registrar of Incorporated Societies?is looking closely at the Maritime Union.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is in the same pickle as the New Zealand Meatworkers? Union. It, too, has hidden millions of dollars of spending from the legally required public scrutiny.

Following my complaint, the Registrar of Incorporated Societies, Neville Harris, has ordered the Meatworkers? Union to re-file six years? of accounts (Hidesight, Aug 24).

His clear expectation is that the full accounts be presented for approval at the annual meeting on November 7 and be filed promptly thereafter.

It will be fascinating to see if the union complies. It has fought long and hard to keep its accounts hidden. But I?m backing the Registrar to prevail. He has the necessary statutory power to ensure the union complies with the law.

There will be some sharp, critical eyes going through the accounts once they?re filed. There is a great deal of interest in the spending that the union has been so anxious to keep from public view.

Yes, the sharp eyes of The Owl, and me. We kicked this all off and now we are starting to see the makings of a scandal in the union movement. Rodney Hide thinks so too:

The legal obligation runs like this. To register, unions must be incorporated societies. The incorporation is important because it creates a body corporate distinct from the members of the union.

The union can thereby hold property and incur obligations in its own right.

Critically, being a member of an incorporated society does not impose on members any liability in respect of any contract or debt incurred by the society. There wouldn?t be too many union members if they were liable for union debts.

In return for the legal protection of members, incorporated societies incur legal obligations, one of which is the filing of an annual financial statement that is available for public scrutiny. That way, any creditors and others can see the financial health of the union.

However, that?s not been possible with the Meatworkers? Union for years and nor is it the case with the Maritime Union. The accounts haven?t been presented in full and millions of dollars in spending has not been made public as required by law.

The lack of transparency is truly shocking. It?s especially so in light of the spending scandal that has in recent months rocked the Australian Health Services Union.

So far?the?Meatworkers and now the?Maritime?union have been caught. Millions of dollars of members monies are being hidden by these dodgy unions.

The Union established Branches at each port in accordance with the rules of the Union. These branches have been given delegated authority to manage their affairs on behalf of their local members. The Financial Statements have not included any information on the financial performance or position of each Branch.?

The accounts show the union taking in $338,058 in affiliation fees, of which $80,059 came from ?Auckland Local 13?.

Branch president Garry Parsloe says union fees are 1.25% of wages and the average wage is $57,000, excluding bonuses and allowances. The union claims 300 members at the port. So that?s an income of over $200,000. But only $80,000 of that makes it to the union proper and is declared. That?s just one branch.

The 2003 accounts likewise just show the affiliation fees and not the full income and expenditure of the union. The failure to disclose properly goes back a long time.

More importantly…because they have failed to comply with the law the union actually does not legally exist. Nor do their agreements with employers. If I was a hardened employer I’d be testing this in court.

Rodney’s final note is in the comments:

The Registrar of Incorporated Societies replied to my complaint as follows:

“In light of the issues raised by the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union matter, my office is currently reviewing financial statement compliance by those incorporated societies who are registered unions.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is part of that review and there are some issues that my office will be following up with the Union.”

The way I read that is that every union is being investigated because unions are required to incorporate.

That’s a fulsome investigation. I know of only two unions who have unlawfully hidden spending though their branches but I have only looked at two!!

A scandal is brewing.

Maritime Union in the poo

The dodgy Maritime Union is now under investigation by?The Registrar of Incorporated Societies. As is usual the union bosses think it is just fine to hide literally millions of dollars of cash from the intention of the law and the view of?their?members. Between the vigilance of The Owl on this blog and the tenacity of Rodney Hide they are being forced to come clean on their accounts.

The Maritime Union is next in the firing line over filing incomplete accounts ? and that might be the tip of the iceberg.

The Registrar of Incorporated Societies, Neville Harris,?has put his foot down?over six years of incomplete Meat Workers Union accounts.

Mr Harris told NBR ONLINE his office is reviewing “financial statement compliance” by those incorporated societies which are registered unions.

?My office is in discussion with the Maritime Union of New Zealand on issues similar to that raised in the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union matter.?

In today’s Hidesight column in NBR Print, Rodney Hide says the Maritime Union, too, has been hiding millions of dollars in its accounts and the failure “goes back a long time”.

The Maritime Union has 2800 members in 13 branches, with about half its membership in Auckland ??the branch in dispute with Ports of Auckland.

Union national president Garry Parsloe says “heaps of unions” send their national accounts, but not their branch office accounts, to the registrar.

There is “nothing secretive in it”, he says, as each Maritime Union member gets a copy of the branch accounts.

“If we have to conform with that, we’ll conform with it.

“We’re pretty relaxed about it from what I can understand because we have an auditor in every branch, we have returning officer at every branch and we put in tax returns and declare it all.”

The issue will be considered by the union’s national conference, which starts on Monday.

“Every branch is declared it’s just that they seem to want it declared again in that way.”

The Meatworkers were pretty relaxed but they were forced to comply with the law, and so far have failed to do so. I believe that there is a union scam going on here that needs to be opened up.


The beginning of the end of the Maritime Union

Yesterday saw the beginning of the end of the Maritime Union’s dominance in the Ports of Auckland.

While MUNZ was having a BBQ to celebrate the end of their war, which they think is ?victory (their contract has run out as has the mandatory 12 month extension), a new union has been formed and signed a flexible work agreement with the Port.

Ports of Auckland has signed a collective agreement with new PortPro Union representing about 30 non-striking workers.

The agreement does not affect the ongoing dispute between the port and the Maritime Union, which is holding a barbeque in Auckland this afternoon to show the public its employment dispute is far from over.

PortPro was set up recently by former Maritime Union member Grant Lane, who wanted to offer non-striking stevedores an alternative.

PoAL ceo Tony Gibson, who is away in United States, says in a statement the agreement runs for two and a half years.

It offers workers a “flexible shift and roster system” similar to what has been in place at Port of Tauranga.

“If we can get a deal like this across all the port we will be able to compete with Tauranga on level footing,” the statement says.

PoAL spin doctor Matt Ball would not give specifics of the deal, but says it is similar to the one the Maritime Union has rejected.

Make no mistake this is the beginning of the end of the Maritime Union’s dominance down on?the?port. The damage their strike action caused has turned the port into a desert. There will be job losses, and the ones to go will be those on expired contracts i.e. Maritime Union staff. Garry Parsloe, mind, will still be getting paid as his workers get the sack.

The Maritime Union and their tame flunkies in the media all thought that they had won when they found they had a activist judge prepared to throw judicial precedent under the bus. The Port wisely withdrew from court action and circled the wagons…now Richard Pearson, who has dealt with far more fearsome people in ports around the world, has laid down a royal flush to Garry Parlsoe’s pair of twos.

The union stupidly ?spent all their energy focussing on demonising Tony Gibson and let Richard Pearson quietly work his magic in?the?background.

Watch the battle move to a new phase now, one which the Port will?ultimately?win, simply because they had patience and recognised that sometimes in a war you lose some battles.

How about some transparency for the unions?

Darien Fenton is having a whinge because her attempt to bypass normal?parliamentary?procedure for entering private members bills in the house was rejected.

Today I asked the House to agree to introduce my members? bill, called the Local Government (Council Controlled Organisations) Amendment Bill and set it down for the next Members Day. The government said no.

The bill would have made information held by ports accessible under the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Currently, Ports are excluded in the definition of CCOs under the Local Government Act.? An easy amendment to the Local Government Act, as proposed by?No Right Turn, (thanks NRT)?would have fixed this deficiency.

It is ironic that while?attempting?to hold the bosses to account with the clarion call for transparency the very same unions that donate heavily to the Labour party and are?affiliate?members are performing so woefully in the transparency stakes themselves.

The Maritime Union, the EPMU, the Meat Workers union, all Labour affliates have rather large discrepancies in their accounts. The Maritime Union hadn’t even filed accounts as required by law for several years and it wasn’t until the ever watchful Owl, one of my commenters, noticed that the accounts were duly filed.

The EPMU hasn’t filed one years accounts and another years accounts is not in the proper audited form, they simply filed an excel spreadsheet.

Even when they do file accounts they are showing millions of dollars disappearing from members funds. They show excessive travel and they also show an rather incomplete picture as to the financial state of the unions.

So, when Labour calls for the bosses to be held to account over financial mis-management why will they not also demand that the union bosses are likewise held to account? When they call for control and?transparency?over the bosses, why not a call for transparency over the unions?

In Australia they have a monitoring and regulatory body that keeps an eye on the unions. There is a massive scandal underway in Australia over dodgy union finances and dodgy union bosses that is threatening to take down the Gillard Government. I would suggest that given what Owl and I have discovered inthe accounts of key unions here that a similar forensic examination of union finances would find some very dodgy behaviour by the union bosses, especially around their attempts to disguise remuneration for bosses like Garry Parsloe.

I’m all for transparency, but let’s have it apply to all, even Labour?party?affiliate?members.

Ports remove lock out

The Ports of Auckland have removed the lock out notice ?(Ports Press Release)?and the unions are dancing in the street claiming a great victory.

Not so fast though, with the celebrations though.

The Port needs to save $8m per year which means Auckland City Council has?supported the 12% return.

Let’s look at some facts.

  • The wharf is working at 40-50% capacity with 57 staff.
  • 195 staff turned up for their pay.
  • To reach 100%?efficiency?they need another 60 staff.
  • That means 135 staff need to be made redundant.
  • A calculation at $27.00 per hour (using union figures for pay) 52 weeks x 135 staff = $7.5m
  • The union started this battle with 300 staff on the Ports and will be left with just 60.

Looks like Tony Gibson and Richard Pearson have chucked down the gauntlet – we lift the?lockout – you help us save $8m.

Brilliant, I’d like to see Garry Parsloe tell the membership that more than half of them are now down the road but it was a great victory.

In?the?meantime I better send my $4.00 to the IRD on behalf of Matt McCarten.

Port 18 – 0 MUNZ

Another “Ghost Ship” is at Fergusson Wharf and is being discharged.

Despite the strong words from Garry Parsloe that not a single ship would be worked, that the port would be shut down. Despite the words of Chris Trotter that ships would pass Auckland by and despite the words of Helen Kelly….the ships just keep on coming. Since they made the claims that they would shut down the port 18 ships have docked at Fergusson Wharf and been processed.

The latest arrival is Amazon River. Once again union claims that ships were turning off AIS systems are proven false. The AIS data clearly shows the arrival and docking of Amazon River at Fergusson Wharf.

And not a single union worker is back on the wharf. Crane rates are up.

Port 17 – 0 MUNZ

The “Ghost Ships” just keep on arriving and being processed despite the assertions of Garry Parsloe and Chris?Trotter?and Helen Kelly.

Alongside Fergusson Wharf is ER Malmo.

There is still not a single union worker on the wharf, they sit outside the gates staring at other people earning the big bucks. At least today they will get some cash to take their missus shopping.