Rail and Maritime Transport Union

The carnage and fallout continues

The left is in disarray as Shane Jones edges towards the exit door. There is still a month of this while Jones still sits in parliament and there isn’t a thing Labour can do as commentators and journalists pick through the entrails of an eviscerated Labour party.

Michael Fox reports:

Shane Jone’s controversial departure has exposed divisions in the Labour Party, with opinion split on his qualities as an MP and the impact it will have on election prospects.

Supporters say he broadened Labour’s appeal while critics say he was overrated and the party is better off without him.

Left-wing political scientist and commentator Dr Bryce Edwards said the split has been apparent in the wave of commentary in mainstream and social media since the news broke.

“You’ve got a lot of people debating about whether he was a plus or a minus for Labour, whether he was a working class hero for Labour and whether he attracted that so-called blue collar vote, and whether he was a misogynist.”

Edwards labelled it an “identity politics dispute”.

“People are really talking about what Labour stands for and with Jones going does that mean that Labour has more or less ability to speak to so-called middle New Zealand and to traditional Labour voters? And there doesn’t seem to be any strong consensus on that.”

Former Labour MP John Tamihere said Jones represented a Labour constituency that was increasingly being sidelined as interest groups gained greater control.

“The real debate isn’t about Shane Jones, it’s about certain sector groups in Labour having far too much say in advance, well in advance of their constituencies in the street.”

The party was becoming dominated by “liberal academic elites” more focused on social engineering issues such as the so-called anti-smacking law than issues such as creating jobs which had a broader voter appeal, he said.

Jones had “cut through” on the latter, earning support for his campaign against the Countdown supermarket chain, where his accusations of bullying of suppliers led to a Commerce Commission inquiry, as well as his pro-development stance. Tamihere said he reached out to voters turned off by factional politics.

Former Labour candidate Josie Pagani agreed, saying those in the party who had rejoiced in Jones leaving “are guilty of sectarianism at its worst”.

The division in the party was between those focused on social mobility and those focused on social engineering – “we’ll make you better off versus we’ll make you a better person,” she said.

The Labour Party was there to support wage earners and promote better jobs and higher wages “and that’s the thing that unites everybody”.

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RMTU Thug, Howard Phillips, wants conservatives to stand quietly against the wall when they are a shot

Howard Philips is an official (Vice President) of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and a clippie on the Wellington Trains.


Howard Phillips: RMTU – Union Thug suggest conservative be shot against the wall


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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?

Union wants all ports nationalised

? Stuff.co.nz

If you are looking for productivity improvements the very last people you would ask for advice would be unions:

A national port strategy bringing all the country’s ports under central public ownership would allow the industry to deal with foreign-owned shipping companies from a position of strength, a union boss has said.

After MUNZ set about destroying Ports of Auckland in the interests of preserving the status quo the very last people we should listen to is unions who talk about nationalising ports. It is hugely ironic that the port with the least union involvement is also the most profitable and efficient.

Perhaps the union idea has some merit if Ports of Tauranga is allowed to implement their?methodologies?across all ports….somehow I think the union would oppose that violently.

Sell it to the union

? NZ Herald

Clare Curran with have a knot in her knickers over this:

KiwiRail is to sell its Dunedin-based Hillside Workshop business just months after making 44 workers redundant and contracting out the work.

The business will be advertised for sale as a going concern from early May, 2012 with a final decision due by the end of August, 2012.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said the decision was made after analysing the financial impact of the reduction in construction and refurbishment forward work orders for Hillside Workshops.

While the sale terms are negotiable, the preferred outcome will be that it is purchased as a going concern, he said.

“We are looking for a sale outcome that secures Hillside’s future as New Zealand’s largest heavy engineering site,” he said.

“We know this decision is difficult for our staff and we will be ensuring that they have full access to all information and any support services they require.”

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union said the sale was “totally avoidable”.

Its general secretary Wayne Butson partly blamed it on Kiwirail’s decision not to bid for the contract to build a new fleet of trains for Auckland last year.

Clare Curran should go have a wee chat with Wayne Butson and put in a union bid to buy the business…since he seems to know all about how to run the business. The RMTU could put some of their more than $3 million in accumulated funds into the enterprise.

It would let them get some experience being bosses, rather than just telling bosses how to run their business.

Slow Learners

The Maritime Union has, as predicted, lost another legal battle. The Maritime Union seems to be struggling with the concept that it is no longer legally able to shut down the ports of a whole country in 1950s style workplace terror attacks. Secondary strikes, sympathy strikes and general strikes are all illegal. This si now the third time they have tried it on, and the third time they have been told to work.

Lyttelton Port has been granted an injunction forcing unionised staff to work on ”blacked” ship Lisa Schulte.

About 150 members of Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) have been called off picket lines, which they had manned since midday following the Employment Court ruling.

The dispute began on Tuesday, when union officials indicated Christchurch members would refuse to work the Lisa Schulte because it had been worked on by non-union staff at Auckland.

MUNZ Lyttelton organiser Les Wells said the action was to show solidarity with Auckland union members.

This morning,?Ports of Auckland?announced?it was making 292 wharfies redundant and forcing them to reapply for their jobs. It would contract out work on its container wharves.

Manning the picket line before the injunction was imposed, MUNZ member Mike Will said: “This is not just about us, but workers all across the country.”

Earlier today port chief executive Peter Davie said the action was a secondary strike, which was illegal.

Despite this Davie said Lyttelton staff were ”really great to work with”.

“This isn’t our fight,” he said.

“We don’t have a fight with our staff. Our staff have been really great to work with.”

What is really disgusting about the action at Lyttelton, apart from being illegal, is that there were may supplies for the rebuild of Christchurch aboard the ship. One of my commenters noted this:

I have a container on the Lisa Schulte.? We urgently need the shipment for urgent Canterbury rebuild work.? If it is held up by illegal strike action, I will be encouraging my shipping company to take action against the illegal strikers for damages.

Haven’t the people of Christchurch suffered enough without the added depredations being visited on them by an uncaring Maritime Union?

It is disgusting that the Maritime Union will hold up re-build intiatives in Chrsitchurch in order to prove a point in Auckland. Luckily our courts are upholding the rule of law.

The Maritime Union and their nasty mates from America who are advising them need to be told to sling their hooks and leave the people of Christchurch alone.

“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.