Richard Pearson

Wharfies Strike in Hong Kong

photo-1

Wharfies in Hong Kong are striking for a 17% pay rise. They make the POAL wharfies look reasonable…until you look at their pay rates.

They want their daily rate raised to HK$1600 or $246 per day…their monthly salary is reported as HKS21,000 or $3234 meaning they earn HK$252000 per annum or $38,798.  Read more »

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.

Threats of Violence Prevent Return

NZ Herald

There is a menacing air hanging over the Ports of Auckland today. Not without some justification, the Ports of Auckland is refusing to let union heavies back onto the wharf. All they need to do is look through the Facebook pages of union strikers and see the threats, both overt and implied about what they are going to do the “scabs” when they get back on the wharf.

Locked-out Auckland wharfies will not be allowed to return to work until the port company is satisfied its non-union workers are safe from intimidation and threats of violence, board chairman Richard Pearson says.

Ports of Auckland yesterday issued a two-week notice of an indefinite lockout just a day after scrapping plans to sack 292 workers and replace them with non-unionised contract workers.

The lockout comes after the Maritime Union yesterday lifted its strike notice and sought an immediate return to work.

Mr Pearson today said a decision on when union members could return to work would be made after talks with the union this morning.

“We are obviously concerned about our staff that are already working at the port, they have been subjected to much intimidation and threats of physical violence,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“That’s our first priority … to make sure that they’re looked after, because the last thing we want is a situation down at that port which would just be a huge health and safety risk.”

It certainly looks like trouble is brewing at the Port, so much so that on two cameras there is a sizeable Police contingent. It look however that the Maritime Union cannot muster the numbers they had at the start of their strike action. They are going to have to start explaining where all the members have gone.

Ramblin’ Man

Ahead of his first appearance for the year on Q+A tomorrow, I’ve made a montage from the highlights of Mr Invisible’s first few months as Labour Leader.

On the first Q+A of 2012 this Sunday (9am, TV ONE), new Labour leader David Shearer gives his first extended television interview as he starts re-positioning his party for a new era.

What does he – and his Labour party – stand for? What’s his vision for New Zealand? And does he have the chops to take on and defeat John Key’s National-led government? David Shearer is live with new Q+A interviewer Shane Taurima.

Then, the Ports of Auckland dispute – is it over or has it just begun? And what roles does Auckland City have in this destructive industrial battle? Paul Holmes talks to Maritime Union boss Gary Parsloe, Ports of Auckland Chair Richard Pearson and Auckland mayor Len Brown. What’s behind this dispute and what’s next?

The song is Ramblin’ Man.. featuring David… Um… Shearer.

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”.