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Govt moves to break Auckland port deadlock

The Employment Relations Authority will soon deliver recommendations to try and break a deadlock in the Auckland port dispute.

Auckland Council-controlled Ports of Auckland (POAL) and the Maritime Union (MUNZ) sought government help in April, after collective agreement bargaining begun in August 2011 led to a series of strikes and lockouts.

Last week they were bickering again, this time over the port company's public release of negotiation documents.

In a report to the parties, released to NBR ONLINE by the port company, government-appointed "facilitator" Alastair Dumbleton says several key issues remain unresolved after six months of negotiation.

"Considerable differences remain between MUNZ and POAL as to the features they each seek for an acceptable roster design and system allocating hours of work.

"Those features and the differences between the parties about them are now likely to be the subject of recommendations the authority is able to give."

Mr Dumbleton says the parties will meet shortly to discuss recommendations.

The port company wants improved productivity and staff utilisation to compete with Port of Tauranga and proved better financial returns.

The union wants protection for union members from contracting out – previously threatened by the port company and the subject of an unresolved union application to the Employment Court.

The Dumbleton report says the port company announced in June it had rescinded its earlier decision to appoint contractors.

While the union wants a trial period for new rosters, the port says trials are not practicable or feasible.

The union's other key concern is the health and safety implications of roster changes to the stevedoring operation.

Three expert reports have been prepared on the issue and Mr Dumbleton says the report by the authority's expert – Associate Professor Sally Ferguson – is "instructive".

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

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Comments and questions

I hope PoAL are ensuring MUNZ have met their minimal legal requirements regarding annual reporting to the Registrar - because if MUNZ are operating illegally, like the Meat Worker Unions have been - then surely PoAL and Auckland Rate Payers could launch a Class Action suit against MUNZ for the losses inflicted by their illegal actions?

Surely the ERA will not allow an illegally operating 3rd party entity to hold Auckland Rate Payers to ransom?

Anyone know if MUNZ are now fully complying with their statutory reporting requirements? Or are they in breach of the law?

No they haven't. It is in MUNZ interest to settle quickly..just like meat workers have disclosed hidden losses and millions of extra income.

it is time the POAL management go, they have showed to much imcompetance in this issue and are costing the rate payers of Auckland a lot of money in this dispute by not sorting it. Leaking information on workers, and other unprofessional act going on behind the scenes is well and truly pathetic. Casualisation is not the way this country should be going and job security is important. I support these workers and hope an agreement is sorted soon

It's obvious that MUNZ wants to continue its feaher-bedding practises.

Because Rodney Hide says so doesn't mean it is so.MUNZ has always met its legal obligations and is not afraid of scrutiny.POAL on the other hand have blatanlty abused the use of public funds and have consistantly breached the law and assumed the role of unaccountability to anyone they think they are above the law.Almost 30 million spent on consultants and union busters. 50+ million in lost revenue all for what to smash a union.From Pearson down they need to go.

No they haven't you should read Whale oil. You are saying they spent 30m on consultants to smash a union. Absolute rubbish ... Prove it

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