Maritime Union succeeds in getting their workers sacked

March 7th, 2012 at 12:56 pm by David Farrar

After weeks and months of strikes, and a growing loss of business to other ports, it was inevitable that would go down the only viable path left to them, which is contracting out.

The Herald reports:

Ports of Auckland said the decision to introduce “competitive stevedoring ” was partly the result of the impact of long running industrial action on its business.

Redundancies would begin later next week, with striking staff encouraged to apply for new positions, he said.

“This decision has not been made lightly, but we believe it is vital to ensuring a successful and sustainable future for the Port, including protecting jobs over the long term,” he said.

Ports of Auckland Chairman Richard Pearson said the company’s priority was to win back lost business.

“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.

One can’t continue with a situation where you get paid for 43 hours and only actually work 28.

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52 Responses to “Maritime Union succeeds in getting their workers sacked”

  1. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    Interesting to see the general mood on Stuff comments. Most seem rather unsympathetic to the union workers.
    Helen Kelly is using fighting words against Len Brown too, now, telling him via NatRadio to “get his shit together”. :)

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  2. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Ehhhhxcellent.
    Smithers, release the hounds!

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  3. sifty (23 comments) says:

    Good fucking job! I have just been listening to the head of the union talking on Radio Live.What a plonker.Seems like he would like widespread nationwide strikes from other unions in support of his members. Its absolutely ridiculous that these guys who are basically unskilled can be payed more per hour they actually work than a hospital medical specialist with a minimum of 11 years of training .

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  4. markra (200 comments) says:

    Looking at the level of union membership and the increase of individual contracts, combined with unenployment levels and labour imported from overseas, I can see return to 19th century sweat shops in this country. Its still got a way to go but it’s heading in the right direction.

    What this move tells you is if you dare belong to a Union you will be fired and be out of work.

    Why don’t the Port of Auckland import labour from China. I am sure it will be a fraction of what you would pay here.

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  5. double d (225 comments) says:

    draw the short straw today Markra?

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  6. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    markra –

    There’s no union for what I do. So if I want to get paid, I have to turn up to work. Pretty unfair, eh?

    If I don’t like working here, I can leave any time and go somewhere else.

    And NEWSFLASH – I’m not in a “sweat shop” and no-one’s sacking me.

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  7. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    From Stuff:

    “Port chairman Richard Pearson said contractors lined up to bid for the stevedoring work had already had 50 to 60 applications from jobseekers and the three firms had indicated they would have no problem recruiting staff.”

    What a bunch of idiots. Hopefully people in this country will finally see the Union for what it is. A bunch of self serving wankers who have no interest in working with employers regardless of whether it costs their members jobs. Oh well hopefully some people who really want to work get a job at POA.

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  8. Rich Prick (1,701 comments) says:

    “What this move tells you is if you dare belong to a Union you will be fired and be out of work.”

    Err, no, what it actually says is that if you belong to a union that puts union interests ahead of its members’ interests, strike over unreasonable demands and generally behave like a bunch of arseholes, you won’t last too long.

    A brilliant outcome just the same though.

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  9. realize (21 comments) says:

    There is no way that I would ever join a union. I’m very good at what I do and I want to be paid accordingly, not shackled down to the pay level of the lowest-common-denominator incompetents.

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  10. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    What this move tells you is if you dare belong to a Union you will be fired and be out of work.

    Is that really how this news sounds after passing through the filter of your own arse cheeks?

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  11. SHG (316 comments) says:

    Given that this dispute has turned into a total clusterf*ck with the union looking like idiots and the employers getting exactly what they wanted, I just knew Helen Kelly would be involved somewhere.

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  12. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    That this is not about “oppressing the workers” rather standing up to a 1970s Union, will be proven when most of the ‘sacked’ workers are voluntarily re-hired as contractors. Bye bye Union. Many workers will be better off.

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  13. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    One can’t continue with a situation where you get paid for 43 hours and only actually work 28

    Yeah, none of our polititians must aspire to become stevedor’s :)

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  14. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    Job security starts with turning up for work. This is work-ethic 101. If the families are so concerned about their mortgages and grocery bills, they should tell hubby to go back to work. This is not rocket science. If you don’t turn up to work for weeks at a time, your employer is going to go down the path of firing and replacing you – as soon as is legally possible.

    This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The union workers have undermined their own incomes, and it’s nobody’s fault but their own. If they now can’t pay their mortgage, then tough fucking biscuits.

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  15. Rich Prick (1,701 comments) says:

    I suppose a collateral benefit is that the BBQ bio-hazard risk reduces too. Expect a surge in litter box sales for home use.

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  16. Mark (496 comments) says:

    MUNZ must be the dumbest union on the planet – this was going to be the only result and the preferred to see their members jobs contracted out rather than freeing up work practices on the wharf.

    If I was a union member I would want all my membership fees paid back that I had put into the union as the union has cost them their jobs.

    Doubt that the union will take any responsibiity though and apologise. Cowards.

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  17. wreck1080 (3,912 comments) says:

    The workers talk about how tough their job is, not knowing when they will be needed and the unpredictability of working hours. That seems to be their main justification for their extremely high wages (probably amongst the highest paid in the country for unskilled labour).

    Give me a break, I’ve worked in some really really bad jobs when I was a young adult. Dirty, noisy, dangerous and extremely tedious factory type jobs. I’d have killed to get work that paid the type of money that port labourers receive.

    I wouldn’t have cared about the hours, when you’re young you can adapt your social life accordingly. Just maybe, port work is not for 9-5 family people. But, for different types of people it would suit perfectly.

    Just maybe these port workers should find jobs more suited to their current lifestyle. Rather than getting paid silly money to do work that does not suit their lifestyle.

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  18. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    MUNZ are munted then. Good riddance. Unions why?

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  19. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    If youre good at what you do – why on earth would you want to be paid the same as everyone else??

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  20. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Despite the predictions to the contrary from the ‘know-all’ element on KB, this decision to contract out was totally predictable – it was only a matter of the POA working through the correct process and making sure that their right to manage their own business cannot be challenged via the courts.

    It’s a pity for the employees who may really want to work but who have been carried along by the actions of the militant Maritime Union (and the lack of secret ballots to decide strike action). Another case of (bad) actions having (predictable) consequences.

    But the POA will be happy in the knowledge there’ll be no shortage of applicants for the jobs.

    And for Parsloe / MUNZ / Helen Kelly – this is simply further proof that they’re out of touch with reality in the year 2012.

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  21. plebe (271 comments) says:

    The smiles might be wiped of the faces of the RICH pricks that run POA (dosnt the CEO earn $700000 )a year, when the unions in Australia, blacklist NZ ships. They dont need our food(thats all we produce these days) as CANDYFLOSS key has managed to give all our manufacturing to his communist chinese mates.
    opps i hear the unions in the USA will ban ships from dorkland

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  22. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Just had to check out the standard.

    “Dumbarse port management and owners”

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha

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  23. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Plebe – yeah, you keep that rich = bad meme going if you like.

    Keep reaching up to pull those crabs back into the bucket.

    Personally, I’d rather my kids grow up rich, so I’ll be encouraging success as a good thing.

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  24. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    GOOD JOB!
    This is the **best** news to come out of Auckland for years!

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  25. big bruv (13,888 comments) says:

    Great stuff, a comprehensive win for the forces of good against the forces of scum and evil.

    Now…next on the list must be the teachers union.

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  26. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    POAL’s strategic objective from the very first day of this dispute. The union were played like a fish.

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  27. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    plebe (242) Says:
    March 7th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    The smiles might be wiped of the faces of the RICH pricks that run POA (dosnt the CEO earn $700000 )a year, when the unions in Australia, blacklist NZ ships.

    They dont need our food

    (thats all we produce these days) as CANDYFLOSS key has managed to give all our manufacturing to his communist chinese mates.
    opps i hear the unions in the USA will ban ships from dorkland

    Shows how bloody dimb you really are. Wonder if you have noticed that 75% of NSW, large parts of Queensland and Victoria are currenly under water.
    Now its even obvious that you are too lazy to be a gardner cause if you were you would know the SFA grows under flood water.
    Crops all across the states are rubbished. Veges’ etc are becoming scarce. Upside for us is we can and will supply them even if its not through the docks.
    As for the USA. Most of those guys are bordering broke and there will be plenty to move cargo around. BP Shipping today issued the glomiest shipping report since the depression in the 30’s. Work on the wharves in the USA is grinding to a slow pace.
    Can’t feed the kids on nothing.
    The clever dicks in the USA are in for their lesson.

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  28. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Where does this family man mortgage stuff come from?
    The fellow interviewed on telly tonight said quite clearly that he was 64 and would retire, almost certianly with a huge redundancy package and huge super. How much more do the greedy rich pricks want?
    Parsloe is 72 and many of the others are in the same category.
    Those that aren’t can save their union fees, knuckle down and learn to work.

    There are plenty of that age who get to retire on way less than these slobs.

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  29. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’d be interested to know what Big Bruv thinks will be done about the teacher’s union. Unions BTW; NZEI and PPTA.

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  30. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    V2

    I think Parsloe is about 38 and from Mosgil or some other international port city.

    Its that his rhetoric is so old fashioned you’ve mistaken his age.

    I love the wharfies talking about the uncertainity of getting called into work, they have obviously never been a contractor .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  31. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    So those who think that one swallow a summer makes celebrate. Other interesting calls on this situation, about the ports working against each other to the ultimate benefit of the shipping companies, the Auckland port expansion plans put into deep idle and calls for the Auckland wharf to be shut down. Notwithstanding the summer has already gone, the port isn’t fully working and I don’t think MUNZ can be counted out just yet. But one thing for certain the economy suffers.

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  32. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    China is NZ’s largest export market (it’s now bigger than Australia).

    I don’t think we need to worry about reciprocal strikes on Chinese wharves any time soon!!

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  33. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Excellent, lazy neanderthals got what’s coming to them.

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  34. RF (1,397 comments) says:

    Hi ho it’s back to work we go.

    Just heard that those potential drop kick strikers in Lyttelton have had their arses handed on a plate.

    Major fail by our Unions. David Shearer did not help their cause when talking to Larry Williams tonight. Came across as a complete fuck wit not up to speed.

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  35. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    i would not be so cocky that this dispute is over just yet.

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  36. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    I’m not sure why you are suggesting the teacher unions should be next on the list. The MUNZ was representing low-skilled workers making 90k a year for 28 hours a week work. Teachers make between $47,000 and $71,000/year for getting at least 4 years of univeristy education including a post-grad qualification and then working an average of 48 hours a week (not including taking extra-curriculars. For example I take 2 sports teams and a debate team on top of my normal workload). The MUNZ went on weeks of full strikes, the PPTA has never taken more than a single day strike and the NZEI has never taken a strike day at all. Last year both unions accepted pay increases well below the inflation rate and the average increase private sector workers got. So why exactly are they a big evil enemy to be destoyed?

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  37. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Yet more proof that Helen Kelly is so out of touch.

    I watched the video dairy of the Hobbit production. The moving of crew from location to location. The truck Drivers, Caterers, film crews, prop workers, riggers. The sheer amount of work that was going on, by so many people, and Helen Kelly didn’t care if this film was made here or not.

    Parsloe and Kelly are of the same ilk. Fealty to their “comrades” is far more important than the big picture. Of course, that fealty is more aligned to self interest than collective good, but I wonder if they actually can make that distinction themselves?

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  38. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    POA is not a business
    It is a primarily publicly owned and controlled entity that has a Social Imperative. The “management” foolishly have embraced a cognitiveley dissonant view otherwise.
    Sack the fools – ..

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  39. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    I don’t think this dispute is over yet either. But what actually are the rules around sacking people who strike?

    Does our law treat striking the same as not showing up for work, or does striking convey some special status? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the latter.

    In normal employment, you can’t just skive off for leave without permission – taking a day off without permission would be cause for a written warning, and if you kept doing it you can be legally sacked (that’s my understanding anyway). The last employment contract I signed specifically said that failure to show up for 2 consecutive days was grounds for instant dismissal.

    I’m sure the port has done their homework on this, but our employment laws are pretty heavily slanted in the employee’s favour.

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  40. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    But what actually are the rules around sacking people who strike?

    They arent being sacked. They are being made redundant. They will get healthy pay outs, and most will likely get rehired on still generous contracts that also provide the company with the efficient workforce they have needed and lacked for years.

    The redundancy payouts will cost the company millions of dollars (that comes straight from the owners capital by the way), and this decision is STILL cheaper than carrying on the way they were.

    Just laugh in the faces of the people saying the 300 families affected will be lining up at WINZ in short order to claim the dole. The redundancy payments will be worth many months of income, more than enough time to find other work (assuming they dont start back at the port in a couple weeks, of course).

    And of course the Union agitators will find it tough to get a new contract. They have been fucking liabilities costing the company their revenue, clients, and market position, and costing the owners a just return on their capital. To them I say, go get a job where you get paid for creating value for someone else, instead of merely being in a position to destroy value others have created.

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  41. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    A couple of days ago I rang an Aussie Insurance Co (Ray White Ltd) and asked to speak to the CEO.

    “Oh, he doesn’t take CALLS,” the girl said brightly.

    “Is he in?” asked I, “or playing golf?”.

    The girl giggled.

    Still I guess if I had a name like Terry Towell, I wouldn’t either.

    So, David, how about finding out how much the CEO of Auckland Ports is paid and how many hours he works.

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  42. Griff (7,698 comments) says:

    Kimble

    I would love to see that in the contract its probably sugar coated like
    **educated guess**
    8 weeks first year service 2 weeks each year after
    paid on previous years gross earnings divided by 52
    Sick pay and holiday pay
    Super paid with full entitlement

    Thirteen week stand down for the dole
    Some would be unemployable

    hefty sum

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  43. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    So, David, how about finding out how much the CEO of Auckland Ports is paid and how many hours he works.

    We will let you know as soon as he goes on strike and cries poverty to justify it.

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  44. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    None of this is good news if you are an importer..As the chap on Morning report said the other day..”Another day , another industrial dispute.” Just same old , same old from the Nats. Us oldies have seen it all before. Yawn.

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  45. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “So, David, how about finding out how much the CEO of Auckland Ports is paid and how many hours he works.’

    Find out yourself – it would most likely be disclosed in the Annual Report financials. But don’t get Penny Not-so to help you – she’ll cock up the numbers again.

    How many hours does he work? It doesn’t matter – he isn’t on strike.

    Next question?

    Zzzzzzz …

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  46. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Elaycee, if the CEO was actually super-efficient, and mega-productive, and managed to do an entire years work in 3 months, the Unionists would claim he was overpaid.

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  47. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Agree, Kimble – and given some of the crap he has to deal with in the form of the militant Maritime Union, he should actually be paid more! :D

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  48. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Kimble, if an ordinary worker was so good he did his entire year’s work in three months would he get the next nine off for fishing and golf?

    Yes, Elaycee, it DOES matter he is contracting out which will lead to a loss of jobs.

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  49. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    And just for good measure, Brian Rudman weighs in. No prizes for guessing which side he’s on:

    “Mayor Len Brown is supposed to provide the united voice Auckland so long lacked. But when the bosses of the city-owned port company went feral and fired nearly 300 workers, where was our leader?”

    Yes Brian, they “went feral”. FFS, what does that even mean? They went from being domesticated to being wild or untamed? What are you talking about?

    And – ahem – they didn’t “fire” nearly 300 workers. They made them redundant. Big difference.

    Mind you, Brian does make one point worth further consideration:

    ‘… Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns telling the 2007-2009 Royal Commission on Auckland Governance that because of an excess of ports, the New Zealand port industry “performs very poorly from a financial perspective” with the fierce competition leading to “considerable over-investment” by local government-owned port companies, leading to returns “well below the cost of capital”.’

    Too many ports? So … shut down half the ports in NZ. Problem sorted. That’ll make you happy, won’t it Brian?

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  50. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Kimble, if an ordinary worker was so good he did his entire year’s work in three months would he get the next nine off for fishing and golf?

    And you prove my point. When it became known that he got those results, how much would he be paid by someone else? He could do 4 times as much as any other worker, are they going to pay him the same amount per hour? Hardly. He might not earn the full years salary, but he would get more than just 3 months.

    Unless, of course, your precious Unions went on strike to prevent him being employed, thereby “saving” the jobs of 3 of their mates.

    Yes, Elaycee, it DOES matter he is contracting out which will lead to a loss of jobs.

    By that rationale, everyone’s income is relevant to everyone else, and should be disclosed. When you change barbers do you disclose your benefit to your old one?

    And a loss of jobs? So the number of jobs he is contracting out (I reckon it didnt occur to you that those were actual jobs too, by lets assume it did) are fewer than the existing jobs? What reason is there to take it as axiomatic that this is a bad thing?

    Would you hire two people to do the work of one?

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  51. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “Yes, Elaycee, it DOES matter he is contracting out which will lead to a loss of jobs.”

    Oh, total bollocks. The remuneration of the CEO is totally irrelevant. He is employed by the Board to do a job. The Board is appointed by the owners – the Auckland Council on behalf of the ratepayers. If the CEO doesn’t do the job he is tasked to do, he is terminated. But if he is required to increase productivity to match that at (say) the Port of Tauranga, then that is his immediate goal. And if the Union decides that they don’t like the proposed productivity gains and they want to strike, then the CEO has EVERY right to plot a course to make the lot redundant and to engage a contractor. (After completion of the consultation process, of course).

    You see, Peter, the POAL as the employer has the RIGHT to decide how they want to conduct their business and who they employ. And MUNZ has no right to decide who will next be employed. Zero. Nil. Nada. Zip. Such decisions should rest solely with the business owners and managers – in this case the POA.

    So this has reached a totally predictable outcome – the MUNZ workers will be made redundant and a contractor will come in and pick and choose from the applicants who they want to employ. And if they pick wisely, they’ll have a happy, productive work force similar to that at the Post of Tauranga.

    Welcome to the real world in 2012.

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  52. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    [Edit 1.14: 'Post of Tauranga' should read Port of Tauranga. Damn auto correct..... ].

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