Last night on 3 News they interviewed a couple of staff working at the Port of Tauranga. What a stark difference it was to the Ports of Auckland. They talked of a culture of getting the job done, and even pride about increasing efficiency. An extract:
Throughout the Auckland dispute, the Port Of Tauranga has been held up as an example of how Auckland could operate – profits are at a record high, and the port seems to have a contented workforce which gets the job done quickly and efficiently.
David Hone has worked at the port for 18 years and, like 90 percent of employees, is a shareholder in the company.
He says “working in a place that you’re part owner [of]” means he’s more invested in the success of the business.
It’s one of the key reasons the port is so successful, according to chief executive Mark Cairns.
“If you have a stake in a company your behaviour changes when you’re an employee,” he says.
I’m a huge fan of employees being shareholders, and POT seem to be a great example of how well this can work. It is such a shame that Mike Lee a few years back deprived POAL employees of this opportunity.
Profits and efficiency do not need to be the enemy of having a happy workforce. It is just when dinosaur unions get in the way, that it does not happen. Look what has happened at POAL since the unionised staff went off the job:
Ports of Auckland chairman Richard Pearson says flexible rosters increase productivity and the 50 non-union workers have proved that.
“We’re operating at a 25 percent production improvement on what we were achieving 3 or 4 weeks ago before the strike,” he says.
“They don’t want to go slow so they can get another shift, they just want to work.”
Imagine the incentive at the moment. If you can delay a ship for another 90 minutes, then you get an extra eight hours pay.
There’s a lot of focus at the moment on the possible expansion of the Port into the harbour more. POAL makes the point that if they can lift labour productivity by a conservative 20% it would give them the equivalent of two new berths, allowing the Port to accommodate five extra ship calls each week.