POAL pay facts

Inventory2 has blogged at Keeping Stock the comment left on another blog by Ports of Auckland Ltd relating to the earnings for stevedores or wharfies. The key points are:

  • average remuneration for a full-time stevedore $91,480
  • average remuneration for a part-time (guaranteed 24 hrs a week) stevedore $65,518
  • 53% of FT stevedores earned over $80,000 and 28% over $100,000
  • The highest annual remuneration was $122,000
  • Stevedores also get 15 days sick leave per annum (triple the minimum) accumulating to 45 days (two months if continuous) and five weeks annual leave
  • All training for stevedore tasks is done in-house, paid for by the company
  • Stevedores who earned the average $91,000 worked an average of 43 hours a week, or 49 hours a week if you factor in leave.
  • 35% of hours paid are for when there is no work to be done, so those 43 paid hours, on average only 28 hours are actually worked.
  • This means the effective pay per hour worked is an average of $62.50 per hour ($91,000/52/28).
  • At Port of Tauranga which has an 80% labour utilisation rate, stevedores get paid from when the ship arrives to when it leaves. At Auckland they get paid in eight hour blocks, even if the ship is only there for two hours.
  • These figures are not inflated by redundancy payments

Incidentially POAL, in response to a question about how Cactus Kate had these figures, revealed that she simply e-mailed and asked for them.

This highlights for me the value of blogging. Because Kate took the time to send a simple e-mail, now most New Zealanders know about the average pay of wharfies in Auckland, as the figure has been widely reported since she blogged it.

I have to say $62.50 an hour is a pretty good pay rate for a job where all training is done on the job – no qualifications or skills needed. One can see why the union is fighting so hard to keep a system where you get paid for 43 hours a week, despite there being only 28 hours of work. It forces POAL to hire more people than they really need, and ironically penalise POAL for being efficient. If they turn a ship around more quickly (say by investing in better cranes), they still have to pay staff for eight hours work.

What I would do if I was a clever stevedore is offer POAL a contract where if they finish a ship early, they get paid a bonus, or a higher hourly rate. That way they both win.

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