I later worked as a fitter’s mate in British construction. My workmates would lie, cheat, steal and engage in industrial sabotage. The crew I was part of stole an entire Landrover. That was no mean feat: we were on an island in the North Sea.
We were building a gas stripping plant at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands.I regularly saw metal scraps tossed into one-metre gas pipes as they were welded up. That was to ensure maintenance work once construction was finished.
Both Lyttelton Port and Sullom Voe were union-controlled. The control was maintained through bullying and violence. I was threatened that a spanner could fall on my head; an English welder had both legs and both arms broken for not following union dictates.
The way I saw it, the bosses got us to do what they wanted by paying us. That suited me. But union bosses got us to do what they wanted through thuggery and violence. I didn’t like it. And I didn’t like them.
This is referred to as the “good old days” amongst the union leaders.
Auckland has a beating heart. It’s the port. And it’s in trouble.
It lost Maersk’s Southern Star services to the Port of Tauranga last December. Fonterra followed in January. That’s $25 million in revenue gone. That’s 15 per cent of the port’s total revenue.
Ten years ago, Auckland handled double the containers that Tauranga did. Now they’re on par. Tauranga is set to pass Auckland.
Tauranga has the flexibility and efficiency that Auckland lacks.
Auckland Port’s dividend to Auckland Council is $20 million. A proper roster would double it. That’s equivalent to a 1.5 per cent rate cut. But the real gain would be to Auckland businesses, jobs and wages. …
The Maritime Union have proved the port bosses’ point through the negotiations several times over. They have gone on strike 12 times. And the port says productivity went up. Every time.
Tauranga is a shining example of a mixed ownership model. The staff are shareholders and are happy. They take pride in completing jobs efficiently.