The Panel with Cameron ‘WhaleOil’ Slater and Richard Barter

Cameron, Richard and Pat talk about Nick Smith, The Ports of Auckland and wearing religious iconography

Gary Parsloe concedes PoA have the right to contract out work…which leaves Auckland with an impasse

Gary Parsloe, the President of the Maritime Union, confirms the Ports of Auckland has the right to contract out jobs however there is no way forward in the dispute between the Ports of Auckland and the Unions.

Now I have extrapolated slightly, but not illogically, from a conversation I had with him this morning.

We spoke for more than 10 minutes of which about half was spent trying to get Mr. Parsloe to answer the question, “Does the Ports of Auckland have the right to contract out the work?” The answers from him ranged from “No” to “We’re challenging it” to “We don’t believe in the way that they have done it” until I was finally able to explain in great details what I was asking him.

“I am not asking you have done it incorrectly? I am asking you do they have the right?”
“Yes they have the right to contract out and even if we’re working they have right to contract out parts of their business.”

An answer, I thought I had better double check…

“We agree then, that the business then, has the right to contract out the work?”

Which moved me onto the part of the conversation that actually interested me.

“If they have the right to do it, what did [the Ports of Auckland] need to do to end up with contracting out the work?”

To which the response was varied, but the theme was definite.

“We don’t want the contracting out!”
“We don’t want it to happen!”

So the Maritime Union, via its President is telling us that they are not going to negotiate around the contracting…they don’t want it and as I said in my interview, come hell or high water they will do what they can to stop it.

Now if you are a Union person you might think this is fair enough, I think it’s at best mischievous…and at worst down right dishonest as all we are hearing from the Union is that the Ports of Auckland are not bargaining “in good faith” that they are not participating in “good bargaining”. I would say that if one side wants to move towards contracting, and that is something that the other side refuses to even discuss, it would be the latter that is not working in good faith.

A couple of other interactions with Gary Parsloe to make sure I was 100% clear

“You don’t want them to contract out the work, so you will do anything to stop them contracting it out.”
“We’re trying to convince them not to.”

“Isn’t the truth you just don’t want to stop the contracting full stop.”
“We don’t want contracting.”

To which we come to the inevitable conclusion

“They have the right to contract, if they want to stick by that right to do, there is an impasse correct?”
“There is an impasse”

City of Auckland…there is an impasse

Click here for full interview Gary Parsloe for WEB

Greed and some other deadly sins at the Ports of Auckland

The Ports of Auckland is currently being held to ransom by it’s workings looking for better pay and conditions. We can never know exactly what the ‘behind the scenes’ conditions are like but let me lay these details on you and you can make your own mind up.

Ports of Auckland has lost $27 million per annum of trade from this strike, that means Auckland City has lost income and the economy of Auckland will be worse off for it. The Maritime Union of New Zealand workers have been in negotiations for better pay and conditions since August 2011. What I want to know is what do they currently get, what have they been offered and what do they want?

According to a Damien Grant article in the NZ Herald on Sunday Port workers currently earn $91,000 per annum and seem to work just 26 hours a week. If this is accurate then that’s an hourly rate of $67.31 per hour…not bad. Without sounding too right wing and judgemental, these workers are typically unqualified and lowly educated. Some of them will have qualifications in areas such as operating special machinery or vehicles, but on the scale of a teacher, nurse or doctor there isn’t too many that would get turned away from this job…if there were any vacancies.

What they are being offered is as follows.

  • A 10% rise on hourly rates.
  • Performance bonuses of up to 20% on hourly rates.
  • Retention of existing entitlements and benefits.
  • And a new roster system that will provide increased operational flexibility while allowing workers to plan their rosters a month in advance.

So that’s a salary of more like $100,000, a bonus scheme which could take the total to more like $120,000, no losses of current entitlements and benefits and more flexibility to plan their work/life balance. Seems a pretty good deal to me.

What do they want? The answer is ‘More!’

I don’t have a problem with people striking, I also don’t have an issue with Unions and how they represent their members. My big issue with this from the Union side of things is that they now have a strangle hold on the Ports of Auckland, they know this strike has cost the Port $27 million so far (let alone what they are losing on a daily basis) and if they keep their foot on the throat the Ports will fold to their every demand. That doesn’t seem like negotiation to me, it seems like thuggery and bully-boy behaviour. How many Kiwi’s would like the chance to earn upwards of $120,000 per annum, in a little or no skilled job. What happens next when the Ports of Auckland lose more business and then need to lay people off due to their workload dropping…what will the Union do for those members then?

The remaining question is this. Is the Maritime Union currently doing what is best for their members? If they are then I guess they should continue this action, if they are not they are ultimately going to hurt the people who employ them to speak on their behalf.