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Further action at Lyttelton Port as company keeps stalling

Crew tugs and pilot boats will be out of action from 26 to 29 April at Lyttleton Port, after port workers issued further strike notices following another week of no progress on settling their collective agreement.

“The company still will not budge on fair pay and safe rosters,” says John Kerr, South Island organiser for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. “So our members have instructed us to apply further pressure.”

This extends the previous notice which covered 20 to 24 April. Ships will not be able to enter or leave the port between those dates.

“The key issues are still equity and safety,” says John Kerr. “Half our members work in security, maintenance and marine services, alongside colleagues who are paid more than them for doing exactly the same jobs on the same terms.

“The other half work as cargo handlers who LPC wants to force onto unsafe rosters as a condition of being paid the same as their colleagues.”

This week, RMTU representatives met with Lyttelton Port Company and an international expert on fatigue from Massey University who identified several gaps in the management of fatigue at the port.

“The link between rostering and fatigue is clear,” says John Kerr. “Fatigure can result in serious harm or death in this industry.

“Our members just want to be safe and healthy at work, and be paid the same as their co-workers doing the same job.

“We’ve done everything we can to resolve this dispute through dialogue and negotiation but it takes two parties to negotiate,” says John Kerr. “The company needs to step up.”

“We have nine days before the strike begins, and we remain hopeful a settlement can be reached.”


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