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Mayor writes to Ports company and union

29 November 2012

Mayor writes to Ports company and union

The Mayor has written to the parties involved in the industrial dispute at the Ports of Auckland advising them of his expectation that they abide by the recommendations of the facilitator in the dispute.

“This dispute has dragged on for over a year. The union and port management entered into a facilitation process to try to resolve their differences. Having entered into the process, it is incumbent on both parties to see that through to its end,” says Len Brown.

“I expect that the facilitator's recommendation should allow the parties to settle. It is likely to require some give and take, but the recommendations of the facilitator should be accepted by both sides.

“While the council owns Ports of Auckland Limited via Auckland Council Investments, it is a stand-alone operation and operates on a fully commercial basis. The council cannot and should not intervene in the dispute. However, I do not want to see more disruption at the port. I have conveyed that message to both parties in a letter today.

“As an employer, Auckland Council supports collective agreements. We also know that the nature of modern international shipping, with larger vessels requiring speedy turnarounds, requires flexibility and innovation. These are not incompatible.

“The port is an important investment for the Auckland Council and a vital piece of transport infrastructure for the Auckland and New Zealand economy. Both sides in this dispute need to work together to implement the recommendations of the facilitator to settle and ensure the smooth running of the port.”

The facilitator is expected to release his recommendations shortly after discussions with the ports company and the union have concluded.

Click here to read the Mayor’s letter to Ports of Auckland and the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

How long have the parties been bargaining?

Bargaining on a new collective agreement started in August 2011 with extensive assistance provided by the Mediation Service. Industrial action took place from December 2011.

How long has the facilitation process been in progress?

Facilitation provided under the Employment Relations Act 2000 commenced with the union and the employer on 8 May 2012. The process has continued since then with regular meetings between the parties and the facilitator.

What has been achieved?

The parties have identified many of the terms of conditions of employment on which agreement can be reached, however several key issues remain unresolved including rostering and contracting.

What are the next steps?

Both the company and the union remain willing to continue with facilitation, the statutory objective of which is to assist parties to resolve difficulties in concluding a collective agreement. The facilitator is expected to release his recommendations shortly after discussions with the ports company and the union have concluded.

ENDS

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