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Community Spirit: Striking Port Workers Wharfie Working Bee

Friday 2 March 2012

Striking Ports of Auckland Workers are looking for community groups who want a Wharfie Working Bee at their school, marae or community organisation.

Striking Stevedore Rob Powley says that the Ports of Auckland workers have been forced to strike to protect family lives and job security.

"We'd rather be working but the Port company hasn't given us a choice," he says "We want to use our time and our skills to get out and help the community."

Over 300 Ports of Auckland workers endorsed three weeks of strike action which started last Friday.

Workers include qualified builders, plumbers, electricians and mechanics and want to help out at schools, marae or with other community groups completing tasks such as painting, gardening and building.

Rob Powley says that service to the community is part of his life philosophy. Rob has worked at the port for over 45 years and spends his little spare time volunteering in the community for St Johns.

Rob received a Queens birthday honour in 1996 to recognise his over 30 years volunteering to St Johns. He now mentors new St Johns volunteers.

"All of us are heavily involved in the community," he says. "Many of the guys can't do as much anymore because of the hours. We like to give to the community and because we're not currently working it gives us a chance to give back to the communities that are supporting us.'

“Casualising our workplace will make it even harder for us to be involved in our communities because we won't know when we're working. Casualisation hurts communities. All the good work the guys do will end.”

Community groups can register their working bee request at


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