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Ports Of Auckland Management COVID-19 Story "embarrassing"

The Maritime Union says claims by Ports of Auckland that Government quarantine regulations are to blame for their failures are embarrassing and should be withdrawn.

A POAL spokesperson complained on Mike Hosking's Breakfast Radio show yesterday about a "maze like process" to import crane operators.

The spokesperson said "We have to fill out heaps of forms and wait weeks, and it would be great if someone could help speed up everything."

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the problem is POAL management.

He says the shortage of crane operators in Auckland came about because the port company has not trained enough staff over the last couple of years and has relied on workers doing excessive hours.

"If they had maintained their workforce, they wouldn't have a problem. No other Port is in this ridiculous situation they have got Auckland into.

The Union believes there could be up to 19 current employees at the Ports of Auckland who have previously driven the container cranes at the Ports of Auckland who are currently carrying supervisory roles within the company who could be redeployed into the role.

Mr Harrison says he believes there were options to transfer workers in from other ports temporarily, and the Union had previously assisted with this process in the past.

He says past employees of the Ports of Auckland are being declined employment as stevedores even though they operated machinery still in use (Editor’s note: see below for company email to experienced job applicant.)

It was disturbing the Port Company seemed to be bringing into question the strict quarantine procedures that were keeping New Zealanders safe as COVID-19 ravaged the rest of the world, he says.

The port management is focused on an automation process that had dragged on for years and is still not working, he says.

“Port management need to be honest with New Zealand about whether they have exhausted all options available to the company within New Zealand.”

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