12 March 2012
Ports of Auckland Action Is Unacceptable, Says Social Justice Commission
The chair of the Anglican Church’s Social Justice Commission says the action by the Ports of Auckland to leave the negotiating table and dismiss all unionised port workers is unacceptable.
Bishop Muru Walters says the action by the Ports of Auckland highlights to us the low value that it places upon its own labour force.
“There are many bottom lines in business. One of the most important is the welfare of workers. We are quick enough to highlight labour market atrocities overseas, but less quick to notice them in our own back yard.”
Bishop Walters says the desire to casualise the labour force is of grave concern because of the implications to other industries, particularly unionised industries.
“The importance of genuine collective bargaining and negotiating is vital if the voice and best interests of the workforce are to be protected in an economy that continues to favour top earners and the mighty dollar”.
Walters is the Maori Bishop of the Wellington region and he believes the Government should step in.
“At a time when this Government is pursuing policies it says are aimed intentionally at reducing vulnerability in families and for children, the silence from them around this issue is as surprising as the economic and employment policies that allow this kind of situation to arise, so soon as it did after the last election. We cannot sit by and witness the deliberate creation of vulnerable families.
Despite living in Wellington, Bishop Walters will join the workers on the picket line later this week.
“I am a bishop from the north. When people in the north hurt, I hurt. When their security is put under threat, so is mine. I will stand in solidarity with the workers on the picket line. We need to remember that people are the most important thing: the security of families and especially children.”