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Timaru Port Workers Issue Strike Notice

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) working at the Port of Timaru have this afternoon issued notice of a 24 hour full strike on 16th December.

RMTU South Island Organiser John Kerr says the decision to issue notice follows on from a ballot of workers overwhelmingly supporting industrial action and the subsequent failure of negotiations last week.

‘We received a mandate from members for strike action anytime from 7th -24th December. The RMTU has been in negotiations for a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) with Prime Port Timaru and Quality Marshalling since May and the employers have made it clear they would prefer not to enter into a MECA and have only offered below inflation adjustments to pay, which in effect are pay cuts. Last week during negotiations there was no amendment to employers’ respective positions on these issues,’ he said.

‘These workers have kept cargo moving across the wharves throughout the pandemic, and as essential workers they want to see recognition of their service to the community and the national economy.’

He says rising living costs are reflected in the latest inflation numbers, and in the continuing rise in the cost of living.

‘The RMTU is claiming an 8% increase to wages at the port, as we are in KiwiRail. This is not unreasonable in the circumstances we find ourselves in. There are more than a couple of weeks before the strike action, which coincides with that notified in KiwiRail and while we are not ruling out issuing further strike notices, we are hopeful we can conclude an agreement with these employers before any industrial action occurs.’ It is not our wish to further disrupt our national supply chains but given the intransigence of the employers we have been left with no choice but to use the one tool at our disposal under the law to effect change in the employers approach and attitude.

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