Ports of Auckland wharfies react

By Abby Gillies

Ports of Auckland strikers. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Ports of Auckland strikers. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Striking workers have reacted with disgust at the Ports of Auckland's announcement that almost 300 workers will be made redundant and will contract out the work.

However, this was not the end of industrial action, they say.

"We're absolutely gutted. We believe 292 are going to be made redundant,'' said union Local 13 executive James Kirkham, speaking from the picket line at the port this morning.

The decision would have a flow-on effect for dairy owners and other businesses that use the ports, as well as "Auckland city as a whole'', he said.

Fellow Local 13 spokesman Russell Mayn agreed, saying the job losses would also have a devastating effect on the families involved.

"It's desperate times. They're all families with mortgages, children, commitments to education.

"At the moment you can look out onto a wharf that's got no ships in it. God knows what they're losing a week.''

He said workers had no choice but to strike after attempts to negotiate for a collective agreement failed.

The union "has a strategy'', said Mr Mayn. He would not reveal what it was but said the industrial action was far from over.

"It ain't going away. We're just warming up.'

- APNZ

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