Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Ports should be held to account over business losses

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

The union backing Ports of Auckland workers says the company must be held accountable for the disruption caused by the industrial dispute.

An Auckland Chamber of Commerce survey of 200 businesses reported a combined bottom-line loss of $2 million from the dispute between the council-owned port company and the Maritime Union.

The figure is on top of at least $8m in revenue lost by the company itself, and will be only a portion of the damage the row over failed collective employment negotiations and the port's contracting out plans has inflicted on the economy.

Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said he believed most members of the region's business community were feeling let down by the company's failure to achieve more efficient work practices.

Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe today said the problems identified by the chamber survey were in addition to the impact on workers in related industries like logistics and retail, as well as customers.

"The ports are one of Auckland's most important assets, and they need to be run well on behalf of the city's residents," he said.

"As current guardians of this asset, ports management and governance are frankly not up to the job. They need to be held accountable for the inconvenience and cost to Aucklanders."

The parties would next week seek facilitation from the Employment Relations Authority.

Mr Parsloe said the Maritime Union would be taking all of the facilitator's recommendations seriously.

- APNZ

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