Port action spreads across Tasman

Striking Ports of Auckland workers. Photo / Natalie Slade
Striking Ports of Auckland workers. Photo / Natalie Slade

Australian port workers are refusing to unload a ship which has been worked on by non-union staff in Auckland, as long-standing industrial action reaches the other side of the Tasman.

Union members at the Ports of Sydney are refusing to unload the Maersk Brani, which docked at 5am today.

The ship left Auckland on Wednesday evening, after being handled by non-union staff.

In a sign of solidarity, union members in Sydney were refusing to unload the ship, and currently had a picket of between 30 to 40 protesters outside the Ports of Sydney, TVNZ reported.

Union members at Wellington and Tauranga last week refused to work on ships which had been loaded by non-union members in Auckland, but a court injunction forced workers at both ports to unload the vessels.

The Maritime Union told the Ports of Auckland this week that it planned on extending the 235 member strike by 14 more days, to six weeks.

This follows the port's decision on Wednesday to make redundant almost 300 workers, including hundreds of strikers, and replace them with contractors.

The Union has made an application to the Employment Court, asking for a ruling on the port's decision.

A six-week consultation period for the redundancy process started yesterday.

Meanwhile, a rally against the redundancy of workers at the ports of Auckland will take place this afternoon.

The 4pm rally will feature speeches from port workers, community leaders and international union supporters, and will end with a 2km march to Teal Park in Mechanics Bay.

Firefighters, teachers and nurses' representatives will join the striking Auckland port workers in today's rally.

Union delegates from America and Australia were also expected at the rally.

- APNZ

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