Auckland local board members have waded into the bitter dispute between the Ports of Auckland and striking workers, issuing an unprecedented statement urging management to drop plans to outsource jobs.
The Maritime Union yesterday issued its sixth strike notice in the ongoing industrial dispute, with workers to strike for 24 hours from 7am on January 31.
The union said it would consider calling off the strike if management allowed all union members to meet at the same time, which it has so far refused to do.
The strike comes as the council-owned port looks to replace some of the 330 union jobs with private contractors.
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Auckland local board members have now waded into the dispute, with 28 members from 10 boards yesterday uniting to call for Ports of Auckland to return to good faith bargaining.
The members said they supported the company's operational independence but the dispute had "escalated to a strategic level".
"We are particularly concerned that actions being taken by Port management, including what appears to be a pre-determined strategy to contract out port jobs, are inflaming matters," the members said.
"... We recognise the need for competitive levels of operational efficiency at the port. But Port management's proposal to fire a skilled workforce and contract out their jobs to an external provider, with few work-life balance protections for employees and their families, is not the best way to achieve this."
The members also expressed concern the dispute was being used as a "wedge" by some councillors and interest groups to promote privatisation.
"We support Mayor Len Brown's unequivocal pro-public ownership platform, and believe the Port CEO would be well advised to publicly support it too."