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Port to lose millions in three week strike

Friday, 24 February 2012 | 00:00
Ports of Auckland is set to lose more than $3 million during an extended three week strike starting tomorrow.
The latest round of industrial action, starting tomorrow at 7am, was originally planned to last two weeks, but the Maritime Union today gave notice of an extra week to start on March 9.
Ports chief executive Tony Gibson said a number of ships will be affected.
"We actually have 16 due over the next week but half of those will move to our multi cargo operation or move to alternative ports," he said.
The two parties have been locked in a dispute about the contracting out of jobs since late last year.
The port's management is offering workers a 10% increase on hourly rates, bonuses of up to 20% and additional benefits such as superannuation, medical insurance and leave provisions.
However, it wants to introduce a more flexible roster system and contract out more than 300 unionised jobs.
Despite several attempts to negotiate a settlement, strike action has been continuing on and off since December and has resulted in the loss of several major shipping contracts at the port.
Helen Kelly from the Council of Trade Unions said the port has been unwilling to compromise.
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"If the port wants more flexibility we're offering them workers who only have a guarantee of three shifts a week and a number of other changes," she said.
But Gibson said the continuing strikes are disrupting any attempts at a resolution.
"Unfortunately, we can't recall a single bargaining round in the last 15 years where MUNZ hasn't taken some kind of industrial action," Gibson said.
Maritime Union national president Garry Parsloe said the port's plans were now losing popularity with politicians and the public.
"The strike notice can be lifted as soon as we hear from the CEO at the port that he will stop the contracting out plan he has embarked on," he said.
He said the union is ready and waiting to engage in negotiations over a collective agreement, as soon as the threat to its members jobs is lifted.
Source: ONE News
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