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Port stands firm on contracting out

Published: 6:17PM Wednesday March 21, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Port of Auckland (Source: ONE News)
    Port of Auckland - Source: ONE News

Ports of Auckland says its move to halt the contracting out of nearly 300 jobs is only temporary.

The ports had planned to make 292 workers redundant and contract out their jobs after a long-running industrial dispute.

Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe said tonight the port had agreed to go back to the bargaining table and had put a stop to plans to contracting out.

However the port has since said while the plans have been put on hold for four weeks, it had "not in any way" backed down from its position on contracting out.

The port last week agreed with the Employment Court not to take further steps in the redundancy process or engage with contractors until after a judicial settlement conference was held.

Minutes from the conference released today said: "The defendant [Ports of Auckland] will take no further steps to implement the proposal to make the plaintiff's members redundant."

The minutes went on to say: "The defendant will not employ or engage Drake Personnel Limited or Allied Workforce Limited, or any other person to perform the work of striking employees."

Ports of Auckland said in a statement it has been encouraged by the judge to return to mediation and is doing so in "good faith".

The port said it planned to discuss the striking workers applying for positions with the contracting companies in the mediation session.

Parsloe said the union's main focus will now be to get a settlement for a new collective agreement.

"Whether this board and port management are capable of working constructively to rebuild the battered and damaged relationship with port workers who they have besmirched at every opportunity and settle a fair collective is an unanswered question," he said.

Parsloe said the Auckland Council, which owns the port, needs to ensure port management gets the port "back on track".

Mayor Len Brown said in a statement that his preference has always been that "both parties reach a sustainable collective agreement".

Aucklanders simply want their port fully operational again, said Brown, adding that the port cannot be run out of the mayor's office.

"I cannot fix this dispute for either side."