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Week long strike announced at ports of Auckland

Published: 5:50AM Thursday February 09, 2012 Source: ONE News

Ports of Auckland wharfies have announced a new week-long strike as part of an ongoing dispute about pay and conditions.

More than 300 employees have been striking since December against proposed changes to their working hours and moves by Ports of Auckland to outsource work.

The Maritime Union said this afternoon that there will be a seven day full strike starting at 7am on February 24.

Union president Garry Parsloe says the industrial action is a response to the imminent threat to workers livelihoods.

"The port company is planning to make our members redundant and contract out their jobs," he said.

"This casualisation exercise is a direct attack on conditions of work and secure, permanent jobs."

The Maritime Union expects 330 workers to be made redundant and has condemned the move to outsource.

The strike announced today is in addition to a partial notice already in place from 7am on February 15 until 7am on February 22.

The partial strike will see wharfies refuse to work on containers moved by the port subsidiary Conlinxx.

However, Parsloe said if progress is made and management return to negotiations then industrial action may be reconsidered.

Getting the message across

Workers have today been distributing letters, entitled 'Setting the record straight', across 360,000 Auckland households and been handing out postcards at major transport hubs.

The union hopes this communication will inform the public and provide facts behind the ongoing dispute at the ports.

Wharfies and their supporters will also be running information stalls at upcoming community events, and distributing thousands of informational postcards to commuters during rush-hour.

The new campaign is an indication of how serious the dispute is for workers, Parsloe said.

"The workers at the Ports of Auckland are very aware that this is a direct attack on job security, and that they are in the front line defending secure jobs for all workers," he said.

The ongoing dispute has cost the port contracts with shipping line Maersk and dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group, who have shifted to Port of Tauranga and Port of Napier.

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