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Auckland leaders oppose outsourcing at port

Ports of Auckland

As many as 28 Auckland local board members from 10 boards have joined hands to call for Ports of Auckland to return to good faith bargaining and drop plans to outsource jobs at the port.

Ports of Auckland Ltd is a council-owned company. We support its operational independence, but the current dispute has escalated to a strategic level, says a statement issued by the group of community leaders.

“We are particularly concerned that actions being taken by the Port management, including what appears to be a pre-determined strategy to contract out port jobs, are inflaming matters,” say the board members.

Internal POAL strategy documents released last week show that the Ports management was considering a contracting out strategy well in advance of negotiations.

“Along with everyone else involved, 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.”

“We believe that Ports of Auckland has a responsibility to be a good employer, and to live up to the principles that its 100% owner (the Auckland Council) promotes in the draft Auckland Plan and in numerous Local Board Plans. Driving Aucklanders’ employment conditions and job security down in a race to the bottom is no way to build the world’s most liveable city.”

“We’re also concerned that the dispute is being used as a wedge by some councillors and interest groups to promote port 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.”

“The details of any settlement are for the parties to negotiate, but it is quite clear to us that a way forward should be possible that improves productivity without privatisation and contracting out being threatened, neither of which are proven cures.

“We hope that Port management and the Maritime Union will take a constructive approach and negotiate a settlement in good faith on this basis”, conclude the Board members.’

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