The notice follows the failure of a mediation session between the company and the union yesterday (22nd). Ports of Auckland Chief Executive, Tony Gibson, has said that claims by Local 13 President Mr Parsloe that the port company was not willing to continue talks were not correct.
Expressing concern that further strike action would threaten the Auckland and New Zealand supply chain in the lead up to Christmas, Gibson said, “This added disruption has the potential to cause substantial delays and add extra cost for shipping lines, exporters and importers”.
“Exporters may suffer a loss of credibility by being unable to get their goods to market on time; there could well be costs and delays beyond the period of the strike due to the flow-on effect of the interlinked shipping schedules,” he added.
The central issue appears to be the use of a third party to undertake truck shuttle movement of containers between the two container terminals. Gibson explained that the work had been out-sourced for approximately 18 months following comprehensive consultation with staff before the decision was made. Four union employees were affected with all being offered redeployment; one accepted and three took voluntary redundancy.
“Out-sourcing this work is a commercial matter between Ports of Auckland and the third party. It has delivered significant operational flexibility and cost savings,” said Gibson.
The company has offered to roll-over the Collective Agreement, which expired on 30 September, with no changes to terms and conditions, a NZ$200 (US$151) signing payment to recognise back-pay and a 2.5% increase to hourly rates.
It has also offered to work collaboratively with staff and the union on a range of performance initiatives, to make no redundancies as a result of these initiatives or to undertake further contracting-out of labour during the term of the agreement.
“We consider the offer to be a generous one given the uncertain global economic climate and the significant losses being made by shipping companies in Australasia and around the world,” said Gibson.