“Gary Parsloe is gilding the lily,” said Mr Gibson.
“Maersk has been widely quoted as saying the industrial action was the catalyst for their decision. It is the central reason they have given us for taking the service to Tauranga, and the only reason mentioned in their media statement.”
“Even Mark Cairns, CEO of Port of Tauranga, has described the industrial action as ’the straw that broke the camel’s back,’” Mr Gibson said.
Comments by union president Garry Parsloe that export cargo flows out of the Hawke’s Bay and Waikato were the reason behind the loss of the service were misinformed and illogical, Mr Gibson said.
“The Southern Star is in fact predominantly an import call (70%). All this has done is hand over part of Auckland’s core business to a rival port.”
Mr Gibson said the company would continue to communicate directly with staff and to provide them with factual updates on the situation.
“It is vitally important that we are open and truthful with our employees about the possibility of redundancies and our intention to explore alternative business models, including contracting out.”
Ports of Auckland has lodged a counter-claim of breach of good faith against the union. In particular, Mr Gibson said the company objected to the use of a placard by picketers, prominent in TV footage of the protest, suggesting that the port paid wages as low as NZ$13 (US$9.96) an hour.
“This is a clear breach of good faith. Average remuneration for a full time stevedore is $91,400 per annum and the lowest hourly rate paid is $17.12 with all other rates over $20.”