The notice comes in the middle of the first day of the Union’s Christmas strike, and with a further strike notice in place for the New Year weekend.
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said the January strike will be yet another disappointment for customers and local businesses as they return to work in the New Year.
“With the added complication of the KiwiRail maintenance shut-down, the Union seems to be determined to create as much disruption as it can. “The situation is becoming untenable. Ultimately, its cargo owners and consumers who are paying the price for the Union’s actions,” he said.
Today, for the first time in its history Ports of Auckland has kept Fergusson container terminal dispatch and delivery operations open during a strike period, with the help of non-Union employees, managers and supervisors.
Mr Gibson said the 11-hour operation has worked extremely well, and the port had received a very positive response from trucking companies, exporters and importers for its efforts. The Port will be looking at ways to extend this service through other strike periods in early January he said, but that it appears the Union is settling in for a prolonged period of action. While the Port was committed to doing whatever it can to minimise the impact on businesses, many customers have told the Port they support the need for change, he added.
“They want us to address the current situation fast, but they also want us to achieve a step change in productivity and on-port efficiencies for the long term. We remain committed to both these goals,” he said.
“We’ve worked hard to try and achieve a constructive settlement now for nearly three months, but the union appears to remain steadfastly resistant to resolving issues constructively, and while we will continue to bargain with the union in the New Year, we may have to accept that it is simply not possible to negotiate a new flexible agreement that will give Ports of Auckland the efficiency and productivity improvements it needs.”
The Port is currently consulting on a redundancy proposal affecting as many as 40 employees, and is reviewing alternative operating models including contracting out as options to achieve the changes that are required.