Union backs mayor's port plea
Auckland's harbour (NZfreephotos.com)
The union representing some of the wharfies at the Ports of Auckland says it will react positively to recommendations due out on how to end the long-running industrial dispute.
A facilitator is expected to go back to the union and port company in the next week with a proposal on how to resolve the tetchy impasse which resulted in a series of strikes, lockouts and redundancy threats.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown wrote a letter to both parties on Thursday encouraging them to find a way to end the wrangle following a lengthy facilitation process which began in May.
"The dispute has dragged on far too long and in doing so, has not been good for the port workers, their union, the port company or, in fact, Auckland as a whole," he said in the letter.
Mr Brown said he held a "strong expectation" that both parties would use the recommendations as a vehicle for ending the dispute which began when negotiations on a new collective agreement began in August 2011.
"The union and port management entered into a facilitation process to try to resolve their differences ... it is incumbent on both parties to see that through to its end.
"It is likely to require some give and take, but the recommendations of the facilitator should be accepted by both sides," he said.
Maritime Union national president Garry Parsloe says it is committed to continuing to make every effort to settle a collective agreement and would respond in a positive way to the recommendations put forward.
It wanted to end the dispute and avert the possibility of more industrial action, but said there was an onus on the port company to be willing to end the wrangle.
He says the union wanted certainty over start times and time off and a commitment from the company it will not seek to contract out work.