This afternoon POAL announced it had cancelled the lockout due to start on 6 April, on the basis that the parties return to the bargaining table, and then make use of a legal facilitation process as provided for within the Employment Relations Act.
Ports of Auckland CEO, Tony Gibson said the company is acutely aware that its customers and all those in the supply chain are severely affected by this dispute and in order to lift pressure on the supply chain, POAL is lifting the lockout to get goods moving.
Mr Gibson said the company hasn't changed its determination to get a modern and efficient port, "and that is what we will be talking to MUNZ about."
"POAL has listened to wishes of the Court, as well the views of the Mayor and all other stakeholders.”
“POAL remains focussed on ensuring it is highly competitive and can stem the loss of business that the company has seen over the last decade. That will not happen if we do not change historic work practices and restrictions which are out of touch with today’s reality.”
"Over the last 10 years POAL has lost significant market share, this equates to around $73 million in revenue. If that trend continues over the next 10 years that would equate to a further loss in the order of $260 million."
"Paying on average 40 hours for 26 hours worked costs POAL over $8 million per annum. This cannot continue. Work practices at the Container Terminal must be customer focussed, flexible and modern.”
Mr Gibson said POAL was going back to the bargaining table with a fresh determination to talk to MUNZ, and get the collective the Port needs to operate competitively.
He said MUNZ must be ready, willing and able to deliver modern customer service.
POAL Chairman, Richard Pearson said the Board is fully supportive of Mr Gibson’s approach and is unanimous in its view that this approach is in the best interests of the company.
How soon will MUNZ members be back at work?
As soon as possible, but no later than 6 April. Until then, MUNZ staff will be paid, but Ports of Auckland will be working with them to ensure the return to work is safe for everybody.
Until MUNZ members return, POAL’s non-union permanent stevedores will continue to work the port. They have set new benchmarks particularly around vessel turnaround and crane operating rates.
"For the first time in 61 years the container terminals have worked through strike action," said Gibson. "The past four weeks have seen the new modern approach to work at the port in action with crane rates not previously achieved at Ports of Auckland."
“It is a credit to our people who have kept working through the strike, and gives us real hope for the future."
You’ve been talking for months – how will you work together now?
These outdated conditions have been at the Container Terminals for a long time, and mindsets take a while to change. But the Company is very clear about where we need to take this business, and we will get there.