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Topic # 96118 20-Jan-2012 16:07
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http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10779988

Hard to feel sympathy for the workers the way I normally would when workers are made redundant. This situation has become untenable.

I have never understood striking.

If you don't like your pay or working conditions, as far as I am concerned you have a few choices. Raise it with Management, and if they don't show interest, either ask what you can do to achieve your goals, or find some where else to work that will pay you what you believe you are worth. If you are worth it, you should have no troubles finding something else, if not, then you stay where you are, and get on with your work.

If enough people leave for better paying jobs management will likely revise their packages to be competitive.

This striking nonsense is just mind boggling. My wife is a doctor and when the others doctors decided to strike over pay and conditions she refused for the health of the patients. Her colleagues abused at her and one of them actually spat at her. Defies belief.
 
As this is likely a contentious issue I recommend everyone check their posts beforehand for adherence to the FUG. 

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  Reply # 571351 20-Jan-2012 16:59
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Maybe..... I would imagine some of the work at a dock yard is pretty specialized imagine if you could only work in IT at about 3 places in the whole of New Zealand, and each place required you to uproot your entire family, your spouse needs to find a new job etc... then I imagine its not quite so simple.

The original request from the striking people was less about money, and more some guarantees was it not?  I doubt the ports of auckland were that poor (at least prior to loosing some customers!).

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  Reply # 571360 20-Jan-2012 17:13
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rphenix: Maybe..... I would imagine some of the work at a dock yard is pretty specialized imagine if you could only work in IT at about 3 places in the whole of New Zealand, and each place required you to uproot your entire family, your spouse needs to find a new job etc... then I imagine its not quite so simple.

The original request from the striking people was less about money, and more some guarantees was it not?  I doubt the ports of auckland were that poor (at least prior to loosing some customers!).


Yeah it's more about time schedules, and working hours.

You do get longer than usual hours and weird times. Since ships can't magically appear on the dot, most times.  They either come in early or late

And there are only roughly 10 ports(13 total) in NZ that do containers, which are probably what a lot of these guys are trained in doing.  

Unfortunately due to my line or work and company policy.  I won't say anything more on the subject




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 



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  Reply # 571361 20-Jan-2012 17:15
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Even if it's not about pay (As it wasn't primarily with the Doctors) there comes a point where you cut bait or get fishing. I think the company is at that point and now will make 300+ people redundant and hire contractors, who will agree to the same working conditions offered to the workers. The thing is, those workers will likely go work for the contractors under the same conditions. It's just odd.

Unions FTL.

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  Reply # 571362 20-Jan-2012 17:18
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networkn:  I think the company is at that point and now will make 300+ people redundant and hire contractors, who will agree to the same working conditions offered to the workers. The thing is, those workers will likely go work for the contractors under the same conditions. It's just odd.


I would say that was the port management's strategy from the beginning of the dispute



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  Reply # 571366 20-Jan-2012 17:28
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I hardly think so. I can't see any reason to have gone to this much trouble, they have lost massive clients in the wake of this.

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  Reply # 571387 20-Jan-2012 18:38
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It looks like to me that the port company wants to move to contractors to eliminate having to pay ACC premiums, sick days, leave and the other benfits employess are entitled to.

They most likely were hoping that the workers would agree to become independant contractors with no fuss, but in the wake of the workers refusing to roll over and accecpt the changes the port company has lost a number of clients.

At the moment the port company isn't looking too great, the've tried to force some new terms and conditions on their workers, and the only real result has been the loss of clients.

I do see employment court action happening here, the port company will most likely go thru with it's threat of firing the workers and hiring contractors, but currently if you make an employee redundant you can't go out and hire someone else (contractor or not) to do exactly the same thing.

I guess we will wait and see what happens





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  Reply # 571425 20-Jan-2012 19:54
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It's interesting the way people see things. I see the company looking just fine. I see regular attempts to compromise and NO give from the workers for over 3 months. I don't think it was the companies intention to contract out the work, I think that's a last resort to avoid further client losses. If the terms suggested by the company had been agreed to by the workers, then the prospect of being contractors wouldn't have even come up.

I would suggest that they would have checked out the legalities of the contracting before suggesting it and wouldn't attempt to do so without having taken legal advice.

The thing about employment is that I often hear people saying that the 90 day bill is a way for employers to exploit the rights of an employee and get free short term labour, but as an employer I can tell you that no intelligent human being is going to take a valued employee who is making money and getting the work done, keeping the client happy, and shaft them. The costs of employing someone and re hiring when value staff leave is simply too high.

Some comments I have read in the herald state the port workers wanting certainty around hours and pay, which I can certainly understand. That being said, good workers rarely need to worry about such things.


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  Reply # 572782 24-Jan-2012 14:57
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A little bit niave comments about the situation on this.

This situation is 2 ideologies clashing; the labour driven unions versus the right wing capital.

The ports stance that its all about productivity is rubbish, considering its record productivity last year. Its about profit to make privatisation more attractive & its about smashing one of the last strong unions left, the stevedores / port workers..

Casualisation / contracting out has been the ports main goal from day, evidenced from their refusal to accept the unions offer of a pay cut in return for employment guarantees..

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  Reply # 573087 25-Jan-2012 09:59
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I would say that there is blame on both sides.

Mismanagement from ports of auckland to not adequately negotiate with the workers / unions about the demands. They have let this drag on far too long and it has now cost them major clients.

The union for being pig headed to the point where it will pretty much cost all its members their jobs.

Both parties are now past the point of no return. If ports of auckland back down, they will lose all bargaining power in the future, ditto for the unions.

I personally don't like unions nor do I agree with their tactics, however, I have never been in a job where the value of an individual employee is difficult to recognise (IE factory worker / unskilled labour etc) so have never had to rely on the collective strength to negotiate with my employer.




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  Reply # 573109 25-Jan-2012 10:45
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POAL released a fact sheet with the Stevedore pay figures audited by Ernst and Young
http://www.scribd.com/doc/79155583/Ports-of-Auckland-Fact-Sheet-Ernst-and-Young 

The union is definitely losing the PR war now imo.

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  Reply # 573124 25-Jan-2012 11:21
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I can see how the union would claim a "low wage" of $56,700, taking into account the base rate of $27odd per hour for a 40 hour week over the 52 weeks, theres the figure. Thats not a bad wage at all, although I have no idea what is involved in the work so can't comment as to whether or not that is fair.

One of the more damming points outlined by Eearnst & Young is the amount of downtime, 40% of their working week is supposedly downtime, thats huge. If you take out their "downtime" they are being paid over $40/hour for each working hour and thats at the lowest possible rate.

Theres not enough information within the Earnst & Young to accurately work out what the real earnings on a standard 40 hour week would be, as it could include skill allowances, meals, night shift etc

Ofcourse, it is pretty likely that the union will have their own facts and figures about downtime etc, there has only been one side presented. I would expect the only thing they can try and dispute is the downtime, the rest of the facts quoted in the piece are supported by evidence (I would assume wage books etc if a full audit has been done).

I would imagine that there would be quite a few workers (or non workers) out there who would be stoked to get even the $27/hour, the "base rate"


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  Reply # 573129 25-Jan-2012 11:36
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The fact of the matter is the port workers on individual contracts (the ones who have worked throughout the strikes) are still paid very well with plenty of overtime so for a collective contracted employee to switch sides i doubt it will provide too much of a change for them.

They will hang out for redundancy then be the first queuing at POAL's door for a new job.

The real losers out of all of this are the maritime union, they lose around $500,000p/a (i think that was the figure suggested) in union fees.... bugger :P

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  Reply # 573179 25-Jan-2012 14:21
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A "fact sheet" paid for by the port? Im sure that's impartial. As for the down time, the port refused to negotiate on that issue, so I can hardly see how that's so contentious..

The workers were going to lose thier jobs regardless. The ports entire goal is to contract out the workforce to pretty it up for sale. The destination is already decided, the port is just trying to figure out how to get there.

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  Reply # 573182 25-Jan-2012 14:31
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MikeyPI: A "fact sheet" paid for by the port? Im sure that's impartial. As for the down time, the port refused to negotiate on that issue, so I can hardly see how that's so contentious..



The workers were going to lose thier jobs regardless. The ports entire goal is to contract out the workforce to pretty it up for sale. The destination is already decided, the port is just trying to figure out how to get there.


Let me guess.. your a union rep for someone? Cool




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  Reply # 573192 25-Jan-2012 14:53
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What do you mean refused to negotiate on the downtime?


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