BusinessDesk: Ports of Auckland sacks striking wharfies, outsources work

BusinessDesk: Ports of Auckland sacks striking wharfies, outsources work

Ports of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest container port, will make 292 workers redundant and outsource its stevedoring services, saying existing labour contracts have eroded its competitiveness and caused it to lose business.

The port plans to contract with three stevedore companies for its Fergusson and Bledisloe container terminal operations, it said in a statement.

“We’ve weighted up all the options and we believe this is the best decision for the future of the port,” said Tony Gibson, chief executive. “The decision will reassure the wider market and customers that we plan to achieve a sustainable lift in the port’s competitiveness as soon as possible.”

Gibson said the redundant workers will be encouraged to apply for new positions with the contractors.

The Maritime Union has vowed to fight on and its dispute has already garnered support from unionised workers at other ports and from international port worker groups.

“This is by no means the end of our campaign for secure work,” said Garry Parsloe, president of the Maritime Union. “We call on Mayor Len Brown to not let this happen on his watch in his time as leaders of this city and owner of the port.”

Brown said he is restrained by legislation from intervening, the NZ Herald reported.

Earlier this week the union gave 14 days notice of another week of strike action to begin on March 16, which would only have been lifted if a settlement was reached. That would make four weeks of continuous action, on top of several earlier strikes and a lock-out by port management.

The dispute has cost the port contracts with shipping line Maersk and dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group, who have shifted some services to Port of Tauranga and Port of Napier.

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On the other hand if the port operates in a manner that reduces the price of landed goods then many thousands will benefit from lower prices...everything from household goods to imports of clothing and footwear...and there will be jobs on offer through the contracting companies...and if the port becomes more efficient, there may be more jobs on offer than available to date....

So we will end up all being contracted out with no money for cheap goods that we will not buy..... perfect solution.....
Is like capitalism description:
perfect system for people that want to buy things that they don't need for the money that they don't have......

No stp you will not end up being 'contracted out' won't be offered a job with that attitude...those who are will earn good wages for work that requires what level of qualifications stp?.....almost zero.
By your argument those being made redundant could have been paid twice no four times as much and nothing would have happened..ships would have kept coming...price of landed goods would not have changed...magic.

Wolly , sorry but nature does not prefer should know this.
The efficiency was developed by humans for only some of the expense of others.

What are the "good wages", Wolly?

But Wolly their idea of "more efficient" = less jobs, low pay  ( except for the CEO and his team ).
The stevedores should head to Western Australia - people with their specialist skills and experience would be snapped up fast by the resources industry - and earn enough to acutally be able to get ahead in life.

No...more efficient means lower cost of operation = more work from more shipping..= more wages paid out....spent in Auckland...."specialist skills"...who are you kidding?

No it doesn't - 25 or 30 years worshipping the unholy trinity of competition, efficiency and the free market = chronic unemployment, under employment and a race to the bottom for the lowest labour standards.
Yes, specialist skills. You got experience and skills working in a logistics, freight handling role, Wolly? Like I said those guys would be snapped up in Western Australia - outdoors work, physical, machine operating, shift work, Health and Safety.
Didn't realise you were such a little snob Wolly - you're usually playin the populist stick it  to the establishment routine.

South Paw, if your "race to the bottom" theory were true, why are people so much better off now than 200, 100, 50, even 10 years ago?  Why aren't we all working 80 hour weeks in horrendous conditions to earn enough money to buy a few loaves of bread?  Please explain.

It's all about hirearchy, the bottom of the pecking order is doing just that.  Globalisation.

Its only a matter of time. The middle class careers are being progressively outsourced. These condition can found in India and China Kleef and that is what workers are up against today.

Its only a matter of time. The middle class careers are being progressively outsourced. These condition can found in India and China Kleef and that is what workers are up against today.

Kleefer - becausae this time it's different. Try listening please.
It's always been a yin/yang scrap over what's on offer. The fact that what is on offer increased massively thanks to the massive increase in energy put into the system, just increased the size of the cake.
Now the cake is starting to shrink - and the scrap will get a bit more serious. At the bottom, globally, the bidding is with lives, so expect it to keep a high floor. The joke is that making workers 'more productive', won't arrest the decline. It will shift the remaining 'wealth', but can't alter the lowering lid.
You still don't get (want to get?) what it takes to make that bread, eh?  We aren't working those horrendous hours because oil is working for us. No other reason.  Surely someone capable of posting words in sequence, is capable of understanding that?

Brilliant...a new chapter in economics...enterprise is about making profits not employment!....
Tell us Ivan, if and when the shipping via the port of Auckland ceased to happen, as exporters and importers moved to operate out of Tuaranga....who would be paying the wages of the port workers?

Ah ha... so that's why the cost of water in Auckland has gone down since the Watercare model was introduced?

Ha ha, awesome :)

It's a common misconception that if the price of something goes up after privatisation then that means privatisation is a bad thing.  However, there are a number of reasons why prices might rise post-privatisation. 
For example, assets are often allowed to be run down under state ownership due to under-investment (keeping prices artificially low gains more political capital than maintaining the infrastructure properly).  Also, state-owned services are often subsidised, again for political reasons. 
On the flipside, state ownership often means pouring capital down the drain on unprofitable investments.  When the railways were privatised in New Zealand the assets were "stripped" because they had more value deployed elsewhere than on unprofitable railway lines.  Again, this was seen as a bad thing, but this sort of capital redeployment is a necessary and beneficial part of the market.

Oh dear, I hope you did not pay for this 'education'.

When NZemployment problems aren’t discussed openly and publicly, when politicians and the NZmedia are divorcing from the public, when frustrated employers and stressed employees don’t meet for talks – it gets ugly all over the country.

"Don't meet for talks"....that's waffle Walter....they have had plenty of meetings....the problem has been the port is losing out to Tauranga...why is that Walter?

Answer the question Walter...why is the port of Tauranga outperforming the port of Auckland?

The tragic death of those workers had nothing to do with casualisation. Pretty poor form to be using it to support your argument.


Because the cost of living (read accomodation) is cheaper in Tauranga?

Funny how Wolly cartwheels from populist antiglobalist to union buster deluxe.

We aim to please south paw..take a look at the unions in Germany...sadly the unions here have failed to learn anything from the Germans.

German workers have been screwed, casualised. The lesson is fight back.
Destruction of unions, and a race to the bottom for labour standards while chanting the mantra "In the name of competition, efficiency, and the free market I sack thee!" , are a central component of the Globalistion you tirelessly rant against.

Yep they have been screwed...low unemployment rate...plenty of overtime...export demand remains high...excellent working conditions....etc etc....they sure have been done over.

nearly 7,000 people have signed the online petition;
I suspect that number will go up with this action - and I can see this matter going even more international.

" your support for job security and public ownership of assets of national significance" what way is the port of Auckland of 'national significance'?
'Public ownership'...oh you mean union ownership under the socialist system don't you!
'Job security'...only in the 'public ownership model' right?

in what way is the port of Auckland of 'national significance'
Not that I think it's a good thing - but more nearly 1/2 of NZ's population (if you count Waikato in) is concentrated in that region.  Landed costs increase for that population if imported goods have to be domestically transferred there to service consumers. 
 'Public ownership'...oh you mean union ownership under the socialist system don't you!

Hahahaha - if only!  It would be a great model if they turned the port into a shareholder collective of the workers and the Auckland ratepaying public... but somehow I don't see that happening!  I lived in Kapiti for a long time and the power co. in local/citizen ownership returned me a dividend (by way of money off my power bill) every year.  It was a great collective asset ownership model.
'Job security'...only in the 'public ownership model' right?
Whether an asset/business is in public or private ownership doesn't matter - job/income security is an issue for virtually every NZer.  

"Landed costs increase for that population if imported goods have to be domestically transferred there to service consumers."...that's correct you support the idea of keeping costs down!
" It would be a great model if they turned the port into a shareholder collective of the workers and the Auckland ratepaying public" really bought into the marxist rubbish didn't you.
"job/income security" believe in jobs and incomes being managed out of some central govt office...nobody gets to lose their for life....income guraranteed...

Wolly, you are such an easy target for rational thinkers. you support the idea of keeping costs down!
Yes and locally-focused production and distribution is essential for a sustainable community going forward.  We won't have the oil to support the present distribution model.
More to the point - in this case the Port was profitable - the question becomes what percentage net profit is reasonable?  Contracting out or not, many analysts believe the ACC's bottom line demand can't be achieved. really bought into the marxist rubbish didn't you.
No, primarily influenced by my experience working in two private sector companies where profit-sharing and internal shareholding/trading by employees worked out really well for me, both financially and socially.  Although, yes, I've read Marx ... he was brilliant, but not for his utopian concepts, rather for his critique on capitalism. 
you believe in jobs and incomes being managed out of some central govt office
Absolutely not!  I believe in employers and employees working collaboratively to improve both working conditions and profitability.  Decision-making in my experience is always better the more 'local' it is.


That's great Kate...and if the ports of Auckland faced demands from ACC to boost divs to the ACC to 12% do you see this taking place?...and is not the ACC your wonderful local govt...and if Tauranga can land and freight goods to Auckland at a lower cost, what would you suggest...a regional tax on goods freighted into Auckland...and why are 65% of people in the herald poll voting in support of the Ports Of Auckland?
"internal shareholding/trading by employees worked out really well for me, both financially and socially."...good stuff why were you not down at the picket line suggesting the workers buy shares in the Ports of Auckland so they could benefit from the wealth created by their labour and the capital investment of the ratepayers and other shareholders????
"working collaboratively"...super goals what point would you as a manager tell the owners that the wage demands were sucking all the profits from the business...?

Bet we could replace these useless lay abouts in a week for half the pay and twice the efficiency .  Go the ports; the days of union rort are coming to an end.
 How are we supposed to be competitive in the world with workers like these, and social benefits like we have encouraging laziness?
The average kiwi needs to catch on, in today’s world you have to have something to offer other than two hands (there are 7 billion of them and counting, no unskilled labour shortage).  Why is it when I done my degree over half the class wasn’t kiwi, mostly Indian and Chinese?  Kiwis grow up in a world of opportunity and most don’t take it, they then complain later on in life when they don’t get paid as much as those who got off their backside and up-skilled.

Good to see that tertiary education taught you nothing at all...
Why would you pass judgement on people you do not even know, their incomes, their job security. What a fool you sound!

...when I done my degree...
What subject done you did it in?

A minimum 16 years of education, unreal.

Blame the teachers....haha

Pity that you don't mention that unions have ensured what little work conditions are in place, do actually exist. 

There is a very simple way to solve this problem really.
1. auckland City council should cancell their demands for Auckland Port to raise it's annual dividend payment to 12%. Better still Auckland City Council should tell Auckland Port that they do not expect any dividend from them at all, afterall the Port belongs to ALL Auckland ratepayers and since Port workers are ratepayers surely it's like right hand giving to left hand....why bother ??
2. Of course Marinetine Union being such a good union who will look after its members welfare and of course "undisrupted weekends", will request for higher wages the next round of negotiation, the Port should acced to their request and the Council should rightly direct the Port management to do so.
3. since all this is going to mean higher handling cost on all auckland's imports (which we do a great deal of) and inviarabily increase the cost of imported goods to Aucklanders, the Council should just cut the whole sorry process short and opt to subsidise the wages of All port workers from rates collected from Aucklanders. Afterall whether Aucklanders pay for their goods via rates payment or via higher handling cost, it is still the same to their pockets.
More more strikes and no more dismissal.... 

What we need to do is throw out the neo classical economic hocus pocus behind the global race to the bottom of labour standards.
Funny how the CEO's never announce they themselves are going to have to work alot longer for alot less, be casualised, give up their perks in order to cut costs and increase efficiency and comeptetion.
On the contrary CEOs keep helping themselves to more and more.
Why is that kin?

Join up they said....  Join a union and lose your job.  The union bosses dont actually care about their members employment. 

And your evidence for this?

292 union members have just lost their job.  It almost happened with the film industry last year. 

How does that imply they don't care?
They are making a stand against the lowering of labour standards.
Yeah the film industry - the big wigs in Hollywood call us "Mexicans with cellphones".
Our economy has become so hollowed out, our leader has to grovel to tinsel town to help keep an industry sustained on dirt cheap labour.
New Zealand - land of the low low wage.
New Zealand - land of the long struggle.
And the stampede across the ditch accelerates.

Do we know what jobs those who jumped the ditch are doing now. Skilled or unskilled?

"It's improving the IQ of both countries"--- Muldoon.

The union guy's were dumb, couldn't they see this coming. They had it good, they should have shut up and accepted the offer but no, they got greedy, lots of other Kiwi's would have jumped at the deal. Next good old Air NZ gets to shaft all those pilots who are on the best deal in the world, while there is s surplus of pilots, just some house keeping before sale.
 If we are living beyond our means who the hell do you expect to take a hit, its wake up time guy's. Tax take is going down not up, we cannot afford the luxury of firefighters and such living the life of Riley.  Wait till interest rates start going up.

"If we are living beyond our means who the hell do you expect to take a hit"
Funny how you use "we" but it obviously  means "workers" when you start talking about somebody needing to "take a hit".
Funny how your CEO mate isn't taking a hit, isn't a target of your self righteous religious toned moralising about "living beyond our means".
Why doesn't the CEO take a massive reduction in his take home pay, lose the perks etc in the name of competition, efficiency and free markets?

The CEO won't take a pay cut - he's negotiated his own pay without any help from a union. What does this tell you?

That he is on the corporate gravy train.

At some stage they will (CEOs) after all who wants to hire a CEO of a company he managed to send bankrupt?
But otherwise, seems the top 1% take no pain and even profit.....however AndrewJ is right more often than not....and is in this case I suspect.

Sorry, Im not trying to offend anyone but the top are the last ones standing and yes Ive taken a hit with the low interest rates, most of my investments are term deposits. When the system starts to struggle the bottom gets hammered, the top pretend to.  Much of what we see is the result of the import it cheap, mark the hell up on it , flog it, then leverage the company and flick it onto the stock market , buy a honking great boat and freck off. The real producers like my farm are struggling under regulation and constant cost increases far above the official CPI, My rates make Bernards look like small change, but I also get it in the neck from road users and everyother part of a system struggling to keep the unproductive in clover, when the productive can no longer pay it collapses.
 I see the AKL port has handled 875,000 containers this year, by their own estimate in 2044 they will be handling 4 million, 'Ya Think' , how do we do that?

andrewj, their struggle is effectively the same as yours - it's a Government entity that wants them to take a drop in the returns from their labour.
No different - the behemoth must be brought to its knees - government's collude with corporates, and sometimes they are the corporate (as in this case).  Government is the problem.

The top always are the last ones standing......yes well, though the guilotine comes to mind....
"much of what we see" totally agree, I look at tools and when a tool is $400USD and new blades are $40USD and the same thing here is $1500NZ and blades are $300NZ I go WTF is going on, its un-realistic......and yes its clear NZ companies have been gutted of value and loaded with debt, those margins are there to susteain the debt, it cant last and...thats raiding and not managing.  "real producers" I agree.....but then the specualtors dont have to worry about meeting regualtions its all multiplying 1s and 0s for them.....I wonder whos the fool?
"term deposits" yes, however its pretty safe and liquid ie risk is allowed for....something much else investment isnt....
"unproductive" it cant go on much longer there isnt the luxury with a shortage of energy....lots of ppl are in for nasty shocks....their speciality will go bye bye and they will be alongside the unskilled pulling carrots.....that or starve, welfare will be gone...
Containers 4mill? we wont, LOL pipe dreams........if we are 400k in 30 years I will be surprised....and I dont see containers either....all of it takes energy.....we wont have to spare....

Jumped at the deal of no certainty in the number of hours of work (and hence the income) you're going to get on a week-by-week basis?  I thought this lack of certainty was exactly the reason your daughter gave up fruit picking and you took her on with a fixed sum payment for a specified job instead?
Certainty - it's hardly an unreasonable demand.
Casualisation of labour is indeed a big issue - I'm sure your aspiration for your children in the future is that they have secure employment as opposed to an "as required" basis.
Sure, as required mght have to become the new norm as demand for services drops - but at the moment, a lack of custom isn't what the port company is facing - rather as I understand it the driver is 'efficiency', not downturn.  Although of course in failing to end the dispute in a timely manner - it sounds as if they have had a downturn, and if the workers hold out (i.e. do not reapply with the contractors) then the downturn will become more permanent.

Andrew J - you are talking out of your arris this time mate...
Why should workers have to pay to cover the costs of decisions made other people.
Have you not noticed how much money gets wasted nationally and locally on projects that you will never even hear about. Millions after millions, down the train to consultants, vendors etc , decade after decade...
Oh but the workers have to pay for all that, its their problem, their greed!
How do you know they did not accept the agreement, were you at the talks?
"Lots of other kiwis would have jumped at the deal" - Perhaps if we had jobs in this country that would not be the case. Oh and where are they crane drivers going to come from, or be traiend up, and where will the safety standards come from, and trust between the crews, when all those"other kiwis", not docks savvy or trained up get involved. And who will own the contracting company, and how much of a cut will that get?....and on and on the questions go...
Oh, and when did your rates last go down bro, and how much to do you think this will keep them from going up next time...Allow me....IT WONT!

We can get  Chinese or Indian crane drivers, I mean we live in a global world dont we, Filipinos are good enough for the dairy farm down the road, min salary and work them 70 hours a week.   Im being cynical,  I dont see the system changing Council wants a 12-15 % return how do you do that?

Get rid of the Council.

Oh brilliant Kate...this is the same Council you have probably demanded spend more...what do you propose they do..borrow more?

Nope - never advocated greater spending.  More debt - don't know haven't studied heir current position but debt funding is low for LAs. 
First thing I'd do if the CEO would be to look at the method of calculating depreciation across all my assets;
Depreciation expenditure has grown rapidly from 13% of total operating expenditure in 1993/94 to around 21% in 2005/06, and is forecast to continue to remain around this level over the 10-year period at around 22% of total operating expenditure in 2015/16.
Council's can choose not to fully fund depreciation (i.e. spread this cost over the life of the asset, rather than a standard 20-year life).
I'd also look to fully recover all building and planning consent costs (in most council's they recover only 50% of the costs of those activity areas from user-pay charges - the balance is paid for by the ratepayer).
I would also axe all expenditure associated with 'economic development'.
And I would dump all 'glory' projects for at least 2-3 years whilst the ACC settles into amalgamation - better to concentrate on get water, waste and wastewater working as efficiently as possible, and then take it from there.  For example, what are the ACC's contribution to CG's broadband rollout?  With an active private sector in that regard, I cannot for the life of me understand why government (whether central of local) seems to think it needs to get involved. 

You are a puzzle inside a game Kate...on the one hand you want efficiency within the ACC while on the other you demand port workers have job and income security for life...what do you really want?

You are a puzzle inside a game Kate
More like, the game is no longer a puzzle to me.

Oops - sorry didn't mean to avoid your question...
What do I really want?  To live in a socially just society and for ethics to become part of the school curriculum.

How is it socially just to prevent people who would willingly work a job for lower pay from doing so because the current workers want a state-protected monopoly and artificially high wages?

Ill help you involves contracts, and employment law!
Your point of discussion comes further along the timeline!

 In this Herald article to quote, council chief executive Doug McKay
"I keep reminding Len [Brown] that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette," 
He must have been studing his Soviet history because it came from this guy

“If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.” — Lenin


when asked about this event
The truth about the Ukrainian genocide
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine, during which up to 10-million Ukrainians perished. The United States and others have recognized that it amounted to genocide. The Russian Duma, however, maintains the famine was only an unfortunate result of Soviet collectivization.

How does one define "artificially high wages" - in suggesting these workers are acting in a socially unjust way by seeking to retain their current pay and conditions suggests then that every wage earner occupying a job for which someone else would work in for lesser pay and conditions makes that individual's wage "artificially high"?
Where is the bottom then?

+1 To live in a socially just society and for ethics to become part of the school curriculum.

Attention to details mate, just one for you, the tax take was actually up overall however below forecast :-)

Interesting to see the responses here; when I saw the article I said "about bloody time".  Whenever I hear the term 'port workers' the first word that comes to mind is 'strike', and that was even before this past year.
I actually felt sorry for the port company - having to deal with being held to ransom by the unions, it was a matter of time before they would have to break the back of the issue.  The reality of a port is that work is variable.
Of course, the 'saveourport' website paints a very different picture, one where workers a decent family life, a reasonable enough thing to want.  What the companies want seems quite extreme.
As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between.  The unions are too militant, the companies too greedy.
It's going to get worse eventually, for many industries.  Low-skill workers can be replaced easily, initially by other low-skill workers, and eventually by machines.  Like it or not, the value of these people is falling.  Workers should have decent working conditions.  But what of the barrel-maker, or the wagon-wheel maker?  People have to move with the times.
The documentary here:
... is fascinating.  The emergency laws restricting speech that were enacted at that time were scary!  If anything of the like ever happens again I'll be right down there on the picket line with my sign...

"People have to move with the times."
It's not about technology, it is class war waged by the 1%ers, that they have been winning the last 30 years.
Result = depression style conditions  rivalling the economic chaos and income disparities of the 1930s.
Stevedores have always been at the fore front of organised labour's fight for fair conditions.  Orginally stevedores had no gauranteed work, they turned up in the morning at the docks hoping for a bit of work .
In the UK this was called "standing on the stones". In the USA  "Shaping". Today it is called "flexible labour".
Now management wants a return to "standing on the stones". Why don't management swallow their own medicine? How about the Port's CEO just turn up at the gate early each morning to see if there is any work for him to do today.
Moving with the times? Yeah a time warp back to the 1800s.

The class war is one of workers and employers v financiers....unfortunately both the former are so busy being at each others throats that they dont notice the knife into the rib cage from behind.......

If these wharfies are on $90,000 a year, that surely puts them pretty close to being "1%ers", particularly in a low-wage country like New Zealand. 
This move will reduce income inequality because these highly-paid workers will see their pay drop while those who replace them will see a pay increase.  Surely the "Occupy" movement should be celebrating this move by Ports of Auckland?

As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between.  The unions are too militant, the companies too greedy.

Normally I'd agree - but this labour movement seems to be picking up steam in a number of sectors.  I don't think anyone would disagree that rest home caregivers are extremely low paid here - and it's even worse comparatively in the US.  Yet, the stock holdings in those aged care industries are some of the best ROIs in the market these days.   You won't get skilled labour filling those positions, and so there is substantial social value in our society having a caring-natured but unskilled labour force.  Same goes for port workers - dangerous and physically demanding jobs, not unlike mining... and look how it appears those workers were exploited (i.e. put in harms way and too concerned about job security to walk off or make demands).  I look at the Pike River miners and think the situation exemplifies the personal risk individuals were prepared to take to put food on the table.  Is this the NZ work ethic we desire?

Yes rest home staff are low paid. Yes the govt needs to prevent the abuse of such staff and the people in care. Labour failed to do very much over 9 years to improve that mess.
" Same goes for port workers - dangerous and physically demanding jobs, not unlike mining" utter waffle.

You have worked as a warfie then Wolly, have you?

Hello Lloyd..did you see the herald poll..65% of voters support the ports of Auckland....
No I have not worked on the wharf...are you saying the jobs today do not involve driving machines that load the ships?

Some do some don't wally, the point is dont pass judgement on what you don't know anything about. Having spent quite alot of time speaking with warfies over the past few weeks, they seem like decent folk by in large.
The point is, what rights do people have to form opinions on other peoples livelihoods, especially if those opinions are formed out of ignorance, and shapped by lies and misstruths in the media!

Right...the law according to Lloyd...glad you are not a govt MP.

Ive worked in the Merchant navy and spend a few years watching these "workers".....I also worked in the dockers union NZ wgtn building for 3 years...and came across them while importing stuff....lazy, arogant, casual about property damage and rights and even dishonest are thoughts I start with.

Thats not really sounding like too much like dock work to me Steven, nor that you have spoken with or know any of the Auckland warfies...Only that you worked in the union building in WGTN a period of time ago, and perceived that some of them were "lazy, arogant, casual about property damage and rights and even dishonest are thoughts I start with"
Not really a sound basis for taking a position on people or their livelihoods in AKL, in 2012 is it Steven!
In the Navy you can learn to be a ........

In the Navy you can learn to be a ........
:-) ... although one of the most genuine, lovely people I ever met was an ex-Commodore in the NZ Navy.... so also a generalisation.


I should have put the <sarcasim> in  that Kate!

The dangers involved in underground mining are far greater than those in driving machines on a wharf...and both are far more dangerous than the conditions facing those working in the aged care sector......

"was working for a contractor at the port doing some roading works at the time of the accident."
So not doing wharf work, road repairs.....dunno if you have ever even been on a wharf...have you? I have, its scary, and its mostly dangerous because of the wharf workers themselves.....

 "its mostly dangerous because of the wharf workers themselves"......!
This is why the most advanced container terminals are now 100% computerised and robot operated...there are no workers on the wharf at all.
My main experience was on construction want dangerous...try it out.

My main experience was on construction want dangerous...try it out.

And while standing on a scaffold in a howling southerly, did you contemplate whether the pay was adequate relative to, for example, the university lecturer whose building site you might have been employed on?   Should an ability to build knowledge in society be more highly valued than an ability to build shelter?
I started life out as a nurse ... literally decided you couldn't PAY me to do some of that work, although I never lost sight of the fact that someone has to do it.  Since then I've earned well in excess of 2-3 times what I could earn nursing ... do I work harder ... you have to be joking, mate!

That's some chip on the shoulder you have there Kate...Nobody with a brain stands on scaffolding in a southerly...
"Should an ability to build knowledge in society be more highly valued than an ability to build shelter" ...well actually Kate...YES. Recall the English woman who was critical to the discovery of my world her contribution to the world was a good deal greater than someone stacking bricks. 

" my world her contribution to the world was a good deal greater than someone stacking bricks" - You really are just a stupid, selfish old coot you are!

I'd have thought there was a bit more to the building trade than stacking bricks - why do you so desire to put down genuinely useful knowledge, skills and productive work effort?  The question was whether you as a builder thought your pay was equitable in relative terms to a university lecturer?  Yes, or no?  I'm curious.

"On December 17 last year, a 35-year-old Chinese seaman died after falling from the side of the logging ship Green Hope and into the water in Tauranga Harbour."
so one of the three wasnt even related to port work....he fell into the sea and drowned....
Two probably from forklifts, which doesnt surprise me.

nothing like mining, what so ever......physically demanding, LOL mI think you are looking at films pre-ww2...mostly these days its containers and forklifts...dangerous comes from they act like maniacs and are way to casual about safety of others....and others property.....

Begs the question in an economy that requires full employment, what will happen when the unskilled worker becomes uneccesary?
Of course if Steven is right, the barrel makers and wagon wheel makers will have the last laugh.

They the unskilled as a % been un-necessary for decades, however our DNA still churns out stupid ppl....oops I mean Pollies...
The cheapest form of work "horse" for energy input (food) is the human, even beating waterbuffalo, hence why I assume we have so many unskilled ppl born as a % of ppl born. not to mention un-questionaing canon fodder for wars....
I think trades and craft skills will come can earn a  decent living without excessive education ie not to much risk.
Its going to be interesting to watch the changes that years in tech were some of the last doing engineering apprentiships en the time I'd finished the intakes had gone from 36 per company per year to 4.....these days I watch students doing fine art things.....etc.......future carrot pullers all of has to change....its down to not very easily or very badly.....we seem to be locked into the latter at the moment.

" Carrot pullers"....harrrrrhahaaahaaaaa
I wonder how many 'Homer Simpsons' we have doing life critical tasks..or rather not doing them...jeez that's scary...they can't all be in Parliament or in NZ First...can they!

actually high skilled next, lets see who gets grumpy then....

In the UK during the 60's, London was the main port in Europe. When containers came along the union refused to unload them unless they had a pay rise. What happened, London lost the work and is now done in Rotterdam.

Another fabulous win for the Pommy trade unions...haven't they done well over the years!

ditto Liverpool.....

292 stevedores have been sacked from the Port of Auckland ! ..... Man that pisses me off , my nipples are in a spin over that ..... shag !
.... as Mummy Gummy & moi are shareholders in the Port of Tauranga , those 292 guys in Auckland were the best thing our business had going ......

Yup the golden days are coming to an end Gummy...but don't worry cos the lawyers and socialists up that way will drag it out for months yet...

...... keep flying the Red Flag , brother Wolly ..... aha ha de haaaaaaa !
Hmmmm , when's my next divvie from the P.o.T. due ? ........ ex div 12 cents today ! Fully franked ..... money for jam ..... loverly !

Expecting something for doing nothing, at the expense of someone else.
I'm glad I'm not you, GBH.

Something for nothing ? ...... we invested our hard earned dosh into Port of Tauranga ..
.....and  I'm glad that you're not me , too !

I see this as an inevitable consequence of globalisation. Do you really think the worker can win, it just becomes a good exuse to shut down and move to a low, cost low wage/regulation,environment.  The left wing council is on the side of the port, the government is hiding because amalgamation was a cock up and cost a bundle, the workers have no where to run to. Do we really expect NZ wages and Chinese not to move into line, oh we expected Chinese wages to equal ours, I dont think so, wage pressure is going to be downward, for the near future at least, well as long as corporates have options and mates in politics. In a recession do you think Ford will close its Chinese Plant or its USA one? Anyone at Bluff feel like some stirke action?
More than 500 people will lose their jobs after Rio Tinto announced it will close its Lynemouth aluminium smelter at the end of the month.

andrewj, those of us with some amount of accumulated capital can afford to submit to the notion of globalisation (for the time being, that is!).  Those without, cannot.  As the accumulated capital of those with it continues to erode, they too will take up the cudgels.
The movement can only grow.  Therein lie the optimism for the future.

Two simple questions please that will help me make up my mind on  this issue:
Median pre tax income ( all benefits ) of the affected workers last year ?
Median hours worked for that income ?

Splitting hairs as you can rest assured that none of the port workers were earning anywhere near what we pay say, the senior managers in the Auckalnd City Council ... who it appears can't make adequate 'efficiency gains' in their own business - and hence, they demand more income from the productive assets they own.
After all, the Supercity was "sold" on the basis of efficiencies

Now there Kate and I share a similar opinion....hard to believe!....most if not all of the council and govt 'bosses' should have their fat salaries lopped in half. Let's see them point out any productivity gains they have made....

But it was never about efficiencies. It was about an elite going for 'wealth' via 'ownership' .
The fact that they are having the sword-fight on a sloping deck doesn't seem to have been noticed.

Let's not lose sight of the facts.  Not all wharfies are union members, so there are those on contract now so it can't be all bad.Are we sure this isn't about the Union wanting to hold on to it's funding base?  Afterall the Union officials are on full pay while the wharfies on strike aren't. The Union officials have nothing to lose and the wharfies must be able to afford to be on strike, or else they would have told their union to 'sort their sh.t out'.
It isn't like those made redundant don't have a job option - they can apply for a contractors position - unlike the DoC and 60 IRD staff being made redundant in Invercargill, the 40 Hawkes Bay road contractor workers AJ referred to on another thread being made redundant etc etc.
Other ports e,g, Tauranga, use the system Ports of Auckland want to bring in, so it is not as if it is a totally new system for wharfies in NZ.  Very hard to feel any sympathy for these guys in this current economic climate. 'You don't know how lucky you are, mate'.

And as an old grumpy ex-machine opoerator from way back (dozers, scrapers, graders) I can tell y'all now that driving a Straddle Carrier (which can only pick up and drop forty-footers, fer cryin' in the sink) is not a highly skilled job.
Count the levers, folks, and compare with yer average diggerator....

What an economy !!
Sad end of another day - and another costly exercise for taxpayers – “Working Gangs” transformed in a few days into “Street Gangs”.

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