Ports dispute highlights need for NZ companies to be competitive, or risk substitution from overseas companies, Key says

Ports dispute highlights need for NZ companies to be competitive, or risk substitution from overseas companies, Key says

The Ports of Auckland industrial relations dispute highlights the need for New Zealand companies to be able to compete with their international peers, or face losing out to them, Prime Minister John Key says.

Ports of Auckland, which is ultimately owned by the Auckland City Council, sacked 292 striking workers last week and introduced plans to outsource stevedoring work following months of industrial action by workers opposing further casualisation of working conditions at the port.

Prime Minister John Key has kept his distance from the dispute, saying it was a matter between Ports of Auckland and the Maritime Union representing the striking workers.

But on TVOne's Breakfast programme this morning, Key said the ultimate issue of the dispute was to do with the flexibility of the port's workforce, and that there needed to be a range of ways to ensure New Zealand companies were internationally competitive.

“If you think about the ports, I think the issue is that these are workers that have historically been paid pretty well down on the waterfront. I think the average income’s been about NZ$90,000, so it hasn’t been a badly-paid place," Key said on Breakfast.

"But the problem is flexibility - in terms of when ships arrive, when staff get called out, how they can cope with that," Key said.

"If we’re not competitive – forget about the ports – right across the economy, ultimately we can’t compete. And then what you end up seeing is subsidisation, or you basically end up seeing international companies competing and doing better here,” he said.

The issue of casualisation - where workers were required to be more flexible in terms of what hours they worked and when they could be called in to work - was a matter for the employer, not the government.

“We’re saying that’s part of the law and has been for a long period of time. What we are keen to see is that New Zealand companies do well and compete. Ultimately if they can’t compete then you will see a situation where substitution takes place and you see goods coming from overseas," Key said.

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47 Comments

Ah, good old competition eh. Can someone tell me what is the financial equivalent of it being impossible for a man to run 100 metres in nothing flat.
What are you saying John Key, that workers will have to accept less and less, cos it sure looks that way, thank you very very much for doing absolutely nothing about inequality in this country.
Ooh sorry, of course you are doing something about inequality, how foolish of me, I forgot for a moment that it is getting more and more unequal

Divide and rule;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divide_and_rule
 
“If you think about the ports, I think the issue is that these are workers that have historically been paid pretty well down on the waterfront. I think the average income’s been about NZ$90,000, so it hasn’t been a badly-paid place," Key said on Breakfast.
 
In other words, listen up all you low paid NZers - these folks deserve to be brought down to your level!!!!!
  
 
 
 

Have a Kit Kat Kate....! Where were you when these workers were given the oof..."Nearly 400 jobs have gone at Telecom over the past year and the company has indicated more cuts are likely." herald....????

... the point I make is about the tactics of neoliberalism and John Key's use of its 'tools' as well as its 'narratives'.
 
So you've had a go at tactics as well - the above one being an attempt to discredit me by suggesting that had I not commented on every job lost in NZ then I am a hypocrite.
 
Your tactic is referred to as the "strawman" one;
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
 
 
 
 

Kate - too true - but to my continuing amazement  those same low paid workers vote for Key's party knowing the inevitable outcome. They must be stupid or lemmings or both.
Equally we cannot 'print' taxpayers to enable the entitlements they also believe they have rights to.
  

Struth...what a solution you have there SH....all Bill need do is "print taxpayers"....!

It is a hard argument to suggest anyone being paid $90,000 a year in New Zealand today qualifies as ... "all you low paid NZers..."

"If we’re not competitive – forget about the ports – right across the economy, ultimately we can’t compete" - So what he has just said there is that we drive to the bottome or there is no way to keep out the internationals, is that what he is saying here?
 
Translation in Keys mincer voice - What we really want to do is get rid of those annoying immigration and employments laws, you know, the ones that prevent us from really driving wages down, and the boot can really go into the workers, we would be pretty relaxed about that sort of thing, and I think the election results show we have a strong mandate for that, and its what the good people of NZ want to see happening. We need to be internationally competitive, and the FTA with China means that this is where the benchmark is now heading, and we need to be flexible to compete, so yeah we are pretty relaxed about that.

this ++

Putting words into other peoples mouths doesn't remove the fact that high freight costs affect the competitiveness of every export industry in this country.

The Ports of Auckland industrial relations dispute highlights the need for New Zealand companies to be able to compete with their international peers, or face losing out to them, Prime Minister John Key says.
 
Which international port does Ports of Auckland compete with for Auckland cargo?
And here was me thinking the Port of Tauranga was the competitor...

Hey Gareth he is only an FX guy - not a logic post grad from the philosophy dept.

And as was pointed out on Q+A yesterday morning - the 6% odd return on capital is about as good as it gets ... Auckland City's 12% expectation is pie in the sky, as Len Brown admitted to (i.e. it was 'finger in the wind', 'aspirational' - he wasn't able to point to a comparative analysis).
 
I reckon Len was hoodwinked by his "gotta break some eggs" CEO who is wedded to the contracting out model and likely friendly with the management and executive of the contract firm(s).
 
 
 

Don't blame Len brown Kate...he's a politician and a socialist...that's two excuses...so he lied...but he got elected....promises and aspirational targets is what Len does best along with sticking his finger in the wind...

I don't blame anyone for being hoodwinked, Wolly... not even you.  I enjoyed the party while it lasted too.
 
 

He didn't hoodwink me Kate...but he sure took them wharfies for a ride..haaaahaaaaaa

Len was freeballing,  the SOI document for the ACIL is what directs the ports KPI's, and currently the 12% is not even on the radar let alone inside the SOI.
The internal situation inside the council over the PoAL issue is actually quite a serious division now between the factions of councilors who represent the effort to get the port moved to free up the land, or as a start sold off, and the casualization of the workforce is a necessary step in this process.
It is well known which councilors are pro private/sell off

Gareth my understanding is there is a risk an Australian port becomes the hub for shipping into NZ rather than an NZ port.

Kermit, that theory has been doing the rounds for years. Are Aussie ports any more internationally competitive than our ones?

Not sure Gareth but in any event I wouldnt be waiting until they were to get my house in order.

http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/Long%20term%20Optimisation%20of%20the%20New%20Zealand%20Port%20Sector.pdf
 
Page 7 - Cost of container unloads for a start!
 
Why are NZ paying less..
 
Clue - because Tony Gibson used to work for Maersk, as a start!

Cheers Lloyd, some interesting stuff in there.

No worries Gareth - See if you can track down a copy of the article mentioned in the link below in the Sunday Star Times article by Greg Ninness in the business section
 
http://waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html#!http://waitakerenews.blogspot.com/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html
 
 

Gareth,
If our ports are not competitive, our exports become more expensive for our overseas customers and our imnports become more expensive for us.
Considering that NZ relies more than just about any other country on our imports or exports, our whole economy becomes less competitive and we all get to pay for that.
Simply no ship should wait in the harbour for unloading no matter the time of day or day of the week, it is our economic life line and unions know that.
Roger 

I was always of the understanding that the 90k figure is the base wage of around 45k plus overtime. So, its disengenious of Key to claim that 90k is the 'wage'. If you are working overtime, then good on you. Key should base his claims off the base wage. Not that Key has any interest whatsoever in pesky things like the truth.

Had a son who used to work on a contract that specified 'overtime within reason...' and overtime hours were paid at the standard rate.  Average hours became around 70 per week - some weeks well in excess of that.  All the staff were continually exhausted - no one wanted that much overtime but he was the only one prepared to press the point with management.  His solution was the same as yours ... hire more staff. 
 
I can only assume the management didn't hire more people for fear of a perceived downturn in work at some stage and without penal rates the employer had no incentive to hire more workers.   Additionally, the staffing arrangement covers them in the event they lose clientele and/or fail to maintain their existing marketshare. 
 
After many months of attempted re-negotiation of his contract terms trying to get management to agree to a set amount of overtime which was 'within reason' - one day he fell asleep standing in line at his bank.  When the chap in line behind him woke him up - he drove back to the office - and quit.
 
In my opinion, penal rates are good in that they provide management with the incentive to do their jobs properly - in other words run the business (rather than the workers) 'competitively'.
 

yep....been there done that......EDS, evil death star....never again....the problem is often managers dont or cant care due to the way things are structured....so staff are canon fodder...so you use the short time for experience and move on.  On the other foot without good management staff can abuse "overtime" Ive seen it happen...
Penal rates can also get "adictive", you get used to the money.....
regards
 

Its known as unionism by the old school and putting a strike gun the NZers heads....Ive seen enough of such....good ridence IMHO.
 
regards

There are no penal rates on the warf whatsoever!
Key knows the 90K is BS, the avergae is between about 50-60k, and he also knows that he will not be picked up on it by the muppet media, nor anyone that can influence public opinion..
 
 

If I recall Ernst & Young reviewed the numbers and confirmed the $91kpa.
Also please dont associate us Muppets with the media - its not good for our reputation.

Lol - fair call Kermit on the muppet media point anyway...
The EY "independent review" gave averages, but it did not as far as I am aware state how many hours of work were required to get the "average", not the shift patterns worked, what time of the day or night the warfies worked, nor weather or not it was a weekend, public holiday etc...
But we can be 'pretty relaxed" about leaving those out eh!
 

I love how pino-key-o phrases his comments with "I think" to get around his lying - no he is not thinking he is lying because he knows it's an untruth

oops - retraction  - his thinking is corrrect and he's not lying - maybe I should check the facts before posting

http://www.interest.co.nz/comment/reply/58335/674433#comment-674433
 

Get a life Kiwis, the world has changed...there is no more "Empire" remember ??
 
In the past we can lived off our "Mother England's empire legacy". That's gone !!
 
It's hard work now like the rest of the world (or at least 3/4 of it )
 
Port Of Auckland's productivity is one third of that of Tauranga. (which by itself is dismal compared to other parts of the world ) It's high time Kiwis start doing some real work for once instead of relying on somebody elses sweat in the name of "uninterupted weekends" and "civilisation".
 
Western nations's economic, social and political situation is still miles ahead of the 3/4 other part of the world so instead of whining and griping about life, just use your advantage in education and skills to improve your productivity and output and keep ahead of the rest (if you can)
 
Wages and productivity goes hand in hand. The rest of the world works for a fifth of what kiwis earn. Do kiwis work five times as hard ?? Hardly, infact the rest of the world works five times as hard as Kiwis and still earn a fifth only.....Get the perspective ??  

You are simply taking out of your rear end! You are trolling and have nothing to back up your claims. Actually the PoAL/POT both ranked very highly when compared to others of their relative status...
 
http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/Sea/Documents/Container_Port_Productivity_report_final.pdf
 
http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/Long%20term%20Optimisation%20of%20the%20New%20Zealand%20Port%20Sector.pdf
 
Have a close look at page 7 and look at the container costs, read to table you nasty little troll!
 

Well, if you wish to live in Fantasyland and believe in your own propaganda, by all means live on !!
 
The highest ranking in port productivity in the world is Singapore with ...get this ....
 
174500 TEUs per crane per year.....followed by 
Hong Kong at ....
156000 TEUs per crane per year.....Port of Auckland does not even get into the list.. nor does any other port of NZ !!
 
Get a life....face facts and stop believing your own propaganda...and stop expecting the rest of the world to pay for your indulgences......
 
Remember President Sakhozy and Merkel actually ask China (which is 1/10 their wealth) to help Europe finance thier spending deficit ?? Don't westerners has any shame ??
 

Really drawing a long bow here arent you - Singapore and HK are not in the comparative ports analysis are they, care to have a guess why that might be Einstein - Let me help you - Because they are not the competition ports!
What has the debt of Europe go to do with this discussion?
 
"Get a life....face facts and stop believing your own propaganda...and stop expecting the rest of the world to pay for your indulgences" - WTF are you on about with this comment kin?
 
I would suggest maybe going to take a breather, its all obviosuly a little too much for you!
 
 

We do live in a Global economy  don't we ?? Of course we would like to "compete" among "ourselves".....it makes us feel good, afterall in the world of the blind, the one eye jack is king ..... How better to feel good if not by self delusion ??
 
Take a bigger look into the world and see it as it is and then compare NZ with the rest of the world as see it and NZ should be !!!

How old are you Kin you make the points I would expect from a teen or someone who has not actually seen the world...maybe yuou have seen some of it but not really understood it at all, or how it all hangs together
 
Note - I have live abroad over 10 years, and travelled the world, and have a very good understanding of how it works, from the industries I have operated inside of!
 
I have provided many links, talked to warfies, and councilors alike, as well as attended many meeting to listen to all sides - Auckland is being taken for a ride, as have you with your naive commentary!
 
Run along, you have nothing to offer this topic, because you have no idea the core issues, nor how the world really works, in so far as what NZ needs to do to look after itself. - It does not start with NZ trying to be anything other than NZ!
 
 
http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/POAL_SCI_2011to2014.pdf
 
http://waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html#!http://waitakerenews.blogspot.com/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html
 
http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/Long%20term%20Optimisation%20of%20the%20New%20Zealand%20Port%20Sector.pdf

On the contrary, i do lived overseas and run my own business for more than 2 decades before selling it. I may be as old as you or even older. My experience with industries throughout the world give me the  overview that you refuse to see nor acknowledge.
 
This is why I see New Zealand as uncompetitive and worse, refusing to admit it. kiwis are still hankerring to the good old days which has gone and will never come back.
 
All those links tha you gave are nothing if not self congratulatory self writeup.
Even a casual comparison with other parts of the world will show it's flaws. kiwis are like frogs living in a well, all they see is their speck of the world and think it is heaven.... 

kiwis are still hankerring to the good old days which has gone and will never come back.
 
So, kin, can NZers expect better prospects than what we have if we follow the lead of these overseas economies that you suggest we should use as comparisons?  Which economies do you refer to?
 
 
 
 

We do live in a Global economy  don't we ??
 
Globalization is an ideology;
 
http://mams.rmit.edu.au/es4cefpg6ifj1.pdf
 
A construct.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Get a life...
The irony of it  ....
http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/published_docs/Final-LM-Report-English.pdf
 
Start reading from page 54 in the .pdf document.
 
 
 
 
 

I feel 5 times more stupid for reading that comment. 

In the process of trying to move a container load of household from AK to Dunedin. 
*Cry*

Perhaps this might have some bearing on the dispute:
9. However, the real issue is the lack of flexibility which results in an excessive amount of paid downtime at the port. This means that for every 40 hours paid, Ports of Auckland’s stevedores are only working 26. This is not financially sustainable.
 

Stevedore Remuneration at POAL
1. Leading accountancy firm Ernst & Young has examined the remuneration of stevedores at Ports of Auckland during the 2011 financial year.
2. Ports of Auckland commissioned the work in response to claims by the Maritime Union of New Zealand – Local 13 (MUNZ) that remuneration figures quoted by the company were overstated and relied on excessive amounts of overtime being worked.
3. Ernst & Young found Ports of Auckland was correct in stating that the average remuneration for full time stevedores was $91,000.
4. Not a single full-time stevedore earned as little as the $56,700 described by the Maritime Union as the basic wage at Ports of Auckland.
5. Ernst & Young found that even part time stevedores made more than this, earning on average $65,000.
6. 43 individuals earned over $100,000 with the highest earner making $122,000.
7. Union claims that a stevedore would have to work around 32 weeks of overtime a year to receive the average remuneration of $91,000 are untrue.
8. The $91,000 includes a range of allowances, benefits and shift payments with the average number of hours paid per week averaging 43.
9. However, the real issue is the lack of flexibility which results in an excessive amount of paid downtime at the port. This means that for every 40 hours paid, Ports of Auckland’s stevedores are only working 26. This is not financially sustainable.
10. Superannuation contributions and medical insurance worth $2,055 annually are included in the remuneration figures. Ports of Auckland matches the superannuation contributions of employees covered by the collective agreement up to a maximum of 7%.
11. Employees are also entitled to 15 days sick leave per annum, accruing up to 45 days. All shift workers are entitled to five weeks annual leave. Training for all stevedoring tasks (crane driving, straddle driving and lashing) is undertaken in house and is paid for by the company.

 

POAL Findings

As examined by Ernst & Young

Average wage for full time Stevedore

$91.480

$91,481

Average wage for a part time Stevedore

$65,518

$65,519

Stevedore earning greater than $80,000

123 individuals

122 individuals

Stevedore earning greater than $100,00

43 individuals

43 individuals

Highest paid Stevedore

$122,000

$122,054

Hourly rates

Task

Rate

Stevedoring rate for lashing, general duties and standard straddle driving

$27.26 per hour

Night shift premium

$42.38 per shift

Skill task allowance (e.g. crane driving, twin-lifting, lash leading hand, ship foreman, yard foreman, as required foreman)

$5.70 per hour

Overtime lashing by stevedores

$22.48 per hour

Permanent lasher

$20.00 per hour

Casual lashing

$17.12 per hour

Meal allowance (for afternoon and night shifts)

$8.53 per shift

http://needforchange.poal.co.nz/

CO - You are missing some rather important fatcs in your post, so here are some for you, ive posted them before.
1: SOI
2: ACIL
3: PBE
4: ROE
5: Container unload costs Oz $400 (approx), NZ $260 (approx) - 2009 figures
6: Comparison with competition ports - include contractor wages when you do so
7: Employment contracts
8: Employment Law...
 
I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the point. The pay rates have got nothing to do with the PoAL issue other than they have been used in an attempt to get the public offside with workers, and have people say "look at those unskilled lazy warfies, who earn heaps" etc. The issue is about breaking the union with an eye to privatizing the port, and possibly selling off the land the PoAL resides on. I have had this confirmed in an email conversation between two of the more prominent councilors.
The argument the port has put forward has changed a number of times now, at first it was efficiency when compared to POT, however they left out the contract wage costs during the comparison, and this was easily debunked, so they attacked the warfies "high" wages, then about the same time they talked about "flexibility" - All the while trying to invent ways to bolster the PoAL managements weak position, using spurious claims to improved performance etc, all which have been debunked by the MOT'/PoAL's own documents. Underlying all of this is the SOI set by the council to PoAL management, outlining the measure of performance by the PoAL. This document is set until 2014 currently.
Trying to argue anything at all without relating it to the SOI, is really not dicussing the core factors from which all the other talking points would arise. Underlying this has been media lies, and I'm sure some from the union also...
What peoples livlihoods depend on is a matter of how they or their union have negotiated on behalf. To have a trumped up attempt to alter the conditions of ones working conditions based on what I believe is pre-meditated planning is simply unacceptable. As is passing judgement on what peoples income conditions are. The PoAL has made it clear that the aim was to demonise workers by way of the pay and conditions that were in the collective agreement! Gullible public propaganda 101!
 
In case you missed my earlier links -
http://www.poal.co.nz/news_media/publications/POAL_SCI_2011to2014.pdf
 
http://waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html#!http://waitakerenews.blogspot.com/2012/03/ports-of-auckland-is-performing-better.html
 
 

LloydM1 my post was an attempt to put some figures from the EY report, given the earlier conversation you had with others re the $91,000 income:
"This means that for every 40 hours paid, Ports of Auckland’s stevedores are only working 26. This is not financially sustainable."
This throws a somewhat different light to the 'person on the sidelines watching' such as me, to your earlier comments and shows that you have not actually read the report, but are prepared to comment on it, ignorant of the detail of it. Your earlier comments:
There are no penal rates on the warf whatsoever!
Key knows the 90K is BS, the avergae is between about 50-60k, and he also knows that he will not be picked up on it by the muppet media, nor anyone that can influence public opinion..

 
The EY "independent review" gave averages, but it did not as far as I am aware state how many hours of work were required to get the "average",
I do hear what you say, just not convinced that it can be financially efficient for any company to pay for 40hours work when only 26 are actually completed.
 
I spoke to a truckie recently who is now an owner driver contracted to a company he used to be an employee of.  He said at the start when the company moved to contractors he felt much aggreived.  However, he said now that he has been doing it for a while he thinks it's the best thing to happen for him.  Perhaps that what the unions need to realise - there is a season to everything. As to the Auckland Council division and intentions - the people voted the councillors in and they say you get what you deserve with elected officials. ;-)
 

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