The employment issues being argued out on the Auckland wharves are the same ones that tertiary education workers face according TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
“The port has told its workers that it wants an agreement where they concede almost complete flexibility in hours of work and rosters. Port management has also said that if the workers will not accept this agreement then it will sack all 330 workers and replace them with contract workers.”
The Port’s proposed new collective agreement completely removes any restrictions on the employment of permanents, casuals or part-timers and provides for no guaranteed shifts, hours, days off or stable work. It provides no protection for workers required to work consecutive shifts. It would mean the Port can change the status and duties of an employee unilaterally, and could allocate any worker to any task.
The Maritime Union says if workers accept the current offer they will not know from day to day what hours they have to work or if they are working at all. They will wait by the phone to know if they are working. “That’s not fair on them or their families.”
Ms Riggs says casualisation is not good for workers.
“Even where there is already a lot of flexibility, workers are expected to give up any hope of a structured and healthy life. New Zealanders need jobs that are secure and safe.”