Emerging from the meeting with the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) in London today, ITF President and MUA General Secretary Paddy Crumlin, and ITF General Secretary David Cockroft warned that the Port of Auckland is on the brink of being declared a 'Port of Convenience'.
The warning came as the dispute between Auckland dockers and the ports company dragged into its fourth month, and Paddy Crumlin and David Cockroft sent the following message to Ports of Auckland company CEO Tony Gibson:
"The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) represents 690 unions in 155 countries. Our Dockers' Section represents over 400,000 members in more than 200 major ports around the world.
We are aware of the grave situation facing our brothers and sisters in the Port of Auckland, where members of our affiliate, the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) have been monitoring events closely.
We know that negotiation on the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement began in September of last year. We know that the two parties involved were close to signing a new agreement and the MUNZ had agreed to an increase in the use of TRACC in a gesture that would contribute to improved performance in the port.
We are informed that POAL is now trying to remove the collective agreement with MUNZ. In our opinion, this constitutes a fundamental attack on trade union rights in the Port of Auckland.
We understand that the whole workforce of 300 dockworkers have been threatened with the loss of their employment if they do not sign up to a standard agreements outside the national union agreement.
The ITF considers this behaviour as an outrageous attack on basic trade union rights. If this attempt to force workers to abandon their existing agreements continues the ITF will declare the Port of Auckland a 'Port of Convenience' and will request our affiliates around the world, particularly in the Dockers and Seafarers Sections, to take immediate lawful action.
We strongly urge you to enter into a genuine dialogue with the union to find an acceptable solution that is in the interest of all parties concerned.
We look forward to receiving your positive response and an acceptable resolution to the matter."
Send letters of solidarity here: http://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/solidarity-3502.cfm/letter/85/