In the wake of initial signs of positive movement in the struggle by the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) to gain a fair and just contract with the Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL), the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are monitoring developments to decide how to continue their support of the struggle.
On 31st January, MUNZ reacted with guarded optimism to a POAL statement that the employer is willing to compromise, on the basis of the recommendations of a facilitator, to reach a settlement of a collective agreement at the port.
MUNZ national president Garry Parsloe said the union considers the recommendations as a whole to be a useful basis to enter into what it hopes will be a successful round of negotiations with POAL, as is recommended by the facilitator, to reach a settlement that is fair to all the parties.
The recent movement mirrors what Parsloe said in August 2012: “What we need now is a bit of common sense. We’ve had the months and months of fighting. We’ve had the strikes, we’ve had the lockouts. It’s about time we signed off on a collective, put everyone to rest and let the port kick on again.”
“We hope this is a sign that our comrades in New Zealand will soon achieve a just and fair agreement with an employer that has used lock-outs and anti-union tactics,” said Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the MUA and president of the ITF. “While we welcome the initial signs of progress, we want to make clear that we will not pull back one bit in our global support for the MUNZ workers and we will monitor the developments closely.”
“Our comrades in Auckland and their families have been through enough,” said Sharon James, secretary of the ITF dockers’ section. “The insecurity must end. ITF affiliates now expect POAL to negotiate in good faith to conclude a fair deal with MUNZ as soon as possible, and continue to back the union until that goal is achieved.”