Port workers claim bullying continues
The bitterest industrial dispute in years may have fallen out of the headlines, but the distrust between workers and Ports of Auckland management continues.
Union members claim they are being belittled, demeaned and targeted, a claim Ports of Auckland management rejects as overly sensitive.
More than three months after union members returned to work after eight months on the picketline when their collective employment agreement expired, and negotiations became mired in claim and counter-claim, facilitation of the collective is being worked on alongside the Employment Relations Authority.
Maritime Union New Zealand president Garry Parsloe said unease between management and workers continued, and workers had been told not to talk to the media.
''Management is trying to bully people to get what it wants,'' he said.
''We're still trying to get a collective, the men want security, and we haven't got there.''
Parsloe said there had been a large number of disciplinary hearings since workers returned, including for talking too loudly, and making pigeon sounds.
''Every time somebody coughs there is a disciplinary hearing, they are attacking people continuously, making their lives miserable.'' he said. ''There are people getting disciplined for all sorts of things, - it's ridiculous for infinitesimal little things.''
Parsloe said the hearings are a way for brow-beating the workers into submission.
''They [workers] think it's part of their [management] campaign to undermine the workforce to try and get them a little bit weakened so they will agree to what is put to them,'' he said.
''At the end of the day they are hoping they will just take anything. And we don't think it's very nice, they don't need to do that - you're only as good as the people you employ.''
Ports spokesman Matt Ball rejected claims management was intimidating staff.
''Things are going normally - as far as I know things are fine,'' he said.
''Uneasiness? That's an individual's perception.''
Parsloe said Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson continued to claim productivity needed improvement, yet paid bonuses to staff.
''How mad are they, he's saying it's not functioning, yet he is paying out bonuses.''
Ball said there was no conflict in paying bonuses but still wanting improvement. ''Despite management giving the workers bonuses, we still need to do better.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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