PrimePort U-turn saves 16 jobs

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 15:35 20/06/2014

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An unexpected move by PrimePort's CEO to step down may have contributed to a U-turn on the decision to disestablish 16 jobs at the Timaru port.

PrimePort said today it would not disestablish any jobs, reversing an announcement earlier this month that the jobs would be restructured at the port.

PrimePort chairman Roger Gower said there had been a consultation process for all the parties concerned to review the positions.

When PrimePort chief executive officer Jeremy Boys advised them of his intentions to resign, the board decided to ''throw the proposal out'', he said.

''This is a positive story. We are in a growth stage at the moment,'' Gower said.

However, Gower also said that although most staff had applied for new jobs, it would be beneficial for everyone to continue with exsisting employment.

Boys said it was always intended staff were able to retain jobs either at PrimePort or within the container terminal operation.

The change of heart has pleased Rail Marine Transport Union (RMTU) South Island organiser John Kerr.

The members had stood strong and no-one had re-applied for the jobs, and they had also made a submission to the Employment Relations Authority regarding their concerns, Kerr said.

''I cannot say for sure it was those two actions that caused the U-turn, but whatever way I am pleased. Pragmatism has ruled the day,'' Kerr said.

The Timaru District Council, through their investment company, Timaru Holdings, sold a 50 per cent stake in the port to Port of Tauranga in 2012. It was the first council with port holdings in New Zealand to do so.

Port of Tauranga owns the container terminal and the two companies that operate it - Timaru Container Terminal and Quality Marshalling. The two companies announced earlier this month the creation of new jobs.

It is uncertain how many new jobs would be created.

Port of Tauranga corporate services manager Sara Lunam said the situation was a Prime Port issue and did not concern Tauranga's operations.

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- The Timaru Herald

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