Hope in Ports of Auckland dispute
As the Ports of Auckland employment dispute grinds into its sixteenth month, a long-awaited resolution may be on the horizon.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has been facilitating efforts to form a collective agreement between the Port company and the Maritime Union.
It has now sent out a set of recommendations to both parties to try and break the impasse.
Maritime Union boss Garry Parsloe confirmed that the ERA recommendations had been received around the middle of last week.
He said the contents were confidential, for now.
"They may well become public, or they may well not."
However, there is no guarantee that the non-binding recommendations will bring an end to the standoff.
The dispute, which began in September 2011, was centred around the Port's plan to introduce flexible working conditions to improve productivity and competitiveness.
It has prompted rolling strikes, lock-outs, mass protests and bitter public debate, as well as inconveniencing retailers and port customers.
Most of the industrial action had died down by April last year, when the two parties sought help from the Government to hash out a collective agreement.
Ports of Auckland, which is controlled by the Auckland Council, could not be reached for comment today.