Nearly 300 sacked port workers have won back their jobs after Ports of Auckland’s u-turn decision to drop moves to replace them with contractors and re-enter collective agreement talks with the Maritime Union.
The ports company, which had boasted a “bulletproof” legal case, made its surprise decision last night after an informal conference in the Employment Court.
The backdown follows a Herald investigation into a ports manager who was at the bargaining table with the Maritime Union and was also allegedly recruiting non-union wharfies for a private stevedoring company.
Emphasis mine. If this allegation is correct then it sheds a new light on things. Perhaps POALs management was merely acting opportunistically, but this raises the possibility that the decision to break the union was a commercial decision made to enrich POAL’s management – a decision that’s cost the citizens of Auckland somewhere in the region of a hundred million dollars.
If there’s substance to this – and why else would the company have reversed its position so dramatically? – then Brown’s decision to support the port over the wharfies looks even more ill-advised.