Brief strike respite for Lyttelton

Shipping lines, including Maersk, has already made alternative arrangements. Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ Shipping lines, including Maersk, has already made alternative arrangements. Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ

Industrial action planned from March 15-20 has been suspended by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) ahead of further mediation with Lyttelton Port Company (LPC).

The union responded to LPC’s request for the temporary suspension in order to allow some interim trade to return to the port. A strike notice currently remains in place from March 21-25.

However, the two-day strike enacted earlier this week and the uncertainty caused by previous and future notices are causing severe disruption to shipping schedules as well as significant delays and rerouting costs for local shippers.

The Manufacturers’ Network chief executive Dieter Adam described the South Island’s freight services as being “held to ransom” by the dispute.

“This is particularly frustrating when many of the workers involved may already be on significantly higher wages compared to other workers in the transport industry, and stand to receive further pay increases from the offer put on the table by the port,” he says.

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