Lyttelton strike action as mediation fails

RMTU members cited the port company’s unwillingness to offer a 1%-higher pay rate or to pay workers following last week’s late withdrawal of industrial action RMTU members cited the port company’s unwillingness to offer a 1%-higher pay rate or to pay workers following last week’s late withdrawal of industrial action

Last week’s gestures of mutual goodwill leading into mediation have failed to result in a breakthrough in the industrial dispute between the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and Lyttelton Port Company (LPC).

Claiming “employer intransigence” towards “eight scenarios” it put forward for settlement, the RMTU commenced five days’ strike action on March 21.

LPC has countered the RMTU does not want parity, as claimed, with the other major union at the port - the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) - it “wants an unfair advantage”.

With the RMTU not accepting the same roster changes MUNZ agreed to a year ago, LPC is offering it a salary rise of 3% a year for three years - 1% less than that being paid to MUNZ.

The industrial action is causing significant disruption to the supply chain. Local media has estimated a missed port call costing containerlines NZ$70,000 to NZ$100,000 and the port NZ$150,000 to NZ$200,000.

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