Lyttelton Port suffers industrial action blow

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

A planned 13-day strike by Lyttelton members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) appears set to commence on March 8, following the Employment Court declining an interim injunction application from Lyttelton Port Company (LPC).

Speaking to Port Strategy, LPC operations manager Paul Monk said the industrial action involving 201 workers will “cause significant disruption to our customers”, with the likelihood that shortages of “some critical supplies” will impact the region if the strike evolves.

Addressing the specifics of the dispute, Mr Monk said LPC is offering RMTU members “at least a 3% salary increase a year for three years” and adds that “changes we are seeking are not substantial”.

“LPC’s offer is comparable to our settlement last year with the 201 members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ), the other major union at our port.

“The roster LPC has proposed to RMTU has been safely and efficiently worked for the last year by MUNZ members at the port and they have experienced no fatigue issues associated with it.”

Ahead of LPC confirming the Employment Court’s decision at about midday Tuesday this week, the port’s regular container lines including Maersk Line had already acted to announce their own range of contingency plans, which included temporarily ceasing LPC calls.

Mediation between the parties was planned for today.

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