Lyttelton Port disappointed Union strikes will proceed after RMTU refusing generous salary offer today
Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) is very disappointed that the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) today refused a generous salary increase offer during mediation and insists on striking from midnight tonight.
LPC has now received strike notices for 13 – 25 March inclusive.
LPC Operations Manager Paul Monk says the Company has offered RMTU members a 3% salary increase each year for three years while asking for no changes in their conditions of work.
“We are no longer asking them to make the roster changes, agreed to a year ago by their Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) colleagues at the Port, which would allow us to offer customers more flexible servicing of their vessels. The reason MUNZ members received a salary increase of 4% this year and 3% for the next two years was because they embraced and are working the flexible roster RMTU is refusing to accept.
“We have previously offered RMTU members in the Terminal parity with these conditions and wages. However, RMTU want the same salary increases as their MUNZ colleagues while refusing to make the same roster changes.
“It is misleading of RMTU to claim we have not done everything we could to have ships return to our Port following the short notice withdrawal of strike notices they gave us last week. We worked very hard with our customers to have more than eight vessels come into the Port between Sunday night and today (Monday 12 March). That is a significant achievement in a very tight timeframe.
“International shipping does not usually allow for vessel diversion at short notice. Managing the return of vessels to our Port this weekend (10 -11 March) came at a significant cost and disruption to shipping lines, Canterbury shippers, importers and exporters who had already diverted cargo to other Ports.
“We want to stop this unnecessary disruption for customers being caused by the Union’s industrial action. This is why we have dropped our claim for roster changes and last week made such a generous offer to them to try and resolve the dispute.
“Shipping lines cannot continue to revise their vessel plans if RMTU continue to withdraw strike notices with insufficient time for ships and cargo to be diverted back to our Port. The RMTU withdrew strike notices too late last week and that left our wharves empty on Friday. Even when there were no ships here, and not enough work for all of them, they argued that they should be paid to come to the Port and do nothing.
“We remain committed to resolving the industrial situation but RMTU’s unreasonable salary demands, for more than double the current inflation rate of 1.6%, and its members’ absolute determination to strike make it extremely difficult to reach a settlement.”