9 Mar 2012

Port workers vote for levy to support strikers

6:10 am on 9 March 2012

Port workers in Christchurch have voted to support their colleagues in Auckland by paying a weekly levy in order to help them financially.

Up to 292 workers at Ports of Auckland are to be made redundant as the port company is pushes ahead with its plan to contract out work on its wharves.

The workers are on strike in the latest industrial action in a long-running dispute.

Lyttelton Port workers who belong to the Maritime Union and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union met on Thursday afternoon to discuss ways in which they could support Auckland port workers.

The meeting was addressed by the leaders of both unions and the Council of Trade Unions.

Lyttelton Port's Maritime Union organiser Les Wells says the size of the levy is still to be decided, but $50 per week proved to be a popular suggestion.

Strike extended

Meanwhile sacked Auckland port workers have added two weeks to their strike four-week strike.

The Maritime Union says dismissing the workers is unlawful, and it intends to take legal action.

Union president Garry Parsloe says in order to give themselves more time, they have decided to extend the strike.

Mr Parsloe says that legally the port company should not be able to replace the workers while they are on strike, so they have to stay out for longer.

The company's chairman Richard Pearson says the union should focus on the redundancy process instead, and allow its members to make their own decisions about their future.