The Ports of Auckland and the Maritime Union have entered talks in an effort to end an eight-month long industrial dispute.
The port company made plans to lay off about 300 striking workers in March this year, but has since put the proposal on hold.
Tuesday's facilitation talks - the highest level of Government-assisted mediation - involve an Employment Relation Authority member who can make non-binding recommendations to the parties.
Union president Garry Parsloe says workers want surety about their futures.
"We just want a collective that has some form of job security in it. We want a collective that doesn't allow the moment we sign the document for them to contract out our jobs.
"If we're going to do an agreement ... we want something positive to move forward with."
Ports of Auckland says six days have been set aside for the process.
The company says a related Employment Court hearing scheduled 16 May has been adjourned because of the death of its lawyer John Haigh, QC, in April.