31 Jan 2013

Parties willing to reach deal over ports dispute

9:56 pm on 31 January 2013

The Maritime Union says it's willing to compromise with the Ports of Auckland in their industrial dispute over a collective contract.

Talks broke down in 2011, leading to strikes, lock-out notices, court action, privacy complaints and threats of mass redundancies.

A court-ordered facilitator has just reported back on talks between the parties, although his recommendations remain confidential.

Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe saysthe recommendations will be a useful basis to enter another round of negotiations with the company.

"We can compromise around them, there's a lot in there we like. There's a couple of things we don't like, but it's given us certainly a way forward, it's given us some direction and it's given us a platform.

"What we're saying is we'd like to meet at the earliest convenience and get a collective employment agreement and put this matter behind us."

Ports of Auckland spokesperson Matt Ball says the company is not happy with some aspects of the recommendations, but is prepared to accept the facilitator's advice and is optimistic the union will meet them half-way.

"I certainly would hope so. They seem to indicate late last year that they would respond positively to what the facilitator put forward, and it's certainly our hope that they will do that.

"We're willing to compromise in order to do a deal. What we've said we're willing to do is accept his package of recommendations."

The union plans to meet with the Ports of Auckland to discuss the facilitator's advice as soon as possible.