Auckland firefighters marching in support of the Ports of Auckland strike have been greeted by a rousing haka on the picket line this morning (Monday).
About 330 Maritime Union members started a 24-hour strike at 10.30pm on Thursday and were then locked out of the port for the weekend. The workers resumed their strike this morning.
The union is striking over the collective agreement it has been offered, but the port says in the current climate its offer to roll over the existing agreement with a 2.5 per cent pay rise and a signing bonus in lieu of backpay is fair.
The strike and lockout effectively means the Bledisloe and Fergusson container terminals have been shut down for four days.
The Ports of Auckland has put a $300 million price tag on the disruption to trade, and retailers fear Christmas stock will be stuck on the wharves.
Auckland president of the firefighters union Mike McEnaney says firefighters want to show their support and solidarity for port workers as firefighters throughout the city are also struggling to come to an agreement over collective contracts.
“Clearly if employers are unwilling to settle fair and reasonable contracts then it is evident that there is a need for other workers to get in behind and show their support and that is the intention of the Auckland firefighters,” he said.
It is the first lockout on the waterfront since 1951. A second strike and lock-out is planned for next weekend.
From Auckland Now