Wednesday, March 07, 2012


So, Ports of Auckland has sacked all of its striking workers and announced plans to contract out their jobs. There's no information on whether non-striking workers are facing the same fate, but if they're not it seems to be an outright act of discrimination based on union membership - prohibited under the Employment Relations Act. It also seems to be a balatant violation of the duty to bargain in good faith. As such, it will almost certainly end up in court - and not just in Auckland. We're already seeing workers in other New Zealand ports refusing to unload ships that have docked in Auckland, and we're going to see more of the same. The law is pretty clearly on the employer's sides in this, thanks to National outlawing sympathy strikes, and so New Zealand workers are going to be forced to unload those ships by the courts. But its not just New Zealand ports which are going to have this problem, and that overseas pressure is going to make or break things. After all, what shipping company is going to want to take cargo to Auckland when doing so means your ship will never be unloaded again?

Meanwhile, Len Brown stands on the sidelines and does nothing. And that, I think, is the end of his mayoralty. Elections aren't until 2013, but he's just publicly repudiated his base, and they're not going to forget.