New Zealand dockers resume work while talks continue

Back to work in Auckland: A group of engineers were the first members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) to return to work on April 5th. MUNZ President Garry Parsloe (front, center) accompanied the returning workers. MUNZ has won an important battle but the war is far from over as the workers and the Ports of Auckland management return to the negotiating table.

By early April, union dockworkers were back on the job at the Port of Auckland, following an employer lockout that ended with an order by New Zealand’s Employment Court and a massive show of international solidarity that included help from the ILWU.

“Many members of Congress understand how problems in New Zealand can quickly impact ports around the globe,” said ILWU International Vice President Ray Familathe. The Maritime Union of New Zealand(MUNZ) reported that negotiations have gone slowly since the lockout ended. MUNZ President Garry Parsloe says negotiations should have been completed months ago.

“The only response we have ever got is that they want total flexibility in the workplace with no guaranteed days off, no protection against casualization and a package that would significantly reduce pay.”

In March, members of the ILWU’s Coast Legislative Committee briefed members of Congress in Washington, D.C. about the antiunion attacks then underway against dockworkers in Auckland. Members of Congress expressed their concern by writing formal letters to the government of New Zealand.

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