The results of a secret ballot of Port of Timaru workers saw an overwhelming majority vote for strike action to pursue a general wage increase of 8%. 94% of workers voting supported industrial action.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) South Island Organiser John Kerr says the decision was not taken lightly, but was a reflection of the strongly held views of port workers.
‘The vote provides a mandate for strike action anytime from 7th -24th December. The RMTU has been in negotiations for a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) with Prime Port Timaru and Quality Marshalling since May and the employers have made it clear they would prefer not to enter into a MECA and have only offered below inflation adjustments to pay.’
‘These workers have kept good moving across the wharves throughout the pandemic, and as essential workers they want to see recognition of their service.’
He says rising living costs are reflected in the latest inflation measures, and in the continuing rise in housing and accommodation costs.
Mr Kerr says an 8% increase to members pay is not unreasonable in such circumstances. ‘Members are hopeful that the vote will send a signal to their employers and act as a catalyst for meaningful negotiation. We have told the employers we are available for talks anytime next week ’