[Marxism] Auckland port workers dispute

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 7 14:46:45 MST 2012

A very important dispute is going on in NZ at present.  Ports of Auckland,
which is owned by the city council, is sacking its entire unionised
workforce.  The bosses want to essentially introduce casualisation.  Ships
that have not been unloaded in Auckland have gone to other ports where
local port companies have taken out court injunctions to force local
wharfies (what in the US are called longshore workers or in Britain
dockers) to unload ships.  Ignoring the court injunction means individual
employees can be fined, have assets seized, be jailed etc.  At present the
bosses have workers completely tied up in legal knots and no union seems
prepared to break the law.

The fairly draconian industrial laws here are the product of both Labour
and National governments.  It was actually Labour which made secondary or
solidarity industrial action illegal.  And the mayor of Auckland is a
Labourite who got several thousand dollars from the wharfies union when
running for election recently.

Anyway, there are a host of articles - 16 in all I think - on the current
dispute (plus an interview with the legendary 1940s and early 1950s
wharfies' leader Jock Barnes from 1991) on the Redline blog, which I'm
involved in.  Check out: http://rdln.wordpress.com/
Go to the categories section and look under Wharfies, or just start
scrolling down the home page.


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