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Striking wharfies look to Aus for help

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New Zealand News | Thursday February 23 2012 14:23

Striking wharfies look to Aus for help

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Auckland's striking port workers are looking to Australia for help.

The Ports of Auckland workers announced today they will strike for three weeks from tomorrow.

A delegation will travel to a conference of Maritime Union of Australia workers next week to seek both industrial and financial support.

CTU President Helen Kelly announced the strike move at an Auckland Council meeting.

She says workers have made as many concessions as possible which will include working up to 12 hour shifts, only getting paid for the number of overtime hours they work and also giving up their right not to work night shifts.

Ms Kelly says this is a last resort and workers have nothing to lose.

She says all port company has put on the table are demands for workers turn up when they want them to and threats to contract out labour.

"These workers have offered to vary their shift times to work as many hours as needed to get ships off this port, to make all stuff available day and night."

Meanwhile the Auckland Council is being told it has the power to stop the three week port strike.

The Council of Trade Unions says the council's 12 percent productivity expectation is what's driving the Port of Auckland to do a number of things.

Ms Kelly says they include cutting costs, under-investing in infrastructure, expanding into the Waitemata Harbour and driving trucks around the country to compete with other ports.

She says the council can do everything, including reducing the 12 percent target so the port would have no justification for its plans.

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