A week ago I said I hoped to have three particular pieces up by today. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do a thing. One of the main things that has kept me occupied is a very important industrial dispute here. The Ports of Auckland, which is owned by Auckland city council, has been trying to smash up the waterside workers (or dockers) union and casualise work on the waterfront. This is a very big and important dispute with significant implications for all the ports here and for much wider sections of workers. Yesterday all the Auckland ports workers belonging to the union (the Maritime Union of NZ) were sacked.
When wharfies in other New Zealand ports have boycotted ships handled by non-union labour in Auckland the local port companies, which are owned by local councils, have gone to the Employment Court and been granted injunctions to force their workers, who belong to MUNZ and the Rail and Maritime Transport (RMT) union, to handle the ‘blacked’ ships. There’s quite draconian legislation here which means that individual workers can be fined, imprisoned and have personal assets seized. The capitalist Labour Party, for instance, made secondary/solidarity strikes and actions illegal during its last term in government. There are 16-17 articles on the port dispute on the Redline blog in New Zealand. Go to the blog here, and check the category Wharfies and you should find all the pieces.
Last night we had a picket in Lyttelton (the port which serves Christchurch), after the Lyttelton port company had gotten an injunction to force their employees to work a ‘blacked’ ship. Anyway, involvement in stuff around this, along with a lot of ordinary work-work, has held up stuff on this blog. I hope to resume normal transmission on this blog soon. . .