The Lyttelton (port of Christchurch), New Zealand port and container terminal was forced to shut down several times last week. The port container terminal was closed because of a lack of maintenance staff on duty while the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) carried out industrial action. The staff were unavailable due to an overtime ban imposed by the RMTU over pay and health and safety demands.
Organizer for the RMTU John Kerr said the port can not guarantee its workers’ safety without its maintenance staff, who are striking for better wages. “We want to get back around the table and thrash out a deal. It’s in nobody’s interest for ships to be delayed. We’d rather be talking than scrapping,” Kerr said.
Port operations manager Paul Monk said the port is committed to further discussions with RMTU, but a deal under collective bargaining was not likely until after the holiday period. The port is a major trade gateway to the South Island of New Zealand.
RCL Agencies will report further updates once available.