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Lyttelton Port Strike Update

We recognise the severe disruption this will cause customers and are very disappointed RMTU have taken this position given the generous offers put to them.

We will be working through contingencies with customers impacted by this strike notice. You will be aware from previous days of strike action by RMTU there is very little we can do to mitigate the impacts of the full withdraw of labour as we are unable to berth vessels during strike periods. This is a deliberate action by the RMTU to close port operations with the intention of forcing Lyttelton Port into agreeing to their unreasonable demands.

We do apologise for the severe disruption the RMTU actions are having on the Canterbury business community. We will continue to keep you updated with additional information.

Lyttelton Port Company Chief Executive, Peter Davie said, “Today Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) put three separate options back to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) for their consideration in an attempt to end ongoing industrial action at the Port.

“All three options are very fair and will provide significant wage increases to our staff."

“Unfortunately the RMTU has rejected all three of our offers and served us another strike notice effective one minute past midnight April 20 for five days."

“The RMTU’s response to our three offers was to only make small changes in some areas of their last offer made back to us, but these have not materially affected the overall cost of us reaching settlement. The cost of their offer remains far too high for us to accept."

“Our offer of a 3% wage increase per annum for three years is higher than settlements being agreed by RMTU members in other New Zealand ports. Also, this offer requires no changes to the 199 RMTU members’ roster or the way they work."

“The sticking point is that the RMTU want the same 4% salary increase in the first year that their workmates in the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) received, but they refuse to make the roster changes MUNZ members already have made."

“RMTU claim the roster changes agreed to by MUNZ are unsafe. It is ludicrous to think we would ever put forward unsafe changes and the 201 MUNZ members have no safety issues with the roster changes."

“This enormous disruption to Canterbury’s exporters and importers is because RMTU members want the same money as their MUNZ workmates, but will not accept changes to their rosters, already accepted by their colleagues. I don’t think many people would think this is fair."

“At a time when there is growing business confidence across Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region, and our local economy is outperforming historical activity levels, it’s gutting that our customers are suffering because RMTU members want a better settlement than their workmates in MUNZ."

“On behalf of Canterbury businesses, Lyttelton Port manages more than half of the South Island's containers and 70% of imports. Many of these companies are small and this constant interruption of services is devastating to businesses that are finally gearing up after the disruption of the earthquakes."

“We are committed to resolving this dispute and for the sake of Canterbury businesses we hope that RMTU members will recognise the severe impact their ongoing actions are having on our customers,” says Peter Davie.