27 Mar 2012

Port talks remain at impasse

6:54 am on 27 March 2012

Fresh talks between Ports of Auckland and the Maritime Union have failed to reach an agreement on when about 300 wharfies will be allowed to return to work.

Last Wednesday, the company agreed to resume negotiations on the contentious collective employment contract after an Employment Court judge advised it to.

However, on Thursday the company issued a lockout notice to workers due to take effect from 6 April.

Coming out of negotiations just before 5pm on Monday, Maritime Union president Gary Parsloe said nothing had been achieved in the three hours of talks.

Mr Parsloe says discussions about when the workers would return to the job got nowhere, with the company still refusing to set a date.

Also on the agenda was the question of whether the workers should be paid as negotiations continue.

Mr Parsloe says the union's hopes now hang on the outcome of an Employment Court hearing, where it is challenging the legality of the lockout notice, on Tuesday.

The company says any return to work immediately is unrealistic until all health and safety requirements are met.