4 Oct 2011

Port Otago workers to fight job cuts

8:32 pm on 4 October 2011

Waterfront workers at Port Otago have vowed to fight the company's plan to cut 12 jobs.

About 150 workers from the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and the Maritime Union made the decision at a stopwork meeting at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on Tuesday.

Port Otago wants to shed the 12 cargo handling roles because it has lost about 10% of its container work from July this year in a change of shipping routes.

The Port Chalmers secretary of the Maritime Union says workers believe the company has over-reacted to a quiet time of the year.

Phil Adams says the cuts are unacceptable when Port Otago just paid its regional council owner a record $12.5 million dividend.

Mr Adams says the unions will engage with Port Otago to try to change its mind, but will take industrial action if the company forces any compulsory redudancies.

Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket says the changes were announced in May and began in July, and the company waited three months to see what the full effect would be.

Mr Plunket says the company hopes the jobs to go can be all be found from volunteers and he will consider union alternatives if put forward.