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Union hails Tauranga stevedore court ruling

A Tauranga stevedore has won what the Maritime Union believes is a landmark case. File Image. SunLive.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says a recent court ruling involving a Tauranga stevedore will signal big changes for shift workers.

Maritime Union member George Lye took a case against his employer, Tauranga-based stevedore ISO, over the availability clause he was offered in an employment agreement.

In the Employment Court on November 3, Judge Smith ruled the availability clause ISO had offered was not compliant with the Employment Relations Act (2000).

The judge agreed with the view of the plaintiff and the Maritime Union that, under the law, employees need to be paid for their “availability”.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the complex points of law have a simple outcome for workers.

He says employees have been required to park their life up and make themselves available for work at all times, with changing shipping schedules meaning workers are often left waiting for a shift that is sometimes altered or cancelled.

“This leaves workers without any ability to plan their lives and participate in family or community events outside of work, because their time is not their own,” says Craig.

The ruling means employers must specify some hours of work when employees will be working, and if employees are required to be available for work at other times, compensation must be paid to the employee for their availability.

Craig says the compensation amount for availability must reflect the amount of flexibility being required, but this will make a substantial difference to take home pay when the amount of flexibility being requested in the industry is taken into account.

He says workers will benefit either way from an improved income or more secure hours.

“This ruling will make a major difference to employees at some Tauranga stevedoring companies and has national implications,” says Craig.

ISO had no comment when approached by SunLive.

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3 Comments
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Guarsnteeed Hours

Posted on 11-11-2021 21:36 | By

It’s called Guaranteed Hours, much like the support services for caregivers, they are employed with a minimum of hours they wish to work and if not rostered shifts within that time their wages are topped up. It’s a no brainers for employees, you should at least be guaranteed enough hours a week to live and if the Company can’t do that, shame on them. Port workers used to be well looked after but now, profit over caring for their staff took over, now a bite in the backside for them.

Great Outcome

Posted on 11-11-2021 09:30 | By

This is an excellent decision. Your job already dictates what time you get up, what time you go to bed, what time you’re hungry. On-call and not payed is just cruel and unethical. Exploitation of workers and their families. To quote The Professor - Excellent result, well done.

Excellent result.

Posted on 11-11-2021 08:08 | By

Well done!! Too many employers think it is okay to disrupt and control the personal lives of employees. To many of us are ’on call’ with the likes of cell phones too. Hopefully this changes the shape of employment throughout NZ.