Holcim New Zealand is facing strike action by cement ship staff. Two of the three unions representing staff on the Milburn Carrier 2 and the Westport have given notice of strike action from next Tuesday. The ships transport cement from Holcim’s Westport works to nation-wide depots for customer distribution. The strike notice evolved from continuing negotiations between Holcim and the New Zealand Merchant Service Guild and the Aviation and Marine Engineers’ Association.
Holcim Cement general manager Jeremy Smith confirmed the company had received the notice but said nobody was definitely striking at this stage. He hoped negotiations would prevent a strike from actually eventuating. “We’re having further mediation talks this week and we’re keen to reach a commercially successful conclusion, in particular for our staff and for the sake of our customers who need the cement. There is mediation taking place on Thursday and to date they’ve taken place in a positive atmosphere and we have no reason to expect the next one won’t be in that same atmosphere.’’
Strike action could cause major problems for Holcim cement customers. The Westport works produces about 500,000t of cement a year. The ships regularly transport cement out of Westport with a maximum cargo of over 3500t each.