There have been allegations made today about a kindred blogger at The Standard; allegations which he has refuted. These allegations were also refuted by the Communications Manager for PoAL, Catherine Etheredge. Ms Etheredge has also provided some clarity to the area of earnings of MUNZ members working for PoAL; check this out:
I can confirm that the average remuneration for a full time stevedore, in the year ended June 30, 2011, was $91,480. The average remuneration for a part time stevedore (guaranteed at least 24 hours work a week) was $65,518.
53% of full time stevedores (123 individuals) earned over $80,000. 28% (43 individuals) earned over $100,000 with the highest earner making $122,000.
The averages were calculated by POAL’s payroll team based on actual payments, including for leave days, medical insurance and superannuation contributions. (For employees covered by the collective agreement, POAL matches their superannuation contributions up to a maximum of 7%.) We excluded those who had worked for less than the full 12 months e.g. had left part way through the year.
Employees are also entitled to 15 days sick leave per annum, accruing up to 45 days. All shift workers are entitled to five weeks annual leave. Training for all stevedoring tasks (crane driving, straddle driving and lashing) is undertaken in house and is paid for by the company.
One question that has been asked is how many hours you have to work to earn that $91,000. Stevedores who earned the average $91,000 in the 2010/11 financial year were paid for an average of 43 hours per week, excluding leave days. If you factor leave days in, that increases to 49 hours per week.
This leads to the key issue for the company – the high amount of paid downtime – an average of 35% of total hours paid. An employee getting paid for a 43 hour week is only working around 28 hours; for a 40 hour week, 26 hours. In a busy week, employees get paid for 66.5 hours but can only work for a maximum of 44.5.
On Monday 9 January, to give a recent example, we paid 26 staff a total of $5,484,80 for downtime, because they were entitled to be paid until the end of their set eight hour shift even though the ship had finished & they had gone home. In another example employees worked two hours of an overtime shift but were paid for the full eight hours.
This is not a cost-efficient nor sustainable labour model, especially when the company is not covering its cost of capital, cannot therefore justify further investment in order to grow, and its closest competitor has a labour utilisation rate in excess of 80%. (At Port of Tauranga stevedores start and finish work when a ship arrives and departs).
The company has offered an upfront 10% increase to hourly rates along with the retention of existing terms and conditions in return for more flexible rosters which would significantly reduce the amount of paid downtime. Employees would have the opportunity to plan their roster a month in advance. This proposal would result in a people being remunerated for fewer overall hours at a higher rate than they would currently get for the same paid hours. To be fair, until such time as container volumes recover/improve, the 10% increase to hourly rates would not (as some commentators have suggested) push average remuneration over $100K.
Ports of Auckland
Ms Etheredge has subsequently confirmed that these figures are NOT inflated by redundancy or severance payments to workers. In fact she is emphatic on that point:
mickysavage – we did not include one off payments such as redundancy – the averages were calculated only on current employees who worked the full year.
It's wonderful that Catherine Etheredge has come down from her glass tower at PoAL to engage with readers at The Standard. Because in doing so, she has reinforced just how well PoAL's stevedoring stuff is remunerated; an average income of $91,000 for an average of 43 hours worked per week is a very good money in anyone's language.
And she has also totally debunked MUNZ's claim that stevedores earned on average around $64,000 per annum. In addition, she's highlighted just why what PoAL is asking in the way of flexibility is so necessary. No business can expect to be profitable when staff are paid for hours that haven't actually been worked.
Whoever "James Henderson" is (and we have our suspicions), his attempts to smear Cameron Slater and PoAL have failed in spectacular fashion; this afternoon's response via Catherine Etheredge has dealt a blow to any credibility that MUNZ retained and to those from the Left who have rallied to MUNZ's call to tell all and sundry how hard-done-by the stevedores are.