Port, Fonterra work on sharing staff

Port Otago and Fonterra are undertaking a workplace trial in sharing their respective warehousing staff at peak times between two separate milk-powder warehousing areas at Port Chalmers.

Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket was contacted and said the respective sheds had different times to fill orders, some of which took several days, and the teams could help one another.

"We're looking for the [dairy] teams to work more collaboratively. We've given assurances there is no risk or prospect to displace anyone," he said.

There are 22 full-time Port Otago staff working in D shed packing containers with milk powder, of which five are seasonal but work elsewhere around the port. Fonterra has a dairy team working in B shed.

Port Chalmers branch secretary of the Maritime Union of New Zealand Phil Adams was contacted and said there was an "experiment" being considered to "use one another's workers".

"If it all works well, it could be beneficial to everyone," he said.

He rejected speculation Fonterra was seeking to displace Port Otago staff with its own.

"We will be watching this with interest; first and foremost, we will be protecting our members' jobs," Mr Adams said.

Last financial year, Port Otago paid about $500,000 in 17 voluntary redundancy payments.


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