The Maritime Union is furious. Ports of Auckland’s outgoing CEO Tony Gibson received nearly $ 1.8 million before leaving the company.
Gibson, who resigned in May, faces health and safety charges in the death of a longshoreman last year.
That death is one of three linked to the Ports in recent years, along with multiple injuries.
Before leaving the job, Gibson had a salary of about $ 820,000, the highest paid employee there.
But the latest annual report shows a quitting employee pay of between $ 1.78 million and $ 1.79 million in the last financial year.
New Zealand Maritime Union President Craig Harrison said the payment went to Tony Gibson, and he was sick to see how much the figure was.
“There have been deaths in ports and the trauma that those families have endured and gone through over the last year, and just seeing someone walk away from Auckland ports with so much money.
“Over the years, I’ve seen workers lose their jobs over sometimes trivial things, and it has had a huge impact on their lives, and there was nothing in the way of the packages when they left,” he said.
Independent Maori Statutory Board Vice Chairman Tau Henare was among a group of people calling for Gibson’s resignation after a damning health and safety report earlier this year. He said it was incredibly frustrating to see how much they had paid him now.
“Any worker on the planet who would have stood up to him like him probably would have received four weeks’ salary and then told him to go away.”
He said the payment was shocking and reflected Gibson’s privilege.
Henare said the Ports Board was complicit in allowing Gibson to receive the money and called for the entire board to be replaced.
Labor attorney Kathryn McKinney said $ 1 million was a significant payoff for any outgoing executive.
“When someone from a higher level leaves, sometimes a separate new agreement is reached, an ‘exit agreement’, and often they also come with confidentiality clauses around it, which could have fallen into an integral part of this. output sum “.
Harrison said the Gibson contract should never have been allowed to include such a significant payment.
“When they had the first death in the port, surely the alarm bells should have gone off and the package should have been searched.
“There must be some way they could have changed the address of the package, or the ‘parachute clause’ for lack of a better word, it just looks like they let him go and let him go and he left.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Auckland ports said the board had to take into account existing contractual agreements between the company and Gibson, which included confidentiality.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the Auckland Council was not consulted or informed about the board’s decision to make the payment.
“While the board has the authority to do this, it is not a decision agreed upon or endorsed by the council. On the contrary, I do not support the decision, nor do I believe other councilors would support it,” he said.
Gibson will make his first court appearance regarding the health and safety charges later this month.