A $100,000 pay rise for Port Otago's chief executive is a "kick in the guts" for port workers fighting for better pay and conditions, a union says.
The port company has released its latest annual report, which includes a dividend of $8.45 million to its shareholder, the Otago Regional Council.
The 2019 report also disclosed the remuneration of chief executive Kerry Winders had increased by $100,000, and he is now paid between $610,000 and $620,000 – a rise of about 16 per cent.
The increased was "a kick in the guys to our toilers of the waterfront who are seeking a modest pay rise", said John Kerr, spokesman for the combined efforts of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and the Maritime Union of New Zealand.
"We're in the middle of negotiations for a port wide collective agreement that covers cargo handlers, marine, maintenance and security staff and this news highlights the wages inequality gap between the rich and those struggling to make ends meet.
"Any success that Port Otago has enjoyed in the past year is ultimately down to rank and file port workers working around the clock in all weathers loading and unloading the freight on shipping so as to grow the Otago economy and meet customer needs."
He slammed the Port Otago offer of a 2 per cent pay rise over 12 months as "mean spirited", and was in stark contrast to the generosity shown to Winders.
Kerr said Winders' six-figure pay rise had "simply inflamed the situation".
It also came as members started an indefinite overtime ban last Saturday.
Issues raised include fatigue management and remuneration.
Three mediated negotiation meetings over the past fortnight resulted in little progress, he said.
"Given the lack of progress and of a decent percentage offer, ... [the pay hike] news has hardened the resolve of our members to obtain a fair share of the profitability of the port company for those whose toil and labour generates the hundred thousand pieces of silver that the CEO is now pocketing.
"We don't see this dispute ending anytime soon unless the dollars are shared amongst the all and not just the management class."