Ports have changed greatly over the past century and so has dockwork. Throughout this period, dockers have shown that they can adapt to the evolutions in the sector and be central players in the transport chain.
The unity of the labour movement in ports has been key for achieving important victories to improve working conditions and fight casual work. And now unity and solidarity are what European dockers are calling for once again. Port labour organisation is back in the spotlight, and a new attempt from the European Commission to liberalise port labour is expected in 2016.
In the meantime, some EU countries have been forced to privatise their port sectors and to casualise port labour. An infringement procedure has been opened against Spain on the way port labour is organised and there are indications that other countries could soon be questioned on the same issue.
Among the other challenges affecting dockworkers and their unions there is the growing trend to increase automation and the need to ensure that more and more women join the sector.
Take a look at this short film produced by ETF and ITF which looks into all these issues [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YelkM0QvKVU]