Dockers’ jobs under threat in Norwegian terminal

4 Nov 2013

In order to save costs, the employers at the Risavika Terminal near Stavanger, Norway, refuse to sign up to the national agreement that covers dockworkers. Instead, the employers propose to use seafarers to carry out cargo handling duties. On Friday, 1 November 2013, the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (NTF) has started a boycott in the concerned terminal, demanding the application of the national collective agreement.

ETF Chair of the Dockers’ Section and Chair of the Dockers’ Section within NTF, Terje Samuelsen, reacts: “This is not only a clear breach of the ITF agreement that protects dockworkers, it is again an attempt by employers to cut costs on the expense of European dockers and on the expense of the health and safety standards applicable in ports. Cargo handling is a dangerous job which should only be undertaken by trained dockers. When seafarers are commanded to execute dockers’ work on top of their existing duties, it will lead to fatigue and major safety issues.

The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise has tried twice to stop NTF’s boycott via court. It has however lost both cases and, moreover, the Supreme Court has given NTF the right to use the boycott as a legitimate means to bargain for the collective agreement.

We call all ETF affiliates to express their solidarity and support to the fight in the Risavika terminal. It is one of the numerous attacks dockers are facing in Europe that undermines their jobs, exploits seafarers and leads to social dumping practices, which the ETF will always strongly oppose. All attacks at national level will be dealt with by ETF dockers as European issues” Terje Samuelsen concludes.

The Norwegian Maritime Unions have declared their support for the boycott as well as affiliates from around the Baltic Sea area attending a recent ITF meeting, ‘The Conference of Ten’, held in Copenhagen on 29 October 2013.