ETF and IDC support Norway rally for striking dockers

17 Jan 2014

The campaign to support Norwegian dockers on strike over the need for a national dock register is escalating.

Two hundred supporters from all over Scandinavia attended the national rally, which took place at the Cafe Theatre in Oslo last week, with backing from the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and affiliated unions, and members of the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC).

The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Federation (NTF) organised the event following the failure of port employers to sign up to a register which would guarantee unloading and loading work is ring fenced for dockers. Three strikes are currently ongoing as part of the dispute, in Tromso, Mosjoen and Risavika.

Under International Labour Organization (ILO) convention 137, and the ITF dockers’ clause, no worker other than a trained, professional docker can carry out loading and unloading work. In contravention of this, some employers in Norway have declared intentions to make use of seafarers to carry out cargo handling duties. An international delegation, including ETF president Lars Lindgren visited the terminal late last year to express solidarity with the workers.

Speaking at the latest rally, NTF head and chair of the ETF dockers’ section Terje Samuelsen linked the dispute to the wider attacks on dockers’ unions at a European and international level. He explained: “Port employers across Europe are challenging the rights of dockers to carry out the work that they have been doing for hundreds of years. All of this in the name of profit. Dockers have fought for years for their right to decent work and we will continue to fight against this race to the bottom by greedy employers. Norway is not a member of the European Union and we see these attacks as a way of trying to start a ports package 3 by going around the social dialogue and implementing it in Norway. We can’t allow this to happen and therefore we will do whatever is possible within the law to stop these attacks.”

For more information on ILO convention 137 watch this film >>