ETF-ITF-IDC statement on the situation in Spanish ports

Related to: Dockers, infringement procedure, labour reform, liberalisation, Spain
9 Mar 2017

The ETF, ITF and IDC have joined forces to support Spanish dockworkers whose jobs are at risk because of attempts to reform the port labour system. 

The three organizations have been working together since the opening of an EU infringement procedure on freedom of establishment in ports against Spain back in 2013. Two weeks ago, the Spanish Government unilaterally presented a Royal Decree on the reform, disregarding the result of previous negotiations between social partners. Consequently the three organizations have engaged in a series of actions to support the struggle of the Spanish dockers. Among these, an action day was planned for the 10 March 2017, to coincide with the strike called by the Spanish unions on the same day. 

Following discussions with our respective members, our three organizations have decided to temporarily suspend the announced day of action. The Spanish unions are making another attempt to see if they can succeed with negotiations and political influence, and we fully respect this decision. Our actions are meant to support them and we are obviously ready to rework our solidarity plans to meet the needs of their revised strategy.” said ETF Dockers’ Section Chair Terje Samuelsen. 

The three organizations and their members in Europe and around the world are maintaining all their political actions to support our Spanish Comrades. 

Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator added “We are certainly not dropping our guard: we are all very busy supporting members in Spain. Our aim is to support them gaining the right to a fair reform of port labour. They are not opposing the reform, but some of the terms set by the government are not acceptable: we are convinced port labour can be reformed without the need for huge job losses and replacing stable employment with precarious jobs.” 

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair concluded “The global dockers’ and transport workers’ family will continue to demonstrate tremendous support to the Spanish dockers. This is an emblematic struggle against dogmatic liberalization of labour, and it affects the labour movement as a whole. We are following the developments in Spain very closely and are ready to support the struggle through any lawful means. 

More on the Organisations 

The European Transport Workers’ Federation
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is a Pan-European trade union organization which embraces transport trade unions of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the countries of Eastern Europe. The ETF represents more than 3.5 million transport workers from over 230 trade unions and 41 European countries in the following sectors: railway, road transport and logistics, shipping, inland waterways, civil aviation, ports and docks, tourism and fishing. 

The International Transport Workers’ Federation
The International Transport Workers ‘Federation (ITF) is an international federation of transport workers’ unions. Any independent trade union with members in the transport industry can be a member of the ITF. About 700 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 150 countries are members of the ITF. It is one of several federations that make up the International Trade Union Confederation (CSI). ITF headquarters is in London and has offices in Amman, Brussels, Nairobi, New Delhi, Ouagadougou, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo. 

The International Dockworkers Council
The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) is a global trade union confederation formally founded in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2000. It currently brings together more than 85,000 dockworkers on five continents, and works to defend workers and their jobs through training and continuous improvement of their working conditions. Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, the IDC is organized into six areas (Europe, Africa, Western North America and Pacific Coast, East Coast of North America, Oceania and Latin America), each with a coordinator appointed by assembly. 

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