The maritime and port industries are changing dramatically and at an unexpected speed. This has serious implications for port workers. Fair and meaningful dialogue is needed to tackle the impact of those changes on port operations. These are in brief the messages delivered by Torben Seebold, ETF Dockers’ Section Vice-Chair, at a stakeholder conference on “Why does an efficient logistics chain require close dialogue” organised by FEPORT last Thursday, 3 December.
“In a context where vessels’ size is growing, cargo volume is not increasing and ships are not full, it is legitimate and urgent for the industry to dialogue and act’, Seebold said. ‘Let’s take the case of the North Range ports, and in particular of Rotterdam: automation is introduced without a preliminary meaningful dialogue with the workers, port capacity has been increased and volumes are not growing. In this framework it is not easy for operators to recoup their investments, and they are not entitled to state aid as other players in the maritime sector. Port employers are pushed to cut their costs and in the end workers pay the highest contribution, in terms of job security and working conditions, as pressure on them is increasing. We have already started a dialogue with FEPORT on this. However, discussions have to be taken also at the level of maritime clusters and have to involve all concerned parties, including local institutions”.
He concluded by saying that “decisions on the sector can’t be left to bankers and private equity funds!”