Unions representing dockworkers in the major seaports in the North range met today in Rotterdam and agreed on a common strategy to cope with the current and future challenges affecting the workers they represent.
The unions* from Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK decided to establish the North Range Port Unions’ Coordination Board to work together on common collective targets, to develop a common approach to automation and to jointly counter the effects of overcapacity on port workers.
“The ports represented here today face similar challenges and so do their workers,” said Torben Seebold, in charge of ports within the German union ver.di. “The unions in the North Range have a long-lasting history of solidarity, dating back to the fights against the two port packages. Today we have decided to further strengthen our relationship and deal in a joint way with issues such as overcapacity and automation, which may negatively affect our members’ working conditions and job security.”
Discussions also focused on the global operator DP World, which is present in most of the major North Range ports. The unions noted that an agreement was only reached in DPW Rotterdam after a struggle, that difficulties continue with reaching a bargaining agreement in DPW London and agreed to support each other to overcome them.
During the meeting Anthony Tetard, Deputy General Secretary of CGT’s National Federation of Ports et Docks declared “We will pay close attention to try to make agreements that raise the standards of dockworkers and not allow employers to drive down the conditions of our members.”
The meeting was also an occasion for participants to send a resounding message of support to their colleagues in Australia and Indonesia who are currently involved in disputes with global network terminal operator Hutchison Port Holdings.
*ACV Transcom, BTB-ABVV, Syndicat des Dockers du Port du Havre, ver.di, FNV Havens, Unite the union