Victory for dockers in Rotterdam

25 Oct 2013

Workers in the Port of Rotterdam have secured a new agreement with their employer, global network terminal operator (GNT) APMT, following weeks of tense negotiations and industrial action.

FNV Bondgenoten had been in dispute with management over the terms and conditions of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at the Maasvlakte II terminal, but has now finalised a favourable set of terms for workers.

When dockers in Rotterdam started their action, Maersk Line diverted ships to Antwerp. The union has thanked dockers from across Europe for their solidarity during the dispute.  National secretary of FNV ports Niek Stam said, “We acknowledge that we wouldn’t be able to realise this without the support of the unions. To negotiate without pressure on cargo is impossible”. During a meeting last week members of both the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and International Dockworkers Council (IDC) pledged their support, and individual actions have been carried out in the days leading up to the agreement.

The United Dockworkers’ Unions Front in Belgium showed solidarity through the delay of several Maersk vessels in Antwerp and the distribution of materials letting crews know about the situation in Rotterdam.

Actions also took place in Gothenburg, Arhuus, Germany and Poland. APMT unions in the Arab World also stood ready to take action, when news of the agreement came.

ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said: “We welcome the outcome of these negotiations. Despite a challenging environment, both sides have come to the table and the result is positive for workers.

“There have been strong displays of solidarity around this dispute and we can now see the very real impact of those actions. Standing together we can achieve a great deal and this latest success is a clear example of that.”

View pictures of solidarity action by Belgian dockers’ unions here