Young Dockers discuss burning issues in the future of dockwork

22 Jun 2018

Young dockers are on the move!

More than 40 young dockers from 14 unions and 10 countries travelled to Walsrode, Germany, for the second ETF young dockers meeting. They discussed port automation and solidarity, while sharing experiences about how to organise young dockers and make them active trade union members. Their aim is to build a fair future for dockworkers.

Uwe Schmidt, Bremerhaven docker and member of the German parliament, was one of the guest speakers. He encouraged young dockers to get involved: “Be loud to make politicians and employers listen to your voices and to your priorities. Previous generations of dockers have fought for good working conditions and social rights, and fighting is the only way to protect these victories!”

Hosting union ver.di presented their campaign #DIGITALMUSSSOZIAL, which was launched last 1st of May with the aim to put dockworkers at the centre of the automation and digitalisation processes that are happening in German ports. Participants also discussed the declarations recently made by the Hamburg minister for economic affairs and transport, which alerted ver.di and the ETF about a possible privatisation of the infrastructure in the port of Hamburg.

Torben Seebold, ETF Dockers’ Vice-Chair and Maritime coordinatori within ver.di welcomed the participants and said to be “very proud to host the second ETF young dockers’ meeting”. He added that “the spirit of this meeting and the experiences brought by the other unions present here will certainly help boost our own young dockers movement within ver.di”.

Representatives of Australian MUA and ILWU Canada joined the meeting and shared their experiences of building and running active youth movements within their unions.

The ETF Dockers’ Chair, Terje Samuelsen, praised the growing activism of young workers within the European dockers movement. “Our unions are learning from each other how to set up strategies to involve and activate young workers. This is crucial for the future of our unions and of our profession, considering the huge changes that are affecting European ports”.