Dockworker Strike Looming at Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam’s dockworkers voted on Monday to support a series of 24-hour strikes at the port in December and January to voice their opposition to potential job cuts which may bring the European’s biggest port to a standstill.

FNV Havens union said that the strikes are aimed at preventing redundancies that are likely to occur once the two fully-automated container terminals at Maasvlakte become fully operational.

According to the union, in the gloomiest scenario up to 700 jobs out of the existing 4,000 could disappear by 2017.

Union head Niek Stam is asking for all employees who were on permanent employment contract in January this year to have a guaranteed job until 2024 in addition to extension of the special policies for older workers.

Talks on dockworkers’ demands with container operators Europe Container Terminals (ECT), APM Terminals and Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) began in April this year, however a solution has not been reached yet.

“The employers have said that they think that demand is not realistic, something of a different era,” Sjaak Poppe, a spokesman for the Port of Rotterdam, is quoted as saying by Reuters, commenting on the talks.

APM Terminals’ Maasvlakte II port opened for business on April 24th and it is the first fully automated facility with zero emissions from cargo handling equipment. 

RWG followed a few months later with the official opening of its highly innovative and automated container terminal at Maasvlakte 2 on September 11.

The terminal can handle the newest generation of ultra large container vessels (ULCCs) and the future generations to come.

The oldest in the group, ECT Delta Terminal, which opened in 1993, has fleet of 265 Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) which take care of transporting the containers between quay and stack; in this storage area, all the work is carried out by almost 140 Automated Stacking Cranes (ASCs).

World Maritime News Staff

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