Portuguese Dockworkers Reach Deal with Employers

Image Courtesy: Sindicato dos Estivadores

The Portuguese port of Lisbon could soon continue normal operations as the Portuguese Dockers Union (SETC) and the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) reached an agreement with port employers’ associations.

IDC said that the “workers achieved a compromise that will, following the signing of a new agreement in the coming days, be valid for the next six years.”

The agreement, which was reached on Friday and Saturday after 15 hours of negotiation, was passed yesterday evening at the union general assembly.

Among the main points of this deal is the promise of port companies to dismantle alternative labour pools at the port of Lisbon, and to abandon the establishment of direct and precarious contracts.

“All existing workers, within a maximum period of two years, will join the existing labour pool. Further, port companies have committed the reinstatement of workers dismissed last year, and the reimbursement of their salaries,” IDC added.

The new agreement will also reflect the existence of a mixed system of automatic promotions for dock workers, which will be determined by the amount of time spent working on four upper work levels, and on mixed progression at the two lower levels. In addition, there will be ten pay scale levels, including two additional levels- one minimum and one intermediate- which apply to new employees.

“The agreed minimum wage will be 850 euros per month and the agreed maximum wage will be 2,326.06 euros per month. Priority will be given to dockworkers who exercise the tasks of “ship planning” and “yard planning”,” IDC said.

Furthermore, the union said that it will carry on with the demonstration organised on June 16 as it wants to state how conditions in Lisbon should be a reference for all Portuguese ports, as well as collaborate with civil society mobilisations against precarious employment.

SETC has been delivering strike notices since November 2015 prompted by the inability of the two sides to find a middle-ground on the new contracts, resulting in the contract dispute of over three years. On April 20, the union launched a strike which froze all operations at the port of Lisbon, followed by a number of stoppages.

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