The dockers’ strike at Callao port in Peru has been underway for over a week now and based on the current development there is no solution in sight as talks have been suspended.
The unions called on the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Peruvian authorities to intervene over allegations that APM Terminals was acting illegally and disregarding the risks to health by using seafarers to assist with unloading containers.
ITF-affiliate Sutramporpc has accused APM of intransigence in refusing to negotiate over workers’ demands for fair pay and of acting illegally, as in Peru crew from vessels are not authorised to undertake unloading in port, given their lack of expertise. The union has suspended talks “until the company shows genuine interest in ending the dispute”.
Five members and leaders of Sutramporpc, including the secretary general, were arrested by state intelligence officers on the first day of the strike on 13 May.
The men were released without charge several hours later, after the ITF wrote to president Humala to demand their release and the union denounced the arrests to Callao’s judge and ombudsman’s office, stating that they violated the freedom of the individual and the freedom of association, on which the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association had already issued an opinion.
“Despite our best efforts there is no solution in sight. APM Terminals prefers to sustain losses before granting port workers fair wage increases.
“As the strike continues, the violations of union rights have worsened. APM Terminals is now reported to also be using Peruvian navy personnel to carry our dockers’ work.
“While workers are organising food points for the dockers during the strike, APM is advertising internationally for a human resources post in Callao port, claiming it to be a good working environment. This is a mockery of the real situation there, as hundreds of workers remain paralysed by the labour dispute,” said Geraldo Honores, Sutramporpc Secretary General.