The mediation process in the dispute between APM Terminals in Gothenburg and the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union has come to a grinding halt as both parties seem reluctant to work out a compromise solution.
“The discussions are being conducted in a positive and constructive spirit, but it is clear that the parties’ positions remain some distance apart,” APM Terminals said in an update.
The mediation discussions at national level currently being held between Hamnarbetarförbundet of the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union and Ports of Sweden were launched last week after the unions and APMT failed to reach any progress on their talks that protracted for weeks.
“I believe that both sides can see advantages in holding discussions at central level. The mediation process itself encourages a greater willingness to compromise, so I am cautiously optimistic,” says Sophia Tuveson, Head of HR Labour Relations at APM Terminals.
However, the mediation announcement did not affect the union’s strike notice from May 3, according to which they plan to stop all operation at the terminal for 24 hours on May 17 at 16.00 and on May 24.
In addition to the strikes, the union also left notice of an overtime blockade eight hours before and eight hours after each strike.
The latest round of strikes comes as workers demand a separate collective agreement and decision on how many persons can participate in a negotiation. They also contain other issues related to job satisfaction at the terminal.
As a result of the industrial actions, the flow of goods through the terminal has been significantly impacted, APMT said earlier.
“APM Terminals comes to the mediation process, which is being held at Svenskt Näringslivs (Confederation of Swedish Enterprise) premises in Gothenburg, with the paramount requirement that any agreement reached must guarantee that the company will be able to provide its customers with a full level of service also during the summer,” the company stressed.
“It is really quite simple – if the Union cannot accept this objective, there is no point in continuing with the discussions.”
APM Terminals said that it could not speculate on when or whether the mediation will achieve concrete results. As disclosed, there is no deadline on the discussions.
The company added that it was working intensively to mitigate the impact on its customers of the strike action notified for Tuesday of next week.
“Even though the discussions are being held in a constructive spirit, it is essential that we keep working on our contingency plans in case the strike does take place.”