Striking Lisbon Dockers Facing Massive Layoffs

The Lisbon Port Operators Association, which represents the interests of the companies operating in the Lisbon port, has resorted to collective sacking of striking Lisbon dockers.

According to the Lisbon dockers union SETC (Sindicato dos Estivadores) over 300 workers could be targeted by the measure.

Portugal’s association of civil workers Sindicato Nacional dos Assistentes Sociais (SNAS) fiercely condemned the redundancies of workers struggling for better working conditions.

“SNAS expresses its full distaste of this collective dismissal, which is an unequivocal sign of threat, psychological terror to the workers who are on strike since April 20, 2016, and is appealing to the Government of Portugal to intervene and find a solution to this conflict,” the association said.

Lisbon stevedores are protesting against the Port Law and the work agreement proposed by the port companies, which they believe would pave the way for “a dramatic increase in the casualisation of workers and deeply cut the salaries and rights of the workers”.

Instead, they are demanding a real collective working agreement which would stop casualisation, preserve their rights and include the casual workers in the work contract, giving them the same rights as full-time dockers.

Stevedores are asking for better working conditions in addition to voicing their opposition to hiring of cheaper foreign labor force especially following last year’s Yıldırım Group’s acquisition of a Portuguese port management company TERTIR for a total of EUR 335 million.

TERTIR’s portfolio is comprised of ten port terminals in total: seven of which are in Portugal, two in Spain and one in Peru.

As a result, the dockers’ trade union is organising a march against casualisation and austerity on 16 June in Lisbon.

In accordance with its latest strike notice, the Portuguese dockers union plans to continue the work stoppage at the port of Lisbon, starting from 8 pm on May 27 until June 16, covering all types of work involving movement of cargo at all terminals.

SETC further said that the strike could affect the operations at the country’s ports of Setúbal and Figueira Da Foz as well.

World Maritime News Staff

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