As the meeting between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union (SDU), the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and APM Terminals Gothenburg, held on February 23, ended without any results, the terminal operator plans to proceed with massive layoffs and the implementation of new work patterns.
According to the SDU, APM Terminals Gothenburg will implement the changes from April 3, 2017.
“APM Terminals will cut manning on the ships from 9 to 8 dockworkers per crane and remove 25% of the dockworkers in the yard while expecting the remaining staff to handle the same amount of volume. Working hours for all shifts will also be changed,” the SDU said.
“We started our efficiency project at the terminal in 2015 and it will continue. Our industry is undergoing a major transformation and this call for rapid changes on our behalf to meet the new conditions,” APM Terminals Gothenburg pointed out in a statement, adding that staff reductions caused by the loss of customers are “an unfortunate consequence.”
The union’s members were not informed by the APMT Gothenburg about the changes, the SDU said.
“APMT claims that it has fulfilled its obligations by ‘consulting’ with the Swedish Transportation Union (STWU) and is now going to proceed unilaterally with increasing the workload and changing all the work patterns in the terminal without new agreements with any union,” the union explained.
APMT Gothenburg is said to have finalized a list of dockworkers on permanent and temporary contracts that will be laid off in June 2017. Affected dockworkers are still denied their right to know if they are on this list, according to the SDU.
The meeting on February 23 was expected to bring a solution to the conflict between the SDU and APMT Gothenburg. Caused by a change in the company’s personnel policies, the dispute has been ongoing since spring 2016.
The latest protest was organized by the SDU on January 24 and the dockers planned to stage another strike on February 17-28.
Subsequently, the SDU decided to call off the strike in order to meet with Henrik Kristensen, CEO of APMT Gothenburg.
Now, the union intends to decide on its further move in the dispute.
As the industrial action and its negative impact on terminal operations are not over yet, German carrier Hapag-Lloyd expects more strikes and blockades at APMT Gothenburg.
World Maritime News Staff