Spanish Dockworkers Cancel Strikes to Resume Talks

Spanish dockworkers unions have decided to call off the strikes scheduled for March 6 and 8 as a new window of opportunity opens for continuation of negotiations on the port reform model.

Namely, the opposition parties have denied their support to the royal decree on port reform the Spanish Council of Ministers approved on February 24, thus enabling the stakeholders to open a new dialogue on the reform.

The unions Coordinadora, UGT, CCOO, CIG and CGT agreed to suspend strike calls foreseen for March 6 and 8, as a sign of goodwill, hoping to encourage the Ministry of Public Works to engage in “real” negotiations that would result in amending the bill before it is passed.

The bill in its current form proposed by the government denies any possibility of agreement with the companies, as it “offers international financial groups, shareholders and owners of the terminals in all Spanish ports, the opportunity dispose of their workers,” the union said.

Specifically, the new law would enable ports to hire non-unionized dockworkers instead of the unionized ones and stevedoring companies would not have to be members of local stevedoring societies known as Sociedad Anonima de Gestion de Estibadores Portuarios (SAGEP).

The unions added that there has been no breakthrough in negotiating with companies despite the technical meeting held yesterday afternoon at CES headquarters, as they failed to show any sign of willingness to keep their port workers.

According to Antolín Goya, General Coordinator of Coordinadora, the reasonable thing during the talks would be to guarantee the continuity of employment to the workers.

Spanish trade unions announced strikes as a response to the government’s reform plan according to which at least 6,500 dockworkers could be laid off in the future.

Ports in Spain were planned to be affected by industrial actions on March 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24. Strikes were scheduled for every other hour, starting at 8:00 a.m. local time. The union did not disclose whether the remaining strikes would be staged.

World Maritime News Staff

 

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