The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is stepping up its support for hundreds of striking clerical workers represented by the ILWU in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after employers walked out of negotiations over the weekend, despite the union’s offer to enter into marathon bargaining to resolve the dispute.
Referring to the events of Saturday night, ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton said: “The ILWU wants to bargain for an agreement to reopen the ports and end the strike but apparently the employers are not committed to doing what it takes to achieve a resolution. The ITF strongly condemns such unprofessional conduct, which harms the port and its working communities. We support the ILWU and are following up this dispute at every level.”
“Following high-level meetings last week, seafarers’ and dockers’ leaders are already acutely aware of this dispute, and of the negative impact of outsourcing for decent work throughout the industry they have resolved to show solidarity.” he added.
Six hundred clerical workers who have been without a contract for over two years and whose jobs are threatened by outsourcing, initiated strike action last Thursday; dock workers have refused to cross their picket lines.
Big international carriers and terminal operators employ the clerical workers – including the Maersk group, with whom the ITF has an established dialogue.
The ITF has also contacted ship owners to ensure that crews on ships covered by ITF agreements are aware of the dispute and are advised to respect the strike, in accordance with the terms of their collective agreements.