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Dockers rally to protect jobs in Rotterdam

Santa supports Rotterdam dockworkers

Santa joins leaders of European unions and thousands of longshore workers worldwide in supporting Rotterdam dockworkers.

Dockers from across Europe are joining their brothers and sisters at a rally in Rotterdam today (Wednesday 17 December) to protest against the impact of developments in the container sector at the port there. ITF-affiliated union FNV Havens is concerned over the potential loss of employment and reduced working conditions as a result of an increase in automation and the expansion in capacity from Rotterdam Gateway and the construction of Maasvlakte II.

Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) is a joint venture of four shipping lines and global network giant Dubai Ports World.

National secretary of FNV ports in the Netherlands, Niek Stam commented: “When taking decisions on port expansion neither the administration nor the port authority in Rotterdam has taken into account the impact it could have on employment, on normal working families in this city.

“We want to work with our employers and port authority to try and find joint answers to the problems workers are facing such as the threat of losing jobs and overcapacity. But management just don’t seem to be interested. Our priority is dialogue and all parties moving forward positively together. Another issue is to secure a collective bargaining agreement for workers at RWG to secure a level playing field in the industry. That’s why we’re holding this rally.”

Speaking on the international support for Rotterdam dockers, ETF dockers’ section chair Terje Samuelsen added: “Our union members worldwide are standing together on this because that’s the only way to defend the rights, jobs and pride of dockworkers.”

The rally will start at 10.30 GMT from Willemskade Rotterdam to Wilhelminaplein (opposite side of the Erasmusbridge) and will end at 14.00 GMT.

See more pictures of today’s rally at this ITF link.

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