The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

Spanish dockworkers under threat by union-busting proposal

Translated from ‘Fomento liberalizará la contratación de estibadores en los puertos españoles’ in El Pais:

The Minister of Development, Íñigo de la Serna, prepares a decree law for the liberalization of the stevedoring in Spanish ports.

The reason for the modification of the stowage regulation is that there is an obligation to register with a Port Stevedores Management Company (Sagep)[and to] to hire only their stevedores. According to the census of December 2014, 6,156 dockers belong to the Sagep – a collective that manages the loading and unloading of merchandise from ships – of which 3,890 are in the sections of the ports of Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona.

The stevedores are mobilized to stop the European directive, which would destroy 180 jobs in the port of Valencia.

Given the restricted competition, the salary of the collective is high: 60,000 euros per year, according to sources of the proposal. According to these same sources, the normative change is not intended to make the situation of dockers precarious, as trade union representatives charge, although they are expected to lose strength in collective bargaining and the possibility of a reduction in the number of people working on the loading and unloading of each vessel. Likewise, wages, because there is more supply of workers, can be reduced over time.

On Thursday night, the minister met with companies and unions to explain the new decree. “The employers understand the situation and support the text. The unions, for the moment, are in disagreement,” De la Serna said at an information meeting with the press this Friday. In fact, the unions have convened assemblies during this Friday and the option to call strike in the main ports of Spain.


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