Spain: USD 123 Mn Lost, 34 Ships Diverted amid Two-Day Strike

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  • As Two-Hour Work Stoppage Planned in All European Ports over IDC

The latest round of dockworker strikes in Spain has cost the country EUR 110 million (USD 123 million), Spanish Ministry of Public Works said.

The dockworkers launched a 48-hour strike on Wednesday, June 14 across Spanish ports after they were unable to reach a deal with employers’ association Anesco on job guarantees. However, the association is reviewing a new framework agreement for the regulation of labor relations in the stevedoring sector proposed by the unions, which, if approved, might bring an end to the dispute.

Furthermore, during the said two-day strike 34 ships were diverted from Spanish ports, including 19 ships in Algeciras, 7 in Valencia, and 6 in Barcelona, along with two ships from the port of Vigo.

The strike has had a major impact on the Spanish economy, the ministry added, stressing that the financial blow has been further aggravated by full-day work stoppages.

As a result, companies have been diverting their ships to competing ports such as Sines, Marseille-Fos, Genoa or even further North to ports like Antwerp and Rotterdam.

Hence, the strike is reducing competitiveness and the export capacity of the Spanish production system, the ministry further pointed out.

What is more, the port of Algeciras is likely to lose 70% of its traffic this year as Maersk-APTM announced that it was evaluating alternative routes and withdrawing 35,000 movements weekly from the port.

The terminal operator lost 17,000 movements in Algeciras, had 12 diverted ships, resulting in a cost of EUR 895,000 and 1,000 import containers that could not be unloaded.

The port of Barcelona and Valencia were among the top three most affected ports by the strike.

In the meantime, dockworkers in ports across Europe will stop work for two hours on June 29 in support of their Spanish colleagues who are striking against port reform in the country that is jeopardizing their jobs.

The decision on stoppages, scheduled to take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., was taken at the assembly of the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) held in Koper, Slovenia, last week.

IDC said that in addition to supporting the Spanish stevedores in their plight, the move is also a symbol of rejecting the European Commission’s ultra-liberal policies that go against workers and unions.

According to Jordi Aragunde, General Coordinator of the IDC, the Spanish Minister of Public Works, Íñigo de la Serna, and his team acted with great irresponsibility as they have destabilized the sector in the country.

What is more, Spanish employers refuse to guarantee the employment of more than 6,000 workers affected in ports throughout the country, especially now that major maritime corporations announced their privatization moves in Spanish ports – Cosco Shipping acquiring 51% of Noatum, and Bergé selling its port tow subsidiary to a company in Dubai, following the passing of the decree.

The IDC added that it will propose its reintegration into the Sectorial Social Dialogue organized by the European Commission to promote equal treatment for all dockworkers, ie same salary for the same work; negotiation of collective agreements for all dockworkers; creation of “humanized” terminals that favor the development of employment; ratification and obligatory compliance to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions 137 and 152 by all Member States of the European Union; and the implementation of social policies in favor of workers, freeing them from the pressure exerted by large corporations and lobbies.

World Maritime News 

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