ITF Backs Industrial Action at Port of Rotterdam

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) are supporting their affiliated Dutch dockers’ union FNV Havens as industrial action begins this afternoon (Thursday 7 January) at the Port of Rotterdam.

Union members have just walked out of work and onto the picket line (at 3.15pm local time (GMT+1) ) after employers failed to meet demands over job guarantees once two new Maasvlakte terminals become fully operational in Rotterdam. Both the APMT and the ECT terminals will be affected for a 24-hour period.

At a press conference this afternoon FNV Havens secretary Niek Stam outlined the impact of increased automation and overcapacity at container terminals in Rotterdam: “Hundreds of jobs are being put risk because there just isn’t the industry growth in Rotterdam to sustain these new terminals as well as the existing ones; employers are trying to play musical chairs with our jobs!”

“Members are going to take action because they know that they have to stand up for their rights as hard working men and women. Our livelihoods and the future of our families and our communities rely on decent, secure jobs and those things are worth fighting for.”

FNV Havens wants a guarantee of job security for all employees who had a permanent job on 1 January 2015, until at least 2022.

Representatives from BTB in Belgium, Ver.di in Germany and CGT in Le Havre, France have joined Dutch workers on the picket line.

Second vice chair of the ITF dockers’ section and vice chair of the ETF dockers’ section Torben Seebold said: “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the Port of Rotterdam. The decision to take strike action is not an easy one but after months of fruitless negotiation and on an issue this important, dockers here have been left with little choice. They have the support of transport workers around the world.”

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All