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Labour Last Updated: Jul 24, 2022 - 10:38:55 AM

Ports grapple with strikes
By WCN, 21/7/22
Jul 22, 2022 - 11:47:32 AM

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Labour disruptions are on the rise in the port sector as unions push for higher wages.

From Germany and the UK to Nigeria port workers are increasingly taking strike action as a tactic to push for higher wages in response to soaring inflation.

In the UK, a strike has been averted at Lerwick Port in Scotland after the Lerwick Port Authority agreed to boost wages by up to 38%, albeit from surprisingly low levels. In England, dock workers at MDHC Container Services at the Port of Liverpool are being balloted over strike action after the Unite Union rejected a 7% pay offer from employer Peel Ports.

nite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “MDHC made more than £30 million profits last year so the money is there to offer a decent wage deal. However MDHC and its owner Peel Ports seem to have different priorities - keeping its cash for the benefit of tax-exiled billionaires and Australian investment funds, while offering their workers a pay cut. That is not acceptable. We know the money is there and the dock workers who made that money deserve a decent share of the pie.”

In Nigeria workers at APM Terminals Apapa went on strike on 20 July after failing to agree on a salary review with the terminal operator.

In Germany a two-day strike across the North Sea ports ended on 16 July without an agreement being reached. A court has ordered the parties to agree on three more negotiation meetings before August 26, effectively banning more strikes until then. The union Ver.di confirmed that the judgement “means that here will be no strikes for the time being."

Widespread rail strikes in the US are also off the table for the time being. On 15 July President Biden intervened in the stalled contract negotiations covering seven Class I railroads, 12 unions and around 135,000 workers. The President signed an Executive Order establishing a Presidential Emergency Board, effective July 18, 2022, to help resolve the ongoing dispute.

The Executive Order triggers a 30-day cooling off period for the new board to investigate the dispute and deliver a report with recommendations, during which strike action is prohibited.

Source:Ocnus.net 2022

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