August 2020

from De Volle Lading August 2020

Corona – blows for flex workers in the port, shareholders helped

The port of Rotterdam has been hit hard by Corona. Container transhipment fell by 3.3% in the first half year. Dry bulk fell by 14%.
Especially iron ore and scrap (together minus 22%) and coal (minus 34%) were handled less. Breakbulk (general cargo) decreased by 11% and RoRo by 12%.
These half-year figures hide the larger decline in the second quarter, because in the first quarter there was hardly any influence of corona on throughput in these sectors – with the exception of the RoRo sector, where throughput already decreased by 7.3% in the first quarter.

Only the profits are saved

The blows hit the one harder than the other. If you have a temporary job, the contract will not be extended. If you are a temporary worker, you will no longer be posted. And if you are an on-call worker, you will no longer be called up. With a self-evident characteristic that is inherent to capitalists, a lower turnover is shifted to the flexible shell. We’ve all gotten used to it, and not many words are wasted on it anymore.
It is very different when the profits of the companies are affected by lower turnover. As quietly as the profits have been collected for years, so loudly there are calls for help to pass the losses on to the taxpayers.
In no time a NOW (Emergency Bridging Measure for Employment) was set up. Supposedly to save jobs, but the companies that receive millions from NOW are throwing both flex workers and workers with a permanent job out on the street. It is clear that it is all about one thing: the profits of the big companies.

RoRo: over 5.5 million

Not the unemployed are helped, not the jobs are saved: only the profits are saved. Many port companies have received a large advance on the NOW payment for March to June.
The RoRo sector, in particular, has made a lot of money. Sometimes it is a bit of a puzzle because various subsidiaries of a single concern make use of the pot, but Stena collected more than 2 million euros, P&O more than 1.5 million, C.RO more than 1.1 million and DFDS more than one million.
EECV received an advance of 1.1 million euros. We missed the bulk companies EMO and EBS on the list. RWG is the only container company we encountered: over 1 million.
ECT and APMT do not appear to have relied on NOW for March through June. Perhaps because the downturn in the container sector is less severe. Some colleagues say these companies would not want to put their figures on the table.
It may also be that they could largely pass the downturn to flex workers. The container companies then pass the costs on to Matrans and ILS and these two then pass the costs on to Transcore. Transcore collected almost half a million euros, so it seems that way.
This means that Vervat is supported as the owner of Transcore, while a large part of the on-call workers have nothing to eat. In capitalism, the capitalists are supported, the workers pay with unemployment and taxes.

Permanent jobs, solidarity: anti-capitalism

If you oversee the battlefield, it becomes clear again that flexible jobs must be abolished:

Every harbour job a permanent job!

The abolition of flexible jobs can be brought about by the struggle of the flex workers and the solidarity of colleagues with a permanent job. For real lasting progress, capitalism itself will have to be abolished.

July 2020

Dock workers in Peru fight for protection against corona

From „De Volle Lading“

Dock workers at the APM terminal in Callao have  succeeded with reaching an adequate agreement for protection against the corona virus. Peru has been hit hard by the pandemic. In the country, up to mid-June, 200,000 people have been tested positive and at least 6,000 died. 
At the terminal, colleagues had to do the work with the same protective equipment for days and there were insufficient resources to wash well and to clean the work material. The dock workers perceived that five colleagues died from the virus in a short time, while 35 others tested positive and were afraid to take the infection home. 
Their union SUTRAMPORC, with the support of the International Transport Workers‘ Federation ITF , went into negotiation with the APM management and ensured that every dock worker should now be given sufficient protective equipment and be tested for the virus three times a week.
Agreements have also been made about cleaning the material. Dock workers who are sick or frail receive a benefit of $ 163 a week from the company.

Dockworkers US strike against racism

From „De Volle Lading“

On Friday, June 19, dockers in all 29 ports on the West Coast of America were on strike for eight hours. Their union (ILWU) had called for this, to make it clear that they are an explanatory opponent of racism. Racism is a means of dividing the working class. Shortly after the murder of black worker George Floyd by a police officer , they had already laid down work for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the time during which the police officer closed Floyd’s throat. On June 19, 1865 (two years after the federal abolition of slavery) slaves in Texas were also given their freedom. That is why June 19 is the commemoration day for the abolition of slavery in the US – such as in the Netherlands and Suriname Keti Koti on July 1.
ILWU dock workers have a tradition of progressive solidarity actions. For example, they boycotted South African ships during the apartheid regime and now support the struggle of the Palestinian people.

May 2020

Paddy Crumlin (ITF): ‘New normal puts working class in the first place‘

From „De Volle Lading“

Paddy Crumlin (president of ITF – the International Transport Workers Federation) did spread a special May 1 message about corona, May 1 and a new normal that puts the working class in the first place.
Below some pieces from there:
‘This crisis, caused by the Covid-19-pandemic, has shown the world what we always knew, that transport workers keep the world moving. … We must translate this into power.
Leaders across the world are talking about getting back to ‘normal’. 
But we trade unionists we know that a return to ‘normal’ isn’t good enough
The workers who today are ensuring that hospital staff can get to work, the sick can get the medicine they need, and that supermarket shelves are stocked with food, are also the same workers who for years have been fighting against declining wages – often poverty wages, increased outsourcing, social dumping, insecure models of employment and worsening working conditions and protections.
We’ve seen the criminality of ‘normal’ during this crisis – hundreds of thousands of workers laid off without work or pay overnight, and millions compelled to work without adequate protections leading to the death of thousands of workers on the frontline.
The system is broken, and we must campaign collectively to change it.
We must pause today to take pride in what we do, celebrate our values, demonstrate meaningful solidarity across borders, and collectively commit to each other to campaign, organise and fight for a new normal that puts the working class first.’

April 2020

Before, during and after the corona crisis: „Together“ does not exist

From „De Volle Lading“

The most commonly used word in the corona crisis is „together“. Rutte took the lead during announcing the measures: „We have to do it together.“ And after that it was parroted (and sung) by TV celebrities and commentators in all sorts of variants.

Too few IC beds and too few IC staff

Maybe good to recall that there was no „together“ at all when the Intensive Care Beds were cut away because of austerity. When wages of the nurses and others care workers were cut, there was no „together“ either. When the hospital staff went on strike for more wages and less workload the government was not at home. Where would the shortage of IC nurses come from?

The pub close, but the production work must go on

Stop working neither happens together. Restaurants, cafes and theatres are close. But almost all production companies keep going. And while the police are inspecting sharply in the parks and on the streets – and drones fly above the beaches – none agent has been spotted checking a factory.

Nursing homes locked, but the staff works unprotected

Together? Family and acquaintances are no longer allowed to enter nursing and care homes: a measure to protect frail elderly and sick.
The RIVM guidelines leave the nurses and caregivers work unprotected. The same applies to home care. So long they don’t have a fever and they are not coughing a distance of a meter and a half is enough and mouth masks are not necessary.
But the virus is likely infectious even in mild conditions. How do you take care of people who need help at a distance of one meter and a half away? Nurses and caregivers therefore have to continue working – with the risk of infecting an entire home of clientele or get sick yourself. It happened in Sommelsdijk, it happened in Heerde, which home follows?

Billions – not for the workers, though the big companies

And who do those billions go to in support? Especially to the big companies with a lot of staff: never too bad for a grip from the coffers of the tax office.
The billions are not going to the flex workers who are made redundant.
Hardly to the middle class and the freelancers who can receive social assistance benefits if nothing more is earned – with 4000 euros for three months as compensation. With that you can’t pay the rent and redeem the loans.
Interest rates are artificially kept low by the ECB, by buying government and corporate loans for hundreds of billions.
To keep the banks out of harm’s way the state guarantees for a great deal of the money that they have lent to business.
When it concerns the big companies and the banks go there is plenty of money. When there were cutbacks, the richer became richer and the poor poorer. Once there is money issued by the billions, once again the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

Prepare for the time after corona

It is good to be prepared for the after corona era. You can count on the large companies, banks and the government that they are also preparing well. We probably then have to shoulder „together“ to clean up the damage of the coronavirus. And „together“ will again be a meaningless phrase.
If the corona crisis teaches something, then it is that between the government, the big companies and the rest of the population there does not exist „together“.
Well, we live together in the same country, but they benefit of our work and they have interests whole other than we have.
Everything they do is at a cost from us.

Capitalism does not protect our wages, our jobs, our youth and our health. Away with it!
Let’s make sure Rutte is right in one thing: that the world after corona will be whole different.

March 2020

Learning from experiences at Uniport

Fight for preservation of all jobs

From De Volle Lading, Issue March 2020

Ten years ago, people were fired because of the bankruptcy of the SHB and later because of the reorganization of RPS. Hundreds of colleagues disappeared in that way into the WW (=Unemployment Insurance Act). Now, at Uniport, the same thing threatens to happen. The struggle against the redundancies were discontinued before it really got started. Hundreds of colleagues are threatening to end up into the WW. An extra burden because still people are being engaged (for lower wages and temporary contracts). Some say: there is no other way, we are divided, we let everything come up about us.

Power of port workers in reality stronger now

Why should redundancies not be able to be stopped? There are fewer dockworkers – but that means that a smaller group sets a much larger capital in motion: their power has therefore only become stronger. The power has also become stronger because the importance of the port for the rest of the economy has increased. 
An advantage of the current time is: via social media information can be disseminated much faster than before. The vast majority of the portworkers are members of an union: that cannot be the cause.
Why is the power that port workers have not been used to prevent layoffs?

Formulate clear demands: shortening working hours and reassignment

There are also clear demands to formulate in order to prevent redundancies: shortening of working hours on the costs of the boss as a means of preserving jobs during periods of automation.
A specific demand was also: getting the colleagues from Uniport at Steinweg, at companies who take over lines from Uniport, at companies who will be located at the current area of Uniport, at each port company that has a vacancy. That demand has indeed been set – but a struggle is necessary to achieve more than what companies are prepared to allow.

The demand „Higher compensation“ was the first step towards accepting layoffs

If the power of the dock workers has not changed and if clear demands can be formulated – what is the point? Then the very reason is that the fight for those demands has not actually been organized. 
Uniport colleagues were told that it was sufficient to demand higher severance pay. If the fight is limited to that, layoffs are in fact accepted already.
This does not reflect the interests of Uniport’s colleagues and neither of the rest of the dockworkers. Accepting layoffs at Uniport opens the door to accept layoffs at other companies. Holding up layoffs at Uniport puts open another door: to hold up layoffs at other companies.

Together you are a member of the union in order to campaign for joint interests

Action for shortening of working time and reassignment was and is certainly possible. Starting with colleagues from Uniport, but certainly also by colleagues from other port companies. Uniport colleagues demonstrated and blocked. They were willing to resist. „We are Rotterdam Dockers, we take care of each other“ is a slogan that expresses a willingness to work together.
175 Dockworkers came to drink coffee in solidarity at Uniport – which also expresses willingness to solidarity. 
In this kind of situation, it is decisive to proceed further than a symbolic act. If no clear demands are made and the action will not be put at a higher level, than all willingness dies in good mood. You are ultimately a member of the union in order to make a stand with your colleagues for joint interests: then waiting is not the right step. Grabbing the initiative and not letting go anymore – that is necessary.

Lessons can be worth gold

Every dismissal is one too many. But if lessons are drawn, it is not for nothing.
If the straddle carriers at APMTR are automated, if the coal flow decreases at EMO, if RST also turns out to be an obsolete terminal, if transhipment falls because of corona, if maximizing profits threaten again jobs – then those lessons can be gold worth!

Full Solidarity with Dockers of Lisbon – You´ll Never Walk Alone

From Coordinating Group International Dockers Exchange of Experience Conference,
Hamburg/Rotterdam, March 13th, 2020

Your steadfastness and fighting power deserve our greatest appreciation. How can a government call itself social or socialist that treats workers so badly? This government has lost all rights to call itself social,  who in the service of the port bosses demands 250 colleagues to get by without a wage for more than a year. You are perfectly justified in defending yourself and using the strike as a sharp weapon.

A-ETPL’s fraudulent bankruptcy is a first-rate scandal. In particular, in view of the fact that the government is violating its own agreement of May 27th, 2016 with your union SEAL, in which it tries to undermine the united fighting power of the Lisbon colleagues with the employment offer to 30 colleagues at Porlis, a company of the Yilport group . This is rightly met with outrage from colleagues. Split and conquer – that’s how the bosses would like it. Stay tough and steadfast!

In Germany, the port operators are trying similar methods. In 2018, around 200 jobs at BUSS in Hamburg were destroyed by the active policies of the SPD / Greens Senate. The stevedore company „Stauerei Tiedemann“ and its 100% subsidiary LCH (Laschkompagnie Hamburg) went bankrupt under unsettled circumstances. The GHB in Bremen was liquidated at almost the same time. The colleagues from Rotterdam report something similar.

They want to shift the burdens of the current global economic and financial crisis onto the workers. It is therefore all the more important that we join forces across national borders against these methods, which intend to deprive dockers of all won rights.

When we visited SEAL in March 2019, we had already assured your union that we, as a coordination group, would like to continue to work to ensure that the struggles of dock workers in southern Europe are also made known in the large ports in Germany, the Netherlands, and the northrange up to St. Petersburg . We also want to develop practical solidarity and will report on your struggle via our website We will address the dock workers in the ports where we work, as far as we can.

Solidary greetings

February 2020

Workers of APMTR (APMT Rotterdam) want to fill up vacancies at APMT MVII (APMT Maasvlakte II)

From „De Volle Lading“ Issue Feb. 2020

One hundred and twenty colleagues from APMTR are driving on January 14 with one nail’s walk on the N15 on the Maasvlakte to the sister company APMT MVII and block the gate there for two and one half an hour. Because the emerging team joined the strike, the group of port workers in front of the gate grew to 200. A dozen APMT MVII colleagues also joined and inside it arrived also work to a halt. The police had to stream the trucks redirect to a parking lot.

Other action, more options

The colleagues of APMTR are known for their go slow actions, with which good results have been achieved. Now it appears that downing tools offers more possibilities. By downing tools you can manifest yourself outside the terminal. You can collectively make contact with other colleagues. You are seen by the outside world: in this case the trucks stopped and traffic on the N15 noticed that dockers were protesting.   

If a strike is used to go outside, then more people get involved, more people are made to think and that increases the pressure on the management.

Management stays ignorant, pressure remains necessary

The parent company APMT in The Hague sells APMTR in mid-2020 to Hutchison, the owner of neighbor ECT. However it does apply a work guarantee of four years, but through automation and because of overlap in the offices, jobs are disappearing. Next year sixteen automated straddle carriers are put into operation, who threaten the jobs from around a third of the 200 drivers.

The parent company APMT starts to extend the new company APMT MVII right with phase two and then the colleagues could easily transfer from the old to the new terminal – because the terminals have the same owner. This way they nicely can keep their job in the port, with all their rights such as salary and pension.

The management of APMT MVII is not very keen on this and tries to let the Work Council work in their interests. According to the Collective Labor Agreement, APMT MVII can pay to outside staff a wage of approximately 10,000 euros lower. We live in capitalism where everything revolves around profit. That is why the parent company APMT in The Hague will not simply give this advantage away.

But that is not the main point. When personnel start to flow again from APMTR to APMT MVII, another mountain of combat experience flows from APMTR to APMT MVII. That bothers the management the most.

During the gate blockade, the management of APMT MVII came to attention of concessions. It is therefore important to continue to put pressure. FNV Havens will again discuss the issue with the management of APMTR and APMR MVII on 20 February.

Uniport – increase the pressure

After the powerful demonstration of Uniporters on December 13, it has quieted a bit. On January 13, a demonstration was held at UWV (Institute for Employee Social Security). UWV could report that no dismissal applications had been submitted by employer Steinweg.

Standstill is decline

Standstill in the battle against dismissals means mostly decline. Standstill means that pessimism can get the upper hand: the management is sitting back and relax, the colleagues are a bundle of nerves. Boats don’t come anymore and occasionally a container is being delivered – so, there is enough time to take the matters into one’s own hands again.

„No comment“ is a bit strange

Taking the matters into one’s own hands again can be done in many ways. The demonstration at the UWV is an act that resulted instantly publicity again. And instantly Steinweg had nothing to say for oneself again, because as always he had only one message: „no comment.“ In the beginning Steinweg stated that he would take responsibility for the personnel, but thereafter wanted to dump half of them into the unemployment law. In that case „No comment“ is a bit strange.

A proposal to further increase the pressure could be talking to the colleagues from the other port companies. That can be done during changing shifts at the gate, then the traffic is usually at a standstill for a while. But it can be done during the lunch break in the canteen, then a real discussion is possible.
The real issue is: do we allow the management directors to dismiss colleagues, company for company. or are we making it together impossible for them. In unity much is possible, separately you are for it. Working together does not happen automatically: it requires discussion, information and think.

Colleagues APMTR won the first battle

From „De Volle Lading“ December 2019

It has been hatched at APMTR for months. At Maasvlakte 2, APM had a fully automatic terminal built: „APMT MV2“. The management announced to have in mind several scenarios for (the old) APMTR. Closure, automation, withdrawal into APMT MV2 and sale to another container giant. The job losses would vary between the 200s and 600s. All options were like coming out of the frying pan into the fire.

No wonder something was cooking. How can we care to make sure that everyone can continue to make a living. Should we wait which proposals the management will bring? Should the fight be prepared, what demands should be made? Is it too late, or is it too early to take action? In the middle of the opinion-making process it appeared that the management had already made a decision: negotiations were underway about the sale of the terminal to ECT, the largest container company in Rotterdam. 

Demands and action 

The works council presented a number of demands. From the point of view of the interests of the harbor workers were the main demands: existing agreements continue to apply, guarantee that during four years there would be no firings, guarantee that in the coming five years Maersk would load and unload the same number of containers at the terminal. 

Workers‘ demands are never granted by itself. On Monday 4 November, a core of active trade unionists started to promote a go slow action. That was quickly taken over by all the shifts. And slow was really slow: about one-third to a quarter of the normal production. Thursday, the management came down a peg or two and stated to accept the demands as they are in the negotiations with ECT. After this had been explained to all the shifts, the go slow action was ended on Saturday.

Young people take a step forward 

There is a lot of skepticism in the port about the youngsters: they would rather bother about their smartphones than about their working conditions and they would no longer want to become union members. At APMTR, half of the staff is younger than 30 years. For the majority of these young people, this was the baptism of fire, when it comes to collective struggle for common interests – and they endured it gloriously. They actively joined the actions, the discussions and the organisation.

In the meantime almost all of them have become members of the union, some executives. In these actions it turned out that they were not members because they hoped that union administrators would achieve something for them – no, they were members in order to organize action themselves together with the other union members. That is the only good reason to become a member. That is the first step in order to make the trade union into a combat organization. 

In every struggle of quite some size the youth is the most active element, the youth is most willing to make sacrifices for a just cause.

Shortening working time in order to defend jobs

The fight has not been fought, not at all. Especially not from the youth’s point of view. It has been the case for years that the port is getting ever worse for young people. There are fewer and fewer jobs, the jobs are less and less fixed, the rewards are becoming more unequal, the working hours are becoming more flexible. On the other hand the transshipment figures and profits are rising. If at APMTR the choice remains limited to the deletion of 600 or 200 jobs, the port will once again be a bit worse for the youth. Then again jobs with which the future can be built are lost. 

Why not focus on progress instead of accepting new decline? Fight for working time reduction by replacing the five shifts schedule by six shifts, by retiring the older ones earlier and thus create workplaces for young people. That preserves jobs and makes work easier. This way, rising productivity benefits those who produce: the workers. That goes at the expense of capital, and at the expense of the shareholders of Maersk, who, right without having to do any productive job, want to enrich themselves by letting others work for them. If you fight together for progress, then everything can be solved – keeping what you have is not enough.

Port of Rotterdam Authority and port companies must keep promises about the internal lane

from De Volle Lading, November 2019

On 15 and 17 October port workers took action in Front of the office tower of Port of Rotterdam Authority. They protested against the plans of the Port Authority and the port companies to fully automate the „Container Exchange Route“. This is an internal lane for container transport from one terminal to another on Maasvlakte 1 and 2 – without customs intervention.100 Jobs are lost. The Rotterdam Dockers issued a statement with the call: „People wake up and join our fight, 100 families are concerned!“ A delegation of the activists spoke to someone from the Port Authority on 15 October: “In that conversation we expressed our displeasure and showed that we are serious and angry. We haven’t really gotten any answer.” On Thursday the 17th, a speech by one of the organizers emphasized that more struggle is needed. A colleague added that the fight should not only be directed against Port Authority, but also against the companies.
A solidarity statement was read out on Thursday on behalf of the Open Action Committee of the Pensions Newsletter (This committee fights for recovery of €2.4 billion harbour pension fees ‘legally’ stolen by insurance concern Aegon).

Uniport closed? Fight for preservation of all jobs!

from De Volle Lading, November 2019

Parent company C. Steinweg Handelsveem announced at the end of October that the Uniport wants to close on 31 March 2020. She also said that she would try to place the staff (200 people) as much as possible with other Steinweg companies and that she would like to conclude a social plan with the union. Many annual contracts were not renewed during the past months. The message shows two sides of capitalist reality.

Profitability destroys jobs

On the one hand, you only have work as long as the capitalist becomes richer. If he no longer earns from you, you will be fired – if the company is no longer profitable, it will be closed. It’s always about profit. It does not matter whether you have worked hard or not, it does not matter whether the company does something that is socially useful or not – the only thing that matters is profit.

Fear of resistance and political awareness

But on the other hand, a capitalist is also afraid of the reactions that profit making can evoke among the working people. He / she wants to take measures without calling up resistance. He / she wants to make choices, without the working people starting to think about possible alternatives to capitalism. That is why Steinweg says it wants to relocate the Uniporters as much as possible within the group and to conclude a social plan with the unions.

Offensive demands and solidarity

Some Uniporters are afraid that fighting for clear demands will lead to Steinweg implementing a cold remediation. But look at the other side: Steinweg does not choose to fear fight. So it’s time to take a step forward: offensive demands, offensive struggle and so mobilize the solidarity of colleagues at other Steinweg companies and in the rest of the port. For colleagues at the other Steinweg companies and in the rest of the port, the following applies: if Uniporters are fired – then it will be your turn. If 200 jobs are cut – where will your children be working soon?

• Fight for preservation of all jobs!

• Relocation at other Steinweg companies!

• Relocation at other port companies!

• Work shorter to keep jobs!

October 2019

Young people of ITF against devastating climate breakdown

The Committee of young transport workers of the ITF (International Transport Workers‘ Federation) said in a statement: “As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and hurtle towards dangerous tipping points, young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt business as usual by joining the global climate strikes …The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.
There are no jobs on a dead planet!

Millions on the street for the environment

Around 4.5 million people worldwide participated at the start of the global climate action week on 20 September. Demonstrations were held on ‘Fridays for Future” days in around 2,900 cities in 161 countries. In many countries, promotions were organized during the week until 27 September. In The Hague on the 27th, 35,000 demonstrated, mainly young people. Millions again demonstrated worldwide.

September 2019

Port Botany protest

Many Australian workers downed tools on September 20 in order to join students who left school to attend climate change rallies. The protest drew around 500,000 people and shut down city centres across the country. Students, workers, and unionists spoke on stage at the Sydney event and guided the crowd in chanting: „One struggle, one fight: climate action, worker’s rights!“

No crane is running

Tommy-John Herbert, a wharfie from Port Botany, said he was at the rally because of the work of the Maritime Union of Australia. „As I speak, not one of our cranes are running,“ he said.

Port Botany wharfies attended the rally using protections for industrial action designed for enterprise bargaining. It is the first known instance of the protections being used for such an action.

Herbert said his employer sent out an email to all workers saying attending the rally is illegal. Many of the port workers came anyway.

March 2019

Information on a planned Strike on March, 6th 2019 by the Dockworker Union

Svenska Hamnarbetarförbundet

The union writes in an appeal from March, 3rd 2019:

There is a principally important conflict in the country’s ports. After the employer organization Sveriges Hamnar drastically escalated the conflict with a lockout of the employees, which in practice means wage reduction as a combat measure, the Hamnarbetarförbundet has announced a total closure of work from March 6. The dockworkers‘ union wants to establish a collective agreement with the employer organization. An agreement where the union becomes a full party with the right to negotiate the members‘ terms locally and the right to choose a safety representative. It would be a so-called second agreement, with a worse legal position than the first agreement signed by the Transport Workers‘ Union. It is accepted by the dockers, but one does not want to have any further restrictions on their trade union rights in addition to the applicable case law. The dockworkers‘ union has been refused to sign collective agreements for almost five decades, since the union was formed, In April 2018, the situation became acute, as employers carried out a foreclosure policy which meant that all cooperation with the union was withdrawn. More than one hundred safety representatives have lost their mandates to work for safe workplaces. One is now worried that more serious accidents and, in the worst case, deaths will occur on the quays. Still, half of the country’s dock workers choose to remain members of the Harbor Workers‘ Union. It depends on the union’s organizational model, with extensive membership democracy. It is always the affected members who decide how the union should act in different situations. This applies to everything from local schedule negotiations to central decisions. After negotiations and mediation, the employer organization still refuses to sign a proper collective agreement. They want to add an appendix, where the union declines the opportunity to participate in negotiations on the members‘ everyday lives at workplaces. It would be unreasonable for any trade union to sign agreements on those premises. Having a collective agreement with several unions for the same work is not uncommon in the Swedish labor market. On the contrary, it is very common on the official’s side, and also occurs in the workers‘ profession. Of course it can be done even in the ports. The stevedore industry needs cooperation and long-term work. You cannot achieve this by in practice trying to force half of the country’s dockers to dismantle their trade union organization, but by releasing it as a full contract partner. The dock workers demand respect for the right to be represented in a democratic country by the union they choose. Contribute to the Harbor Workers‘ Conflicts Cash! Swish 123 132 1959 Bg 177-9750 Follow the development at and at the Hamnarbetarförbundet’s Facebook page

(based on Google Translation from Swedish)

February 2019

Solidarity with the Dockers of Astillero Rio Santiago shipyard – February, 19th 2019

International Harbour Worker Exchange of Experience
International Coordination Group
February 19, 2019.

To colleagues at the Astillero Rio Santiago shipyard

Dear colleagues,
we’ve heard of your struggle and strike actions starting in 2018. We express our full solidarity to you in the fight against the dismissal of 3000 workers. Your struggle has meaning far beyond the economic side – for workers‘ rights, for a life worth living, for life and work in dignity. In all this you fight resolutely against the reactionary policies of the Macri government and its
brutal use of police forces. We have great respect for the long tradition of your struggles, which successfully resisted the privatization plans in the 1990s.
It must be a fundamental concern of all dock workers, shipyard workers and transport workers worldwide that not a single fight and strike at the shipyards and ports remains alone. The power of the united and united working class is stronger than the exploitative rule of the capitalists. Let us not be divided into nations, skin colours, locations … High the international solidarity.
So far the International Exchange of Port Workers‘ Experience has brought together port workers and shipyard workers from Europe, above all from the Netherlands, Germany and Russia. We work in various trade unions and work there to ensure that these real fighting organisations are workers and employees for us! Meanwhile we have created a homepage – The harbour worker exchange of experience is ideologically open for a society without capitalist exploitation and oppression. But we are from the whole heart, our history and conviction anti-fascists. In order to strengthen these requests we also work closely together with the revolutionary world organization ICOR (International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations). We will make your struggle and your concerns known via our homepage and the activists of the harbour worker exchange of experiences.
We wish you, your families a lot of strength and solidarity,

You never walk alone
High the International Solidarity

With cordial and solidarity greetings

Birgit, Jeroen, Joachim, Juergen

Mai 2016

Dear Mates, Dockers and Affiliates,

here is a serious call for solidarity. In Bremen the dockers are facing a massiv attack on there hard fought rights and working conditions. Probably 450 of them could be dismissed. The usually had been employed by the half statesowned BLG to run the warehouse for Tchibo and other duties. The BLG claims they dockers are to expensive and not flexible enough. This allegation has no basis but the fact, that BLG wants to replace them with low-paid workers. On Friday, May 27th, the union verdi has called for a public demonstration of protest. Please send notes of solidarity. Remember:

You’ll never walk alone!!!

This is the official invitation of verdi:

160523 Aufrug_verdi

March 2016


A strike by dockers at the Port of Grangemouth has been suspended following a breakthrough in a dispute over shift patterns.

The union Unite said the action was suspended after port owners Forth Ports agreed to hold talks.
Arrangements are being made with the conciliation service Acas, with talks expected to begin early next week.
Unite said picket lines would be lifted and about 80 port workers would make „a full return to work“ by Monday.
Crane drivers and loaders began a two-week strike on Tuesday, with Unite claiming that new rotas being introduced by Forth Ports amounted to a „de facto pay cut“.
On Friday, Unite claimed that fuel supplies to forecourts in Scotland and the north of England could be hit by the strike.
Forth Ports said only its container quayside operations had been affected by the action.


Announcing the suspension of the strike, Unite regional officer Sandy Smart said: „We are pleased that Forth Port’s management have lifted their imposition on our members‘ shift rotas and agreed to enter into conciliation.
„Our strike action will now be suspended with immediate effect and picket lines will be lifted, enabling full operations at the port to get under way again.
„This is an important first step on the path to resolving this dispute.
„If Forth Port’s management approach the conciliation with the same spirit in which they accepted our offer then we will be able to negotiate a mutually agreeable outcome.“
The Port of Grangemouth handles more than 150,000 containers annually, with daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg.

About us

Dear collegues,

we are a group of dockers and friends of dockers who gather in different locations roughly every 3 years to exchange information with the goal to unite the dockers on a rank-and-file basis. The latest meeting was in Hamburg in october 2014 the next one will be around 2017 in Rotterdam.
The expansions of ports in Zeebrugge, Antwerpen, Rotterdam, Wilhelmshaven and London led to vast overcapcities in the containersector in the Northrange. The Global Network Terminal Operators (GNT) are exploiting this situation for an increased competition, to press down dockers wages and attack fixed reliable working times. The EU delivers fitting laws with Port Package III and secret negotiations on TTIP with the US. The result is clear from the beginning: the lowest wages, the badest working conditions and so forth. The demand for a protection of the natural living conditions are abused by massive greenwashing! The international unity of the workers is the answer against such a powerful opponent.

There are ongoing protests, strikes and demonstrations of dockers – worldwide. But the missing link is an international coordination of actions and fights; a consultation is necessary which are our demands and how we can support each other.

Results and Agreements of the International Dockers Exchange of Experience (IDEE)

Struggle for every work- and trainingplace with wages that allow a condition of living in dignity. Equal wage for equal employment – general collectiv labour agreements according to the principle one company one contract in all ports. Rejection and rollback of setbacks.

Transformation of all limited contracts (zero-hour-contracts etc.), part time jobs and employment at agencies to fixed contracts in the ports. Cancellation of all zero-hour-contracts and similar contracts – let us put an end to day labour!

We fight as dockers against the sell-out of the ports and harbours by privatisation. We fight as well against the attempts of general deteriorations of our living and working conditions as part of the dictate of the EU.

We stand for the protection of the natural living conditions by supporting environmentaly friendly means of transport. We support the organization of resistance against the atomic- and armament transportation.

We fight for a better future for our families and especially for the youth. That is why we focuse consciously on the youth. Apprentices may be only employed for the purpose of their training. They may only work in addition to the ordinary dockers.

Friends of the struggle of dockers are heartly wellcomed. We are prepared to join with employees of other companies on the base of a common struggle.

We demand and concentrate our efforts to the achievemt of unions, who stand for the interest of all workers on a  democratic and militant base.

We decide on our work and goals democratically. We work on a voluntary and unpaid base. We discuss and debate in a solidary way. We are ueberparteilich (without regard for affiliations) – we welcome every democrat. Dockers are international, that is why we do not tolerate reactionary, nationalistic and fashistic ideas.

We are open in terms of world outlook, because the idea of a world without oppression and exploitation offsite capitalism inspires the day-to-day struggle and provides a perspective.

We are financially independent – we finance our work by ourselves, because we are only committed to our rules and resolutions! Donations are welcome even if bound to a special purpose of our work as long as the donor does not include further conditions with the donation.

Resolutions for the continuing work:

We meet again – well prepared with a plan to develop further international connections. …

Our homepage will have a unified appearance in three languages – English, German, Netherlands, the ports are solely responsible for there contributions on base of our common rules and regulations of the International Dockers Exchange of Experience. In our apperance of the homepage we strive for a better timeliness to inform us mutually faster more efficient and with better arguments. Therefore and for more reliable and tight cooperation we need more interpreters f.i. Spanish.

Solidarität international e.V. passed the following resolution on their 9th national gathering:

SI supports the IDEE especial with interpretation work, mainly in Dutch, French an Spanish. The IDEE consists up to date besides Germany  also Netherlands, Spain and Greece; colleagues from further countries should be mobilised for the meeting 2014 in Hamburg. The struggle and protests of dockers have far reaching effects for the struggle for liberation and against oppression in their countries and beyound their frontiers because they target an Achilles‘ heel of the international system of production the transport on sea. …


Dockworkers Exchange of Experiences
Resolution of the 2nd ICOR World Conference

The 2nd World Conference of the ICOR supports the 5th Exchange of Experiences of the Dockworkers on 25th and 26th October 2014 in Hamburg/Germany. The meetings of the dockworkers so far took place with dockworkers from the Netherlands, from Germany and Spain. Dockworkers play a key role in the closely intertwined system of imperialist worldwide production. Again and again there are strikes and struggles in the quays – around the globe. However, these struggles are only little connected and coordinated yet, and this connection is still often under reformist control.

The 2nd World Conference of the ICOR supports this meeting of the dockworkers based on the principles which have been agreed upon and remain valid. It makes use of the respective capacities of the member organizations for the participation of dockworkers from all continents.