Dockers have been urged to comply with a series of minimum standards as Portugal’s main ports were partially paralysed Tuesday. The dock strike follows the government’s plan to make cuts in port expenditure and has gained “total adhesion”.
Dockers will be urged to comply with a series of minimum standards during the ongoing strike – to be discussed in a meeting Wednesday.
The strike was called as the government approved a draft law that will change the regime of port labour one week after reaching an agreement with some of the trade unions connected with the UGT labour confederation and port operators. According to the government, the aim is to increase the competitiveness of the port industry and will allow to decrease port expenditure between 25% and 30%.
The dockers’ main concern is that their positions will be put at risk under the new legislation.
The strike has put some of the world’s major exporters at risk including AutoEuropa (VW) and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Europe, which had to divert their goods to Spanish ports. Sandra Augusto, logistics director of vehicle assembly plant AutoEuropa, told the online news website Dinheiro Vivo the strikes had caused delays in the sending of 3,000 vehicles.
The strikes have also had an impact on the logistics costs of top paper producer Portucel, which reported its cash flow dropping 1.8%, to €282.8m, up to September.
Dockers’ strikes are now commonplace in Portugal. The president of the dockers trade union, Vítor Dias, told Portuguese news agency Lusa the situation was “normal” and that the strike in Lisbon has achieved “total adhesion”.
“It’s a common practice now. Strikes at ports usually have an adhesion of 100%,” Dias told Lusa.
The strike will affect shifts from midnight to 5pm and includes weekends and public holidays. Dock workers from Lisbon, Setúbal and Figueira da Foz have announced the strike is set to continue until 7 November.