Dockworkers Strikes Begins At Spanish Ports

Spanish stevedores yesterday began  three days strike, after on-going talks with employers broke down late last week, leading lines such as Maersk to unveil contingency plans.

Unions have activated strikes for yesterday (Monday 5 June), Wednesday 7 June and Friday 9 June, with further strike dates expected. Trade unions and stevedore employers’ association Anesco have been negotiating with employers for three months after Spain’s government in February announced its intention to push through sectoral changes in the face of growing European pressure and the prospect of over €40m ($42.8m) in fines.

In May the Spanish parliament ratified legislation liberalising stevedore employment. The exact regulation that will be included in the reform, which will affect more than 6,000 stevedores, is still to be determined.

Unions are concerned about the subrogation by employer companies of 6,500 existing stevedores in Spain, and also future stevedores, according to Anesco. Last Thursday’s meeting took less than two hours to break down, according to employer and union sources.

Maersk Line today announced three changes to its vessel schedules in light of the three 24-hour stevedore strikes this week, which it said were due to take place from 08.00 on 5 June, 7 June and 9 June until 08.00 the following day. It said gate opening times would be subject to yard congestion, and so the opening timetables could not be guaranteed.

Maersk said the Madrid Maersk vessel, operating on its AE2 service and due to arrive at Algeciras on 2 June, would omit Algeciras and cargo would be discharged in Port Tangier, for further connection to Algeciras.

MSC Ilonas, operating on its TA5 service and due to arrive at Algeciras on 5 June, would omit Algeciras APMT and cargo on board will be discharge in Sines. Export cargo will be rolled to the next vessel/voyage.

SL Illinois, operating on its TA6 service and due to arrive at Algeciras on 6 June, would omit Algeciras APMT and cargo will be discharged in Barcelona.