ETF Dockers’ Section meeting and European Dockworkers Conference

On 4 – 5 March 2014 an ETF Dockers‘ meeting was held in Lisbon to discuss the forthcoming adoption of a European regulation (COM (2013) 296 final) for “establishing a framework on market access to the port services and financial transparency of ports,” whose draft was adopted by the European Commission in May 2013. A vote in the Transport Committee of the European Parliament will take place on 18. 03. 2014.

It was pointed that despite the two-year effort of all stakeholders the proposal still shows several weaknesses.

– Free access to port services as mooring, towage and pilotage conflicts the ports ’public service obligations and threaten safety and security without any clear economic efficiency;

– Port authorities should be more free to impose requirements to providers;

– According to the proposal, the MS shall ensure that an independent supervisory body with costumers’ participation monitors the application of the Regulation, which will submit ports to pressure;

– The impact assessment on which the proposal is based is not sound;

– The social clauses will be too weak and non-mandatory etc.

Therefore, ETF Section decided to reject the proposal and to undertake following steps:

1. Lobbying by sending letters to MEPs and the relevant Ministers of national governments to vote against the proposal;

2. Protest actions in case of ongoing adoption, including pan European demonstration in Brussels on  04. 04. 2014

The communication program of the Section was also discussed as well as improving the internal exchange of information and as a policy of openness and building a recognizable image of port workers in society and to European institutions. Last information on the ETF and ITF ongoing public campaigns ETF and ITF against global networks terminals (GNT) was provided.

Some national issues were addressed (Portugal, Norway, Greece, Spain) and commitments of solidarity were given by the ETF affiliates.

The participants voted also for a Section’s representative in the Youth Committee. It is Anthony Cheik-Boukal from FGTE – CFDT, France.

Also, it was decided that the national collective bargaining process will be updated at every Section’s meeting, so that the affiliates are informed on the pan European state of play.