Leaders of the ITF and IDC (International Dockworkers’ Council) met in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of last week to look at ways the two organisations can work together to defend dockworkers’ rights.
The one-day high level meeting agreed a statement of intent that committed both organisations to ‘find ways of working more closely together with the aim of strengthening solidarity between dockworkers' globally and supporting each other in fighting back against attacks on their working terms and conditions, and job security.’
The statement continued: ‘These common challenges faced by our members are the result of significant changes in maritime transport, and some employers and governments pursuing a neo-liberal agenda characterised by union busting including through automation, the casualisation of jobs and deregulation of labour standards and protections. Collective agreements are increasingly being violated and we are concerned over health and safety conditions in ports, as well as attempts to limit dockworkers’ ability to exercise their trade union rights.
‘We have established a joint committee to develop a strategy and plan actions urgently to tackle the key challenges and issues faced by dockworkers globally.’
The ITF and IDC also agreed to work together on campaigning and solidarity support to secure and maintain dockworkers' rights internationally, especially in the global terminal operating companies (GNTs), and managing the impact of automation, securing lashing work and respect for dockworkers’ jurisdiction.
ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin described the meeting as a landmark event. “This meeting was hugely worthwhile,” he said. “It brought together two organisations committed to fighting for dockers. As a result of today we are now best placed to promote the rights and roles of this vital workforce.”
Jordi Aragunde, IDC general coordinator, also welcomed the results of the meeting, saying it was designed to further joint efforts to aid and represent dockers worldwide. He added that it was a pleasure to see it result in such concrete outcomes.