International extension threat of docker strikes

The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) has called for longshore strikes throughout Europe in support of Spanish dockers, who have threatened strike action in response to a Spanish government decree that would end the union’s monopoly of dockworker labour.

Spanish port employers currently have to hire stevedores from SAGEPs (Sociedad Anónima de Gestión de Estibadores Portuarios), all of whom are unionized. The European Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that this violated EU laws on freedom of establishment and ordered Spain to open up the system to competition. This led to the Spanish government decree that would permit ports to phase out SAGEP labour over a three-year period.

Spain’s congress has postponed its decision in order to give opponents of the new law more time for opponents to comment. Spain’s dockworkers’ unions called off strikes planned for March 6th and March 8th, but the strike planned for March 10th is still scheduled. The proposed IDC action; three-hour stoppages at EU ports and one-hour stoppages at affiliated ports outside of Europe, would be timed to coincide with this.

IDC also said that during the stoppages ports in neighbouring countries would not be used for the unloading of Spanish cargo. This would include the terminals of Marseilles, Lisbon and Tangier.