Spanish parliament rejects end to stevedores’ mandatory unionization

The Spanish parliament last Thursday rejected a plan to deregulate longshore labour, resulting in the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) cancelling its plans to hold a day of action in support of Spanish dockers. The Spanish stevedores have also called off a series of strikes.
IDC general coordinator Jordi Aragunde said that “this is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us by the opposition parliamentary groups”.
Aragunde claimed that the support of dockers around the world had helped to convince the Spanish parliament and the public that the proposed reform measures were “reckless, dishonest, and harmful to the interests of the working class.”
Spanish law currently required, port employers to hire stevedores from SAGEPs (Sociedad Anónima de Gestión de Estibadores Portuarios), all of which are unionized, but this arrangement was found by a European Court of Justice in to be in violation of EU laws on freedom of establishment. The ECJ ordered Spain to open up the system to competition. In February Spain’s minister of public works, Íñigo de la Serna, announced a liberalization plan to comply with the EU court order in February. Port employers would have been able to phase out SAGEP labour over a three-year period. However, as a result of heavy opposition from the Socialist party and the Ciudadanos party, the Spanish parliament has rejected the proposal.
Spain is already paying daily fines to the EU for its failure to comply with the court ruling, and if its government does not reach a reform agreement with labour and the opposition parties soon, the fines will increase to more than $4.2m a month).