Swedish dockers demonstrate in solidarity with their Portuguese comrades in Gothenburg Dockers around the world are showing their support for their comrades in Portugal with solidarity strikes and demonstrations. This is part of an international campai …

Swedish dockers demonstrate in solidarity with their Portuguese comrades in Gothenburg

Swedish dockers demonstrate in solidarity with their Portuguese comrades in Gothenburg

Dockers around the world are showing their support for their comrades in Portugal with solidarity strikes and demonstrations.

This is part of an international campaign by the International Dockworkers Council’s European zone (IDC-E) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) to address the alarming situation affecting Portuguese ports.

Portuguese ports have been undergoing ‘liberalisation’ and reform since 2012. As a consequence, labour conditions have progressively deteriorated.

The Portuguese conflict is a direct consequence of the devastating austerity measures imposed by the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) as a condition for the Portuguese government to obtain financial assistance. The European dock workers’ unions have repeatedly condemned these measures which are part of a larger labour deregulation process affecting European ports.

French dockers in Le Havre strike in solidarity

French dockers in Le Havre strike in solidarity

Amongst the major concerns of the unions is the unwillingness of the employers’ organisations to enter into a meaningful dialogue. On the contrary, they continue to create an alternative labour pool of dock workers with the purpose of replacing union workers by an untrained non-union workforce. Since the entry into force of the new law, 47 dock workers employed at the port of Lisbon have been dismissed without cause.

The unions further condemn the fact that the new Portuguese port law is in breach of ILO Convention 137, which Portugal has ratified.

The solidarity campaign involves both political and lawful solidarity measures urging the Portuguese government to promote a meaningful dialogue between unions and employers.

Dockers’ unions affiliated to the ETF and IDC-E affiliated unions have sent statements to Portuguese embassies and taken part in solidarity action across the continent.

For more information, and to show your support, see the IDC-E Facebook page.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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