February 4 – The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has welcomed the news that the US Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association have reached a tentative agreement for a new six-year master labour contract.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen issued a statement over the weekend on the labour negotiations between the two sides in which he said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that the parties have reached a tentative agreement for a comprehensive successor Master Agreement. The tentative agreement is subject to the ratification procedures of both parties and, as well, to agreements being achieved in a number of local union negotiations.
“Those local negotiations are ongoing and will continue without interruption to any port operation. Out of respect for the parties’ ratification processes, and consistent with the Agency’s long-standing confidentiality policy, we will not disclose any details concerning the
substantive provisions that have been reached.”
Peter Quantrill, director general of BIFA, the trade association that represents UK freight forwarders said: “By removing some of the
uncertainty, this tentative agreement is good news for our members; as well as anyone else involved in physical trade with the USA; and shows that mediation can deliver results.
“It would appear that it will business as usual through the container ports that might have been affected had the tentative agreement not been reached, which makes the news all the more welcome.”
The current contract between the ILA and its employers represented by USMX was originally due to expire on September 30, last year, but was twice extended, first to late December 2012, and then to next Wednesday, February 6.-