23 December 2013 – The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) have pledged their support in a meeting on 17 December, for dockworkers in Lisbon who have been under prolonged attack from their government and employers.
Working conditions for Portuguese dockworkers, particularly those at the port of Lisbon, have been deteriorating since the government adopted the new Port Law on 1 February this year. The ETF and IDC heard reports that the bargaining process has been frozen, and that employers have attempted to establish a new labour pool of non-union workers to replace existing professional dockworkers. On top of this, 47 dockworkers at Lisbon port have reportedly been dismissed with no rightful reason.
The ETF and IDC promised to support the union in tackling these deteriorating conditions, particularly to press for social dialogue, an end to union-busting, and the reinstatement of the 47 dismissed dockworkers as key aims for the campaign. Both organisations and the ITF see the Portuguese situation as part of a bigger challenge faced by dockworkers all over Europe. European legislation and infringement mechanisms have been used to try to undermine national laws and dockers’ conditions elsewhere including in Spain and Greece. More recently, the Belgian government has also come under pressure.
The campaign will pick up during the week of 13 January, when dockworkers across Europe are due to take action at their local Portuguese embassy. Affiliates are urged to show their support for the workers in Lisbon and their determination to defend the rights of dockworkers across Europe by seeking to meet with the head of the embassy and staff responsible for labour relations to highlight the concerns above. Legal rallies and protests are also encouraged. Please send photographs of your action and messages of support for the Lisbon dockers to firstname.lastname@example.org