"No confidence" in APM Terminals Gothenburg, says SDU

09 Jun 2017
APM Terminals Gothenburg

APM Terminals Gothenburg has low productivity as a result of the ongoing dispute

An 18-month contract dispute between APM Terminals Gothenburg and the Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) is unlikely to be resolved soon, the SDU has said.

Erik Helgeson, spokesman for the SDU, which represents approximately 85% of APM’s employees, told Port Strategy that the no progress has been made with APM since discussions about a change in the container terminal's HR policies began in November 2015.

"The only way we see this working out is through direct talks," said Mr Helgeson. "In the last six months they've also been very aggressive. We have no confidence in the mediators or the mediator process.”

The union, which says it had three or four limited strikes in Spring 2016, and just eight hours of strikes since January 2017, is contesting what it believes is APM's efforts to ensure there is a ban on industrial action in any workplace where there is already a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The SDU, part of the International Dockworkers Council (IDC), says its workers are currently being "locked out" of the port for 15 hours a day and it has been barred from APM contract negotiations since autumn 2016.

Mr Helgeson said the SDU is ready to sign the CBA if it is an equal stakeholder in practise to the port's other union, STWU, but being excluded from talks is a “disaster”, given it represents the vast majority of workers at the port,

Referring to the port's low productivity as a result of worker inactivity, he said: "Right now I think we're probably amongst the very lowest in the modern world amongst container terminals. This is really a large-scale disaster and all the customers are really worried about it and they're losing a lot of money. In order to rebuild confidence amongst the customers we really need to find a solution to the CBA problem."

He added: “We're ready to do it now because if we don't start negotiating and trying to re-establish some kind of cooperation between the employees and company leadership we are going to lose so many customers. That will be a disaster for us but also a disaster for APM.”

Last month the IDC made contact with APM’s headquarters in The Hague and requested direct talks with involvement from both IDC and APM, according to the SDU.

Mr Helgeson stressed: “When it comes to the CBA issue, we don't want to renegotiate or redefine the terms and conditions. We want to be part of the agreement already present because we were part of making them so we stand by them.

APM Terminals Gothenburg were approached for comment but did not respond by deadline.

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