Stevedores threaten future of Lisbon port

Key Portuguese port at risk. Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões Key Portuguese port at risk. Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Stevedores in the Port of Lisbon have announced that they will resume strikes on January 7, if port operators “use workers from outside the profession”.

Both stevedores and terminal operators have agreed to resume talks to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, for which initial discussions were abandoned in last year after no fewer than 36 meetings had been held.

Ironically, port unions have already signed such an agreement with the terminal operators.

As of November 14, the day on which the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, some dock workers, while continuing to work, had ‘worked to rule’, which ultimately led to an exodus of shipping lines, including Hapag Lloyd and Maersk, to other ports.

Both sides in the conflict were contacted by Maritime Minister Ana Paula Vitorino, who urged them to resume talks. She believes that there is room for negotiation, although each group must make concessions.

Lisbon port authority has speculated that terminal concession contracts might be rescinded, given the non-fulfilment of services by the operators.

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