Port unions target DP World

The ITF is taking on DP World
The ITF is taking on DP World
Port unions are campaigning against automation and collective agreements
Sharon James, secretary, dockers' section, ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) dockers’ union is targeting terminal operator Dubai Ports World (DPW) over its "anti-union activities” and its systematic attempt “to undermine the wages and working conditions of workers all over the world”.

The unions are focusing their efforts on the London Gateway terminal in the UK where it says DPW has refused to sign a collective working agreement with Unite the Union.

Sharon James, secretary, dockers’ section secretary, told Port Strategy: "In the case of DP World, serious problems have occurred that have provoked the call for action from our conference, with the aim of getting the company into meaningful negotiations to address them. We do not undertake such campaigns lightly."

ITF says its unions have been open to dialogue throughout these disputes and it is not prepared to ignore the cases where DP World looks like it is "ignoring it's responsibilities to workers".

But, a DP World spokesperson has insisted that workers' rights are not being exploited. "We require our business units to fully respect rights of our people, including their right to choose whether to join a union or to adopt collective bargaining," the spokesperson said to Arabian Business. "None would pre-empt that right by entering into any sort of unilateral agreement with a union, which is what Unite is demanding at London Gatway."

Meanwhile, in Australia, representatives are calling for transparency in negations between the Maritime Union of Australia and DP World at the Port of Brisbane.

ITF says workers at the port have been dealing with issues of representation, job losses, contracting out and a possible cut in working conditions as a result of planned automation.

The union is also calling on DP World to begin negotiations for collective agreements at Chennai Container Terminal Ltd and Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT DPW) in India to prevent job losses where it seeks to introduce automation.


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