Owners and unions at loggerheads in Spain

The general assembly of the Spanish owners’ association Anesco has voted against accepting a pre-agreement reached with stevedoring unions, claiming it is anti-competitive and in breach of proposed new government legislation, which the unions oppose.

A new proposal will be sent to the trade unions today.

Despite its rejection of the trade union proposal, Anesco said that it wants to sign an agreement as quickly as possible, calling upon the port unions to call off their scheduled stoppages.

For their part, the unions have advised the owners that they will now call four additional 48-hour strikes for the last week of June and the first week of July.

Although minimum service levels imposed by the government have so far been met, dock workers have shown near 100% solidarity during recent shut downs.

According to the National Ports Authority, competing ports such as Sines, Tanger-Med, Fos and Genova, as well as those in northern Europe, are picking up container traffic bound for Spain, although this is increasing logistics costs. 

APM Terminals, for its part, claims that its facilities at Algeciras are losing numerous vessels to other ports, with up to 15 vessels having been diverted, according to Spain’s Development Ministry. Maersk has also announced that it is to permanently switch 150,000 teu a year from Algeciras to Tanger-Med.

Each day of strike is said to be resulting in losses to ports of €25m, with Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras all being badly hit, running up combined losses of €10m between them.

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