Strike finally ends at Setúbal

Industry Database

Workers at the Portuguese Port of Setúbal returned to work on December 15, drawing to a close a virtual paralysis of the port since November 5.

This follows an agreement signed by employers and the SEAL union effectively ending the dispute.

The two sides have agreed to 56 casual workers being offered contracts by the stevedoring companies, and a further ten to 37 being similarly offered the same in the near future. Furthermore, the agreement undertakes to share work across all those workers not contracted full time and, where possible, to allow them to work without having to resort to overtime.

Agreed conditions were little different from those on offer a week before the end of the strike, although SEAL agreed to stop the strike on the condition that alleged discrimination of SEAL members at Leixões and Caniçal could be resolved as soon as possible.

Behind the scenes, pressure for an agreement had come from major Setúbal client Volkswagen, whose Autoeropa car terminal was effectively shut down, prompting export shipments to be sent by road to the Port of Leixões.

It is hoped that main customers such as MacAndrews and Tarros will resume calls at Setúbal, although the former initially switched services to Setúbal because of strikes at the Port of Lisbon.

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