THE INTERNATIONAL DOCKWORKERS COUNCIL (IDC) GOES BEFORE THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND WITHDRAWS FROM THE SECTORIAL SOCIAL DIALOGUE ON PORTS IDC demands that the European Commissioner take a clear and official position on the Spanish Decree Law that threatens to wipe out over 6,000 dockworker jobs, and asks whether the European Commission defends the use of public funds to pay for the destruction of stable employment on the docks. The IDC calls an international day of strike action in solidarity with Spanish dockworkers on March 10, which will see three hour stoppages in European ports and one hour stoppages in...
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IDC, November 2016. Barcelona. The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) has just seen a number of unions from the Asia and Oceania region join its ranks. By joining the IDC, these unions aim to increasingly involve themselves in negotiations and the improvement of working conditions of dockworkers across the two continents, as well as boost their union’s international presence as part of the IDC, which now counts over 100,000 dockworkers across five continents as members.
The IDC already has an important presence in Australia, with branches of the 10,000-strong Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in the city of Sydney and the state of Queensland (the home of Zone Coordinator, Bob Carnegie) now belonging to the IDC. The most recent IDC General Assembly held in September in Miami (United States) ratified the affiliation of workers from Hong Kong. Now in the last few days, the IDC has established and strengthened bilateral contacts with unions in Papua New Guinea, India and South Korea.
The Papua New Guinea Maritime and Transport Workers Union (PNG MTWU) gives great importance to the significant role of women in maritime work. This union, composed mainly of dockworkers, fishermen and women, transport workers and seafarers, has a workforce of dockers that are 40% women, with 50% of these aged 35 years and under.
Policymakers for the PNG union told the IDC that, "the struggles that the female labor force confront in our union today are common to others in the Pacific region. But our main concerns stem from our own national culture, where the men are still above the women and where women are viewed badly if they work outside of their family environment".
The PNG MTWU says that, "we have women who are crane and forklift operators. Nevertheless there have been many cases where the men of our union feel that women should not be doing this kind of work, which only makes the job harder". The PNG union has "launched various gender equality campaigns to tackle this question" and is trying and "make our male comrades reflect on and raise awareness around this issue".
Another initiative that the union has carried out is "to facilitate the attendance of our women workers at various seminars, courses and meetings of women around the world so that they can learn about the respective experiences of other women in the labor market within the port sector".
The union from Papua New Guinea also pointed to its full identification with the workers of the Asia-Pacific region.
Furthermore, dockworkers belonging to the Madras Port Trust Employees' Union (MPTEU) of India, which is part of the All-India Port and Dock Workers Federation (AIPDWF), has expressed interest in the great international work that the IDC is carrying out and has asked for information to work together with the IDC.
Born in 1942, the Madras Port Trust Employees' Union has had a continuous relationship with the port of Chennai, the largest port in the Bay of Bengal and the second largest in India in terms of foreign trade after Mumbai.
As part of its solidarity work, the International Dockworkers Council has offered its support to the dockworkers and other striking workers recently imprisoned in South Korea. Twenty unionists, including seven leaders and officials of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the Korean Plant Construction Workers' Union (KPCWU), have been arrested for nothing more than defending the rights of workers.
These workers were arrested during the current strike that has been called by public sector workers in opposition to regressive labor reform and a performance-based pay system that undermines safety in the hazardous public transport sector. The strike is now in its fifth week.
IDC General Coordinator Jordi Aragunde has described how he "takes pride in the fact that some of the principal unions in the Asia and Oceania region want to explore channels of communication and ways of working with us. It is a sign that the IDC is expanding its efforts and its solidarity and professional work all over the world, especially given that, as you would expect, this region is one of the most important on the planet when it comes to maritime work". Aragunde concluded by saying that, "the dockworker men and women of this region are most welcome to become a part of the great IDC family".
The International Dockworkers Council (IDC)
The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) is a global union federation which was formally founded in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Canary Islands of Spain in 2000. Today it brings together close to 100,000 dockworkers across five continents and works to defend workers and their jobs through both training and the continual improvement of their working conditions.
With its central office in the city of Barcelona, Spain, the IDC is organized into six different zones (Europe, Africa, West Coast of North America and the Pacific, East Coast of North America, Oceania and Latin America), each with its own Coordinator who was nominated at the General Assembly.
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