IDC, January 2017. Barcelona. International Dockworkers Council (IDC) General Coordinator Jordi Aragunde spent four days in the Americas where he had the opportunity to discuss a number of important issues with IDC dockworker affiliates situated on the East Coast of the United States, Mexico and Argentina.
During his time in New York, Aragunde met with International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Vice-President Dennis A. Daggett, to discuss the impact of newly-elected President Donald Trump entering the White House. The IDC General Coordinator and the leaders of the ILA, a union which represents over 65,000 workers in U.S. ports, also discussed the global union's strategy for the coming months.
Aragunde also took advantage of his meeting with ILA representatives to discuss how the ILA could help to resolve the disputes affecting dockers in the IDC’s European Zone, particularly those in Spain and Belgium after the European Court ruling on respective port models, as well as the current situation faced by Swedish dockworkers. Together with ILA representatives, Aragunde discussed various measures and strategies that can be taken in order to meet the challenges that their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic are now facing.
Jordi Aragunde later visited Mexico to meet the leaders of the Sindicato de Trabajadores Portuarios y sus Ramales en General del Estado de Veracruz (STPRGEV – Port and Related Industry Workers’ Union of the State of Veracruz), which brings together about 12,000 IDC affiliates. Along with his Mexican counterparts, the IDC General Coordinator discussed the drawing up of strategies which the dockworkers can use to ensure that they can achieve greater recognition from the country’s authorities and better representation for their members. Particular attention was paid to how the newly formed union, which represents the majority of dockworkers in the region, can achieve legal trade union status so that the union can have a stronger presence in the decision making processes that affect dockworkers.
For the final leg of his trip, Aragunde and IDC South American Zone Coordinator, Ricardo Suárez from Uruguay, were invited to Buenos Aires to join workers from the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de las Administraciones Portuarias (SUTAP - United Port Authority Workers’ Union) at a demonstration to demand the liberation of Milagro Sala, a political activist and leader of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association.
Both IDC leaders also met with the Sindicato de Guincheros y Maquinistas de Grúas Móviles (SGyMGMRA – Crane and Mobile Crane Drivers’ Union), which operates in the ports, and the Federación Marítima Portuaria y de la Industria Naval (FeMPINRA – Maritime, Port and Naval Industry Federation). The aim of this meeting was the strengthening of ties in order to facilitate taking joint action and of uniting forces in the short term. The meeting was also attended by former IDC South American Zone Coordinator Mauricio Zarzuelo, who is from Argentina and a member of SUTAP.
The IDC delegation discussed with the Argentine dockworkers the strategy of the IDC in Latin America, where it has a presence in most countries, which includes the need to strengthen the training of dockworkers.
• The conditions of workers within the ports are a key factor for competition• Jordi Aragunde: "we must focus on the application of the new Regulation with regards to container terminal automation"
The Gothenburg container terminal, the largest in all the Nordic countries, has experienced problems since APM Terminals (APMT) obtained the concession. Repeated crisis' have led to a dramatic drop in market shares, from 57% of the Swedish container market to 45% in just a few years.
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