Thursday, 30 July 2009

DP World sees 10% fall in box ports volumes

DP WORLD chief executive Mohammed Sharaf has described the first six months of 2009 as the “most challenging operating environment our industry has ever known”.

The comments came as DP World reported a 10% fall in consolidated half year container volumes at its 49 terminals worldwide, which handled 12.3m teu in the six months to June.

The Dubai-based container terminal giant said that the results would lead to “an inevitable decline” in half year profits before tax.

“Despite this decline in volume, DP World continued to outperform the market given our diversified global port portfolio favouring those markets where container trade volumes have been less impacted by the challenging macroeconomic climate, in particular across the Middle East,” the company said.

For the first six months of the year, the company’s home base of UAE reported a 7% fall in volumes to 5.4m teu.

“While DP World has performed better than the market, the 10% decline in consolidated volumes will lead to an inevitable decline in first half profit before tax against the same period last year,” Mr Sharaf said.

“The unpredictable trends in global trade we have seen in the first half of the year continue into the second half of the year.

“Our terminals remain very focused on cost cutting and improving efficiencies to minimise the impact of declining volumes on profitability. At this stage we expect to deliver full year results in line with expectations.”

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

MTL Dublin

This is a comment from an earlier post I put up that I would like to bring to your attention.

Peel Ports Marine Terminals Limited today issued letters to all staff on the picket that they were now at risk of being made redundant! When will this end, please show your support for your fellow dockers, you could be next!

And this from the MTL site.

Just to make everyone aware of the situation today,Tuesday the 28th of July 2009. The company issued letters to all the people on the picket telling them that they were "at risk of redundancy". This would wipe out everyone who did not sign up to the company's new terms and conditions. This goes to show you how much regard the company have for the men and women who helped make it what it was.
Please show your support for the workers and let Peel Ports Marine Terminals Limited know that we will not stand for this! Please tell everyone you know of our plight down here in Dublin Port and ask them to support us too.
We cannot let this company get away with what they are doing. It will set the precedent for other companies to do the same and they in turn will ruin more Irish lives and send their profits out of the country!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Southampton revives Dibden Bay project

The port of Southampton has revived plans to develop its Dibden Bay facility, which was rejected by the UK government in 2004 following a protracted public debate.
Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) yesterday launched a public consultation process on its 20-year master plan for the port, which identifies Dibden as the last remaining greenfield site where significant extra port capacity can be created.
Port director Doug Morrison said: “Southampton’s master plan is a voluntary process by ABP and the consultation is in line with the Department for Transport’s guidance for the UK’s major ports’ development.
“The pre-consultation began in June and the public consultation begins today and will continue until 13 November 2009.
“We will collate all of the comments received during the consultation and where appropriate we will incorporate them into the master plan with the intention of publishing it by the end of 2009.
“The important thing to remember is that the master plan is not a planning application.”

Monday, 27 July 2009

Dublin dockers vow to continue strike action

No signs of resolution to industrial dispute over proposed cutbacks at Peel Ports facility

Striking dockers at one of Dublin’s largest container terminals have vowed to continue industrial action for as long as necessary.
Dockers at Peel Ports-owned Marine Terminals Ltd (MTL), which represents around 25% of traffic handled at the port, went on strike on 3 July after negotiations over redundancy packages, pay cuts and operating procedures broke down.
"We’re still on strike and there is no sign of us coming back off strike," one docker told IFW.
"There are a select few members of staff who have passed the pickets and they [MTL] are bringing in staff from other terminals, but we’re going to keep going for as long as we need.
"A lot us don’t feel they’re ever going to back down because we’ve spoken to staff at other terminals Peel Ports has taken over and they’ve told us they also went in for negotiations, but Peel refused to actually negotiate. It was their way or you’re out."
A Peel Ports spokesman confirmed a number of workers were on strike but added the terminal was still operating effectively.
"The port itself is operating very smoothly, the customers have in fact been commenting on how extremely smoothly things have been running and this proves how little impact there has been on customer traffic," he said.
Both parties have agreed to return to the negotiating table on 4 August when a meeting will be held by the Labour Relations Commission, an independent industrial dispute resolution body.
However, the Peel Ports spokesman refused to say whether he expected differences to be resolved at the meeting.
"That remains to be seen. The union has adopted a fairly entrenched position, and, given the economic downturn, there really needs to be efficiencies made. Some of the dockers are earning €75,000 (US$106,000) per year, which is substantially above the industry norm."
MTL would like to make €60,000 the maximum pay.
Marine Terminals has so far made 19 members of the 81-strong workforce redundant, with five of those being voluntary.
The workers’ union SIPTU-MPGWU has said it understands redundancies and pay cuts may be needed, but claims these must be negotiated rather than just thrust on workers.
In a letter to MTL, SIPTU-MPGWU organiser Oliver McDonagh said: "The issue is the company’s continuance to change the contract of employment and to diminish the terms and conditions of our members without discussion, negotiation and agreement."
He added: "The company does not have the right under any statute to unilaterally change the contract of employment without going through this process."

Inquiry launched into crane collapse

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched its inquiry into the crane collapse at DP World Southampton (DPWS).
The HSE said it was working as quickly as possible to establish the cause of the collapse on 13 July but it was impossible to say when its findings would be published.
"We have identified some significant lines of enquiry and we have issued some precautionary advice to the ports industry as a result, " it said.
"We now know that there are no cranes of an identical design anywhere else in the UK. All cranes at DPWS of a similar design and age to the model that collapsed on Monday have been taken out of use while the initial investigation continues."
Meanwhile, the crane’s driver, Jay Squibb, 33, is showing signs of recovery after being seriously injured in the collapse.
DPWS said it was hoping to have 10 gantry cranes and a mobile harbour crane available for operation from today.

Swine flu latest... Have you seen any improvement in cleaning in the mess rooms?

I think most of us now know somebody with it. I was sat in the mess room the other day with someone that ended up on the sick at the end of our last set of four shifts. He's got it and as far as I know basic cleaning hasn't been stepped up. The only time the tables get cleaned is when we take it upon ourselves to do it.
I think it's about time disinfectant wipes were available in the mess rooms at the least.

Latest figures
There were an estimated 100,000 new cases of swine flu in the UK in the week ending July 19. Total deaths stand at 31. More than 800 people with swine flu have died worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic.
At this week's
update on the swine flu situation, Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, also said:
There were 840 seriously ill people in hospital with swine flu. Of these, 63 were in intensive care
Under 14-year-olds continue to be the age group predominantly affected
The provisional number of deaths in England related to swine flu was 26, and around 16% did not have any underlying health conditions. The figure is the same as last week because some unrelated deaths have been removed and others added. (This figure represents the number of deaths in individuals with swine flu but does not represent the number of deaths that can be attributed to swine flu).
The disease is generally mild in most people so far, but is proving severe in a small minority of cases.

No green shoots here, says TUC

Commenting on the GDP figures for the second quarter of 2009, published today (Friday) by the Office for National Statistics, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'There are no green shoots here. Unemployment is growing and a recovery that brings hope to the jobless looks ever more distant.
'Immediate big spending cuts are the last thing we need. They could tip the economy into an ever deeper downturn and make the deficit worse when the tax take falls and spending on unemployment goes up. With consumers and companies failing to spend, the public sector must fill the gap.'

7000 views of my blog!

It's not ground breaking news and it's not a pat on the back for me but today this blog reached 7000 views.

All I am asking is if you feel strongly about any of the articles I post up here please comment. Management view this site as much as the hourly paid members of staff. Your comments get back to them. You don't have to leave your name.

If any of you think I've missed any news story email me and I'll put it up.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Petition to stop the casualisation of Great Yarmouth Docks.

More details from petition creator
Yourselves and the Port Of Singapore Authority have been involved in the construction of a new container port at Great Yarmouth. It has now been announced that the permanently employed workforce ( some with 20 years service plus ) are going to made redundant and replaced with casual / agency labour.

Please sign and pass on this link.

Pandemic Flu - Guidance for unions

Ever since the first news reports came out about the swine flu pandemic I've been asking the question, what is the company's policy?
As far a most of us can see there isn't one. I've taken a few bits from the TUC's Pandemic Flu - Guidance for unions document for you to read and pester your manager about. Full report can be read here.

The fatality rate for previous pandemics has varied from 0.2% to 2% with between 25% and 50% of the population being affected during the outbreak. The present flu virus seems to be “milder” than some previous ones. In addition many people who were alive during the 1957 flu outbreak seem to have some immunity from the current strain. The Government estimates that the number of deaths from flu this winter could be anywhere between 19,000 and 65,000 compared to 6-8,000 in an average year. This however will depend on how quickly an effective vaccine can be developed. To date almost all deaths have been among those with an underlying health condition.

Why pandemic influenza is an issue for trade unions

The TUC believes that trade unions and employers, working together, can make a significant difference in ensuring that the effects of the pandemic are minimised, that the workforce are educated and informed on transmission issues, and in helping ensure there is no panic.

Why you must act now

It is important that employers do not wait until the autumn, when the pandemic develops further before considering what measures they need to take. At the same time, it is also important that people do not take panic measures. Although the government response is based on the “worst case scenario”, with the closure of schools, major problems with transport and distribution, and very high levels of sickness, it will be impossible to predict the actual full effect of a pandemic until the beginnings of an outbreak. That is why forward planning must be flexible, practical, and based on realistic assessments of likely risk.

What unions can do

Trade unions should ensure that their employer has in place either a separate policy for dealing with pandemic influenza, or a general policy covering major disasters or incidents that also covers major public health incidents such as pandemic influenza. It should not be left to employers alone to decide on what is an appropriate response. Unions must also be involved, as any effective policy must have the confidence of the whole workforce.

Among the things that unions should look at are:
Do the employer’s plans underestimate the possible absence rate in the event of a major pandemic, as a consequence of employee infection and/or if the schools close.?
Have they looked at issues around supply of materials or services?
Have all departments been involved in drawing up the plan?
Does it treat all staff equally?
Have they considered the operation of functions such as cleaning and catering, if these are not done “in-house”?

Personal protection
Some employers have decided that one of the steps they should take to prepare for a pandemic influenza outbreak is to keep stockpiles of gloves, masks, and hand sanitising liquid. The TUC does not recommend the use of gloves or masks in most workplaces for a variety of reasons. Gloves do not prevent infection as people will still touch their skin with the gloves and then touch another surface or person.

The use of hand sanitising liquid is slightly different. It may be that some public organisations will make it available at key entry areas or where there is likely to be contact between people. Public transport systems may use some form of sanitising spray in the event of an outbreak. However, care should be taken to ensure that any products used are fully safe to use and are not likely to exceed their sell-by date within the next few years if they are buying future supplies for storing..

Many employers will also plan to step up their cleaning regimes in the event of an outbreak. However, they should bear in mind that it is likely that the number of cleaning staff may be reduced as a result of illness. Damp rather than dry dusting should be carried out during a pandemic to avoid the generation of dust and it is recommended that the cleaning of surfaces be carried out using a freshly prepared solution of detergent and hot water followed, where necessary, by a chlorine based disinfectant solution.
Every month I ask for items to raise at the work force reps meeting. Every month people bring up the state of the mess rooms.

Personal hygiene
This is one area which employers can start taking action on straight away. One of the ways in which any virus is likely to spread quickly is through hand to face contact, coughing and sneezing. Employers and union activists can download material from the Department of Health in order to educate people on the importance of hand-washing and the use of handkerchiefs now, rather than waiting for a pandemic to break out.

The HSE has a web page on pandemic influenza which includes advice on what to do now a pandemic has been declared: Department of Health pandemic influenza website, which includes the current contingency plan is at: is also available on the Health Protection Agency Website: Faculty of Occupational Medicine advice is at

Burston strike school rally.

Sunday 6th Sept 2009
11:00am to 4:00pm

Church Green, Burston, Norfolk. Nearest BR: Diss

The Burston Strike School Rally is organised by Unite with the support of the SERTUC and the Burston Strike School Trustees.
Come to Burston to commemorate the longest strike in history, and to celebrate the people who continue to fight for trade union rights, working class education, democracy in the countryside and international solidarity.
Keynote speakers at the 2009 rally include:
Luis Marron, political counsellor, Cuban Embassy
Richard Howitt MEP
Tony Benn
Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary
John Hegley
Chaired by Megan Dobney (SERTUC regional secretary) and Mike Pentelow (Landworker)
The event will also feature a live salsa/folk music session by Omar Puente plus a Paseo Malanga carnival band, a children’s fun area, food and beer tent and campaign and community stalls.

Download the Burston flyer for more details.

a coach will be available to take Burston fans from the Colchester and Ipswich area to the Rally.pick up points:
9.30am, by the Gala Bingo in Osborne Street, Colchester.
10.00am, Crown Street layby, Ipswich.
seats will cost £5.00, children under 14: £2.50, please book early to avoid disappointment by e-mailing payments made before the day are appreciated, and will be acknowledged.cheques made payable to "TGWU 1/460" should be sent to Sarah Sanford, c/o Ipswich Community Resource Centre.16, Old Foundry Road, Ipswich, IP4 2AS.
please forward this information to others you think may be interested.
Sarah SanfordSecretary,
TGWU/Unite 1/460 branch,

More information on The Burston strike school can be found here:

Monday, 20 July 2009

Collection for Jay Squibb.

I'd just like to point out that in the mess rooms around the port you will find forms to add your names to if you'd like to participate in the collection for Jay Squibb. He is the crane driver from Southampton involved in the accident earlier this week.

Recession Update July 2009

June sees a small fall in total redundancies
In June a total of 9834 redundancies were announced in Unite companies,
down on the May total of 10081. This latest downturn is the lowest reported
figure since the 7258 redundancies in October 08 and is the second
consecutive month that there has been a fall but a smaller one then previous.
Is this the first sign of a flattening out of redundancies?
The scale of redundancy announcements is also coming down. In the last
month, just 38 companies were added to the database, which is down on the
May figure of 52 and significantly on the April figure of 80 and March figure of

Forecast commentary
Forecasting is a notoriously dangerous occupation for economists but recent
statistics and survey results have led to speculation that the recession has
bottomed out and that the “green shoots” of recovery are just around the

For Unite members the key figures are about employment and inflation and
here is where the reports from around the regions give little hope for
improvements on the jobs front. Whilst our report shows a small decline in
the rate of jobs being lost each month, the economic forecasters are fairly
unanimous in the view that there is a lot more job losses to come.

To end on a positive note the share of the economy is forecast by Deloitte’s
to change as a result of the nature if this recession. Whilst we have already
seen the negative impact on the Financials Services share of the UK
economy, it is anticipated that this could be replaced by a growth in the
manufacturing share of the economy to as high as 15% from the current level
of 11% benefitting from the lower value of the pound.

To read the full report click here.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Marine terminal limited,Dublin. Dockers forum etc.

Anybody interested in what's going on in Dublin have a look at this site. There are letters from the company, a blog, forum and links to the media.
I get a lot of people surfing into this site looking for the latest information on their dispute.

Jay Squibb lucky to be alive after Southampton crane crash, says wife Alison

Friday 17th July 2009

TODAY should have been the happiest of occasions, celebrating their baby son’s first birthday.
Having booked almost three weeks of holiday time, Jay Squibb had planned to mark Wilson’s big day with wife Ali, eldest son Finn, 7, and surrounded by family and friends.
But instead the 33-year-old is lying in a hospital bed, unable to speak because of the horrific injuries that have left his voicebox and windpipe crushed.
Dad-of-two Jay is lucky to be alive after plunging 100ft when the arm of the towering Morris crane he was operating broke off, sending him plunging onto containers on a ship below in Southampton docks.
Remarkably it’s those containers that could well have saved his life – breaking his fall inside the crane’s small cabin.
Had timings been different, his family fear he could have been moving a container onto a ship and fallen even further on to a concrete quay.

Aside from his severe neck injuries, the 33-year-old dad-of-two has unbelievably escaped with only a shattered knee that will require surgery. He has lacerations to his legs, has had his left hand stitched up and suffered gashes to the neck that bore the brunt of his injury.
Amazingly, there’s just a scratch on the face of the crane operator, who has worked at the docks for around 13 years, following in his father John’s footsteps, with brothers Steve and Colby.
Speaking from Southampton General hospital where she has kept a bedside vigil since Jay’s accident early on Monday morning, Ali said days have merged into a blur.
“It happened at 5.15am and I found out from my sister-inlaw at 6.40am.
I was just getting up and starting to think of getting our eldest son Finn ready for school. I was running around in a blind panic. The days are a blur – I’ve been numb.”
Following the accident Jay underwent hours of surgery to have his larynx repaired by ear, nose and throat surgeons.
His neck is now bruised and swollen and he’s unable to speak.
Ali, 33, said: “I don’t know how long it will be before he gets the use of his voice again, and we’ve been told he’ll be croaky for some time.
“Whether he will ever actually sound like my Jay again I just don’t know. But it goes without saying that he’s lucky to be here – he’s my miracle.”
Jay was taken off a ventilator yesterday and is now using oxygen to help him. His first communication with Ali was when he spelt on to her hand “what’s happened?”
Ali said; “I told him it was the crane and he just rolled his eyes back.”
The couple, from Woolston, thought they had endured their fair share of time in hospital after Wilson was born ten weeks premature and then underwent surgery for a pacemaker to be fitted to his tiny body.
Just when things looked up, the tot was diagnosed with pneumonia over Christmas.
Ali said: “His birthday was going to be really special but instead Wilson won’t even be able to see his dad just yet. I’m just desperate for him to get better but this is going to be a long, slow recovery process and right now it’s just one step at a time.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Southampton accident sparks call for crane checks

THE UK Health and Safety Executive is telling all users of workhorse port cranes made by now-defunct British manufacturer Morris to carry out urgent safety tests, following the collapse of two units of this marque at DP World Southampton in the last 18 months.
The second accident took place on Monday this week, crushing the legs of operator Jay Squibb, who is now in a critical but stable condition in Southampton General Hospital.
It now seems that no other cranes of precisely the same model are in service in the UK, despite earlier fears to the contrary. But as the maker went into administration in or around 2001, it is unclear whether any were exported. Moreover, other Morris models, some now relatively elderly, remain commonplace on the British waterfront.
DP World Southampton has voluntarily suspended the operation of three Morris units after this week’s incident, in which a crane crashed down onto boxship NYK Themis, pending an investigation into what the company described as “concerns”.
The company did not respond to a telephone query asking it to specify the nature of these concerns.
However, it said in a statement that on initial indications, it is unlikely that this latest accident had a similar cause to the previous boom collapse. Shipside operations resumed on the Tuesday night shift, utilising six quay gantry cranes and a mobile harbour crane.
Meanwhile, Lloyd’s List has been passed an email written on Tuesday by Nigel Parfitt, head of Ports Skills and Safety, the industry body charged with promotion of safety standards in Britain’s ports.
Mr Parfitt writes: “Although it is too early to be sure of the exact cause of failure of the Morris dockside crane at Southampton on 13 July 2009, there are questions about any dockside crane that has a tubular collared or sleeved backstay, particularly where final assembly has taken place on site and welding has taken place in wet weather or the welding allows water ingress.
“The particular Morris Crane involved in the incident was installed in 1993, and although there are few if any identical designs in the UK, there may be others worldwide. As a precautionary measure it may be advisable for users of any Morris dockside crane to have the backstays None Destructive Testing [NDT] tested for reassurance.”
Mr Parfitt was not immediately available for comment. But a source close to the investigation confirmed that the HSE is recommending users undertake backstay tests, although it cannot order them to do so. One of the crane’s original designers is currently on site in Southampton, assisting HSE efforts, and according to him, the design is unique.
The source added: “Part-way up the sleeves or collars, there is a junction point, and it [the crane] has failed at that junction point. What we are concerned about is failure of that weld area. It could be because of bubbles [in the weld], because of the weather, or because of cracking.”
Lloyd’s List has also seen an email dated October 21 2008, written by Chris Barringer, head of the HSE’s transportation section, in which she asks for “information on the existence and whereabouts of any type of Morris cranes, so that additional information can be made available to users on possible safety issues”.
In particular, she singles out Morris ship-to-shore cranes built in the early 1990s, and which have since undergone modification. These criteria are known to apply to Southampton’s crane eight, which collapsed onto boxship Kyoto Express in January last year. The 1993-built unit had undergone a 4m boom extension from contractor Seward Wyon during 2006, enabling it to handle bigger vessels.
Workforce sources in Southampton are angry that in the eight months since this email was sent, Morris units stayed in service. Ms Barringer said that although her name was on the email, her job is to formulate policy and that she could not respond to technical questions.;jsessionid=692D4B2E1D073C49BF54FE3546D3A842

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Community fund reaches milestone

A PORT fund set up last year is riding the crest of a wave after raising more than £100,000.
Felixstowe Port Community Fund, set up by a dozen shipping and transport-related companies in the town to support local causes, reached the milestone in little over a year.
“We are so proud of what has been achieved so far,” said fund chairman Derek Johnson, chief executive of Johnson Stevens Agencies.
“We have exceeded the £100,000 mark and already made a real difference to a number of organisations through the grants we have awarded to date.
“But this is just the beginning. All of the companies involved are totally committed to the fund and a series of fund-raising events are being planned. We look forward to taking the Felixstowe Port Community Fund to even greater heights.”
The Felixstowe Port Community Fund is managed by the Suffolk Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for Suffolk people.
“What is happening at Felixstowe is, we think, truly unique,” said Stephen Singleton, Suffolk Foundation chief executive.
“It is a community of businesses whose activities all revolve around the docks and some are competitors - but they have pulled together to create a significant amount of money and redistribute that back into the local community.
“The package that they are pulling together is remarkable, particularly in tough times. Without doubt, this could be a model for other ports - and also for all sorts of industries. It is a fantastic success.”
The first round of grant awards from the fund have included £10,000 to St. Felix Home for the Blind, £2,000 for the Disability Advice Service, £2,150 for the Anchor Trust's Oakwood House, to enable the trust to buy a new minibus, and £2,000 towards the Felixstowe Youth Development Group “Safe Place to Be” project.
Its most recent awards include £1,565 to Causton Junior School PTA for the purchase of a set of turbano drums for an outdoor classroom, £1,980 to Riding for the Disabled, for building maintenance and replacement equipment, £1,200 to Deben High School towards its after-school vegetable growing club, £2,000 to Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service as a contribution towards the replacement of two lifeboat engines.
The Felixstowe Port Community Fund partners are: Cory Brothers, Coscon (UK) Ltd, Freightliner, Grange Shipping, Harwich Haven Authority, Johnson Stevens Agencies, MCP, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Pentalver Transport, the Port of Felixstowe and Wincanton.

I was under the impression that the port had stopped all charitable donations while they were taking two days pay off us!
Anyone like to comment?

DP World Southampton suspends use of remaining Morris cranes

DP WORLD Southampton has suspended the operation of three Morris cranes of the same design as the one that collapsed onto boxship NYK Themis on Monday, pending an investigation into what it describes as “concerns” over the units.
While a statement from Britain’s number two container terminal did not specify what these concerns might be, it did insist that on initial indications, it is unlikely that this latest accident had a similar cause as an earlier boom collapse in January 2008.
Meanwhile, shipside operations resumed on the Tuesday night shift following consultations with the Health and Safety Executive, with six quay gantry cranes and a mobile harbour crane available for operation.
“We are continuing an active dialogue with the Health and Safety Executive regarding the accident investigation and the status of our other Morris-built cranes,” DP World added.
The operator of crane six, injured in the latest accident, has been named as Jay Squibb, who is reportedly in a critical but stable condition after being taken to Southampton General Hospital. According to the local newspaper report, two brothers of Mr Squibb were working at the terminal on the same shift.
An independent investigation to determine the cause of the 2008 incident involving crane eight was concluded late last year. But the company stated: “We are not in a position to make any statement regarding the identified cause pending the conclusion of the HSE’s investigation.”
Crane eight had undergone a 4 m boom extension from contractor Seward Wyon during 2006, enabling it to handle bigger vessels, while crane six had not. Both units are known to be of 1993 year of build,
Sources in Southampton claim that three of the terminal’s cranes underwent “recommended precautionary works” on HSE orders in the wake of last year’s collapse. But it is unclear whether the crane that fell down on Monday is one of them, and a DP World spokeswoman was unable to offer immediate clarification of the point.
I'm sure everyone at Felixstowe wishes Mr Squibb a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Latest incident at DP World deepens Unite's concerns about safety at Southampton docks

A Unite member and crane operator has been left seriously ill in hospital after an incident operating a crane while servicing a container ship.
The incident took place this morning (Monday) at DP World's Southampton container terminal.
Matt Tipper, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “This is the second serious incident in 2009 involving crane operations in DP World and we are obviously concerned over the health and safety implications for the workers there.
"This is of paramount importance to us and we will fully assist in the HSE investigation also providing full support to our member and his family at this very worrying time for them in everyway we can.”

Monday, 13 July 2009

Crane collapses on boxship at Southampton

A CRANE collapsed onto a containership at Southampton Container Terminal this morning, in an apparent repeat of a similar incident in 2008.
One man, thought to be the operator, has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, all shipside operations have been suspended until further notice.
A workplace source said that the crane at fault this time was manufactured by Morris, making it the same brand as the one that fell down last year, but not physically the same unit. It had been inspected by the Health and Safety Executive following the earlier accident, he added.
Fire crews were called to Dock Gate 20 in Western Avenue, at around 0520 today, to attend to the collapse. According to witnesses, the crane operator was trapped in his cab for two hours before he could be freed, and on release his legs were found to be badly crushed. Meanwhile, a coastguard helicopter from Lee on Solent was scrambled to search for any missing people from the crew or dock personnel.
The crane, a twin boom rig with the cab suspended on rails, collapsed on to the 2008-built, 6,661 teu NYK Themis as the vessel was being loaded, according to a spokesman for Solent Coastguard. The HSE has been notified, and officials are due visit the site later.
Operations at SCT were severely disrupted in January 2008, when high winds caused a recently-refitted quay gantry crane to fall onto the boxship Kyoto Express. Crane eight had undergone a 4m boom extension from contractor Seward Wyon during 2006, enabling it to handle bigger vessels.
No-one was injured in that incident, but shipside operations had to be suspended as a safety precaution. All 11 ship-to-shore cranes at SCT were taken out of service and checked one by one by HSE inspectors before re-entering service.
The knock-on effects included temporary closure of the Honda car factory in Swindon, after its just-in-time delivery system was delayed.
A worker at SCT told Lloyd’s List that he was disappointed that an accident could reoccur so quickly after what happened just 18 months ago: “They [the cranes] were all checked, all signed off, assurances given to everybody that they had sorted it all out. The HSE are as guilty as anybody.” The crane at the centre of today’s accident had not been extended, and weather is not thought to have been a factor, he added. SCT managing director Campbell Mason said in a statement: “It is too early to determine the cause of the incident. We will of course be working co-operatively with the Health and Safety Executive and an independent investigation will be undertaken.”
Nobody at SCT was immediately available to provide additional details or to confirm workforce claims.
SCT is operated by Dubai-based DP World as a joint venture with Associated British Ports.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Nothing ‘casual’ about this march at Port of Yarmouth

Over 100 dockworkers from across the country held a march and rally yesterday (9th July) in support of the dockers at Great Yarmouth who face redundancy.
Dockers from Hull, Grimsby, Immingham, Dover, Tilbury, Thames port, Felixstowe and Southampton joined the dockers from Great Yarmouth to fight the use of casual labour at the port.
Brendan Gold, Unite national secretary for docks and waterways, said: “This rally demonstrates that dock workers from across the UK will stand together to fight employers who plan to make dockers redundant and replace them with casual labour.
“UK port employers have been put on notice that Unite will not allow employers to use the current economic downturn as an excuse to cut jobs and change working practices.”
Mike Gibbons, Unite executive member, added: “We are increasingly seeing more employers taking on casual labour. This practice was supposed to have been abolished when the Labour dock scheme was introduced 20 years ago. There can be no return to casualisation.
“Dock workers will campaign across Europe and internationally to stop the hideous practice of casualisation.”

Casualisation is the cancer of the docker

A MAJOR protest was staged in Great Yarmouth today by dock workers over the axing of 11 jobs.
Placard and flag waving protesters demonstrated outside the offices of EastPort UK on South Quay.
Port workers from Felixstowe, Thamesport, Dover, the Humber, Southampton, Grimsby and Hull along with leading officials from the union Unite stood alongside Yarmouth dockers over job loses branded as “criminal”.
It comes after 11 workers were made redundant from EastPort Cargo Handling.
The cuts and subsequent offer of casual work has sent shockwaves through the port of Yarmouth with the town's new £50m outer harbour just months away from launching its commercial operations.
The project, which received about £20m form the public purse, had been tipped to create hundreds of jobs.
When the 11 dockers facing unemployment joined the demonstration they were met with infectious applause and cheers from their families and former dock workers. Passing cars and lorries sounded their horns in support.
Docker Steven Drew said he was overwhelmed by the turnout and while standing on a bench towering above his colleagues, made an impassioned plea to his employers to re-think the job cuts.
“Casualisation is the cancer of the docker and we want none of it,” he said.
United: Port workers from across the country join their colleagues in Yarmouth for the protest. Before stepping down to a rapturous applause Mr Drew held a copy of a casual contract, which EastPort has offered the 11 redundant workers, and ripped it.
Brendan Gold, the union's national secretary, said the solidarity between port workers from across the country showed they would stand against casualisation of dock workers. In a passionate speech to the crowd said: “Casualisation is a disgrace. There is public money in that new outer harbour development, now they are kicking us out.”
The demonstration follows months of failed negotiations over new working contracts, requiring workers to be on call 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
Victor Brazkiewicz, Unite regional industrial organiser, branded the job cuts and casualisation of dock workers as “criminal”.
He said: “We have done our utmost to retain permanent workers in this port to no avail so far, but we are not going to give up. We all hoped the new outer harbour, which for many decades people, including our own dock workers, campaigned for, would bring permanent jobs. But what you see happening is the loss of jobs - the total reverse of what we expected. It is criminal what has happened.”
He added: “The remarkable show of support today is an indication that we will not give up.”
No one from EastPort was available for comment.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


I spent the afternoon supporting our fellow dock workers in Great Yarmouth along with over 100 other people from our industry. Dockers travelled from Goole, Hull, Thamesport, Southampton, Tilbury, Immingham,Grimsby, Ipswich and Felixstowe( I hope I haven't missed any ports out.)
We heard a very passionate speech from Steve one of the workers loosing his job.
After the protest I had chance to have a look at a copy of the new contract that the workers were offered. No wonder they ripped it up.The working day can start anytime within a 24 hours period anytime within 7 days. Job descriptions that are so ambiguous that they weren't worth putting on paper. I know where I'm better off and I won't be applying for a job at Great Yarmouth docks.
We need to stand together and not let things like this happen.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

This is no ‘casual’ matter, keep the committed workforce at Port of Yarmouth, says Unite

WHEN: 4:30pm, Thursday, 9th July 2009WHERE: South Quay, Port offices
Unite members and workers from the Port of Yarmouth will be joined by dock workers from across the country to protest about the dismissal of the Yarmouth dockers and the casualisation of the dock.
Unite members from Felixstowe, Thamesport, Dover, the Humber and Southampton will be gathering outside the South Quay port offices in Great Yarmouth. They will be addressed by the union’s national secretary, Brendan Gold.
Ahead of the protest, Victor Brazkiewicz, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “We are delighted with the support we are receiving from colleagues in other ports as well as the support received from the local Yarmouth community.
“At Yarmouth the workforce is committed to continuing the campaign for permanent jobs and they have the total support of the union in their endeavours.”
This protest is another step in Unite’s campaign against casualisation at the port.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009



The Yarmouth port employers have made redundant the remaining Yarmouth dockers and have stated that they will bring in casual labour to do dock work. Unite the Union opposes these dismissals and the casualisation of work.


~~~ oOo ~~~

Unite the Union, 60 Grimwade Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1LP. Phone 01473 250321