Wednesday, 12 August 2009
.Dockers' unions target BG Freight Line vessels
DOCKERS’ unions are threatening to blacklist vessels operated by Peel Ports Group subsidiary BG Freight Line and request to colleagues in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg to refuse to work its ships in solidarity with a dispute at Peel-owned Marine Terminals in Dublin.
Other tactics under consideration include protests outside the company’s ports on mainland Britain, which include Liverpool and Sheerness, although employment legislation in the UK is likely to rule out official industrial action.
The move follows a joint meeting of the International Transport Workers Federation, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union and Unite in Belfast this morning.
The Marine Terminals dispute centres on redundancy pay-offs, with SIPTU accusing the company of replacing the workforce with lower paid, non-unionised employees from Scotland, Northern Ireland and other parts of Ireland.
Union sources said that because the company had ordered cross-border strikebreaking, something that the ITF considers absolutely inadmissible, issues of principle were at stake and that a hard line will be taken.
Brendan Gold, head of Unite’s docks and waterways division, said: “The dispute at the Peel Ports-owned Marine Terminals facility in Dublin has provided a wake up calls for all of us. We are now undertaking an urgent information exercise across Ireland and Britain to support our colleagues in Dublin in every way possible.”
SIPTU port organiser Oliver McDonagh said: “We very much welcome the support we have received today and look forward to co-ordinating our dispute with our colleagues in other ports. We have no choice but to escalate this dispute because of the intransigence of the company and the ruthless way in which it has tried to deunionise Marine Terminals.”
BG Freight managing director Ron Schippers said that he had not yet been informed of the move. A spokesman for Peel Ports Group as a whole was not immediately available for comment.