Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Next branch meeting.

Tuesday, 20th October 2009
at; Felixstowe Trades and Labour Club
High Road,
It's not often that I actually write anything on this blog, normally I try to bring you news that relates to our industry.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience a little bit of what life is like for a stevedore. I wasn't surprised to find out that you could count on one hand the ammount of our managers that have actually got their hands dirty and tried it. I'm sure that if they were to get out of the executive mini bus that they travel round the quay in with visiting managers from other ports and businesses and had a look at the conditions these guys have to work in they'd have a very different opinion on manning levels in that department.
Come on Mr Gledhill, I've got a spare pair of overalls in my locker you wouldn't even have to go to the expense of signing off another pair.
I'd just like to add that the company seems to think that these guys have a lot of downtime, if I was doing that job I'd need to have a bit of a rest too.
Now show me to me tug, it looks so much more comfortable already!

Portsmouth figures stable

The port of Portsmouth has said it “defied the recession” over the summer after reporting a 1% decline in freight traffic.
The south coast port said its performance was in “contrast to some other ports around the country that have seen sharp falls in volumes as the effects of the recession have been felt”.
Between April and the end of August the port handled 106,000 freight units.
Port manager Martin Putman said: “When times are tough you have to innovate, and look to those opportunities that bring growth.
“We have focused on bringing more cruise business to the port, welcoming the new Santander service from Brittany Ferries, and looking after our freight customers.
“Freight traffic is harder to predict but we continue to see the benefits of our excellent road and rail connections in Portsmouth, and variety of destination ports in France and Spain.”

Friday, 25 September 2009

UK ports see slight drop in 2008 traffic

Sorry I wasn't home in time to catch all this story, if anybody would like to pay for me to access Lloyds list I could check the news anytime!! Mr Gledhill? Unite?

UK ports handled 562m tonnes of freight traffic in 2008, a 3% fall on 2007, while the UK registered trading fleet increased by 29 to 675 ships during 2008. Overall deadweight tonnage totalled 15m tonnes, a rise of 15% on the previous year. The data, published by the Department for Transport, give some sense of the cargo volume declines in the lat...;jsessionid=996E3FAF59C18A6CC0D2054E42BE7789.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

Maritime statistics 2008
The report contains figures giving detailed information on ports traffic and also includes statistics on the UK and world fleet. The complete PDF is available from this page as well as Excel versions of the tables. The Excel files also include longer time series where these are available, details of unitised traffic by Port, and additional facilities for users to sort the port level data (Table 3.8) to their own requirements.

Port freight traffic in 2008

UK ports handled 562 million tonnes (Mt) of freight traffic in 2008, 19 million tonnes (3 per cent) less than in 2007, and 6 million tonnes (1 per cent) less than in 1998.

Compared with 2007, inward traffic fell by 11 Mt (3 per cent) to 346 Mt and outward traffic fell by 8 Mt (4 per cent) to 216 Mt. Over the ten years since 1998 inward traffic has increased by 13 per cent and outward traffic has decreased by 18 per cent.

Liquid bulk traffic accounted for 43 per cent of the total, dry bulks 23.5 per cent, container and roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) traffic 29 per cent and other cargo 4.5 per cent.

Liquid bulk traffic was 4 per cent lower than in 2007, and 16 per cent down on 1998. Dry bulk traffic was marginally lower than in 2007, but 12 per cent up on 1998. Container and ro-ro traffic was 3 per cent down on 2007, and 23 per cent up on 1998.

The leading ports by tonnage in 2008 were:

Grimsby & Immingham 65.3 Mt
London 53.0 Mt
Tees and Hartlepool 45.4 Mt
Southampton 41.0 Mt
Forth 39.1 Mt

(Dover, the leading ro-ro port, handled 2.3 million road goods vehicles and unaccompanied trailer units (3 per cent lower than in 2007). Felixstowe, the leading container port, handled 1.9 million containers (3.1 million TEU), a 6 per cent decrease on 2007.

Port traffic statistics are derived from quarterly returns by shipping lines and agents of traffic handled at UK major ports. Port authorities and other port undertakings also supply summary information on tonnage and units. Merchant fleet statistics are supplied by Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay, giving details of vessels of 100 gt and over, and are outside the scope of National Statistics.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fancy a degree in dock working?

PD Ports launches university degree

PD Ports and Teesside University have launched a new degree course specifically suited for those working within the ports sector.
Starting in late October, the Foundation Degree in Leadership and Management (Ports) will be offered over two years on a part-time basis.
PD said it has had significant input into the content of the programme ensuring its relevance to the ports industry.
Ports Skills Safety, the port sector training organisation is viewing this as a pilot and will then look to offer this programme to other ports within the UK.;jsessionid=9DA883091769FE38E95D3E21CE4EC3DF.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Monday, 21 September 2009

What were we worth in 2008 to the company?


Company details
Company number: 02590042
Type of company: Private Limited Company
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Incorporation date: 08/03/1991
Status: Active
Previous names:

Accounts reference date: 31/12
Last registered accounts: 31/12/2008*
Accounts next due: 30/09/2010
Accounts overdue: no
Accounts category: GROUP
Accounts document available: yes
Annual turnover: £232,709,000.00
Annual profit: £52,154,000.00
Turnover per employee: £84,040.81
Profit per employee: £18,834.96

* Data from this site is updated annually from official company reports, and any company reports issued since our last update will not be reflected until the next annual update. Take advice on the latest results before using this information.


Number of staff: 2,769
Total spent on wages: £95,568,000.00
Average staff pay: £34,513.54
*Average pay increase over last 5 years: 23.71%*
Number of directors: 40
Directors' remuneration: £355,000.00
Increase over last 7 years: 62.1%

Striking dockers speech in Dublin. Please read.

Speech made by Mr. James Loughman to +3,000 marchers on 19th Sept.

I am one of the Dockers currently on strike at Marine Terminals LTD in Dublin Port.
We have been on strike now for 11 weeks, and there is still no resolution in sight.
We have generally had good relations with our employer, but this changed once the UK Company Peel Ports took over MTL
. They have forced compulsory redundancies on us, and have refused to negotiate with our union.They showed us new contracts and told us we had to sign them or leave. These contracts changed our wages, and our conditions. They even wanted us to agree to go work in British and Scottish Ports if they told us to. Because they wouldn’t negotiate and wanted to bully us we ended up going on strike.
I’m not going to lie and say it has been easy, it hasn’t. It is difficult and it gets more difficult every week.
Since the strike began myself and other workers have had to struggle financially, we have had to worry about our uncertain futures and some of us have been brought to court by the company and have had high court injunctions served on us.
I was never in trouble in my life; I never even saw the inside of a courthouse, much less the high court.
I was content to be doing my weeks work, paying my taxes and getting on with things. But that choice was taken away from me, and the other workers.
We didn’t create this situation we are in. This was forced upon us, we had no choice in this, and while we are suffering nobody is rushing to bail us out.
At the same time, the banks and property developers who are being bailed out are responsible for their own mess and have dragged us all down with them. They have damaged the economy, and the Government is using our tax money to help them and are leaving us to pick up the pieces.
We are going to see cuts in services, essential services such as education and health because the money that should be used to fund these is going to help cover up their mistakes and their greed.
The people who will benefit from this bail out and from NAMA are the same kind of people who have attacked us as workers and have forced us onto strike. MTL is now owned by the Peel Ports. They are part of the massive Peel Group that owns Mersey Port & Docks, Clyde port in Scotland, The Manchester Ship Canal, Liverpool's John Lennon Airport, and airports in Durham, Sheffield and Manchester.
Their main business is property development and land speculation all over Europe. They are the exact same kind of people that have helped destroy this country, the developers and speculators that NAMA is trying to save.
The boss of Peel lives in the Isle of Man tax shelter, and has a personal fortune of £1.3 billion. That’s billions, not millions.
Yet he still wants more, will attack Dublin workers to get it, and like his Irish counterparts would love NAMA to throw a few dollars more his way.
Speaking of a few dollars more - Deutsche Bank owns a 49% stake in Peel Ports. They paid £800 million sterling for this a few years ago. Deutsche Bank has this year received billions of dollars in bailout money. Again, I stress I’m talking about billions, not millions.
So while they have the begging bowl out and getting it nicely filled for them we workers are expected to shoulder all the pain.
Neither Deutsche Bank nor the Peel group are in any financial difficulties. By treating us Dockers the way they are, their fortunes, worth Billions will not change in any significant way. It is not even small change in their world of millions, hundreds of millions and billions. For us, it is our livelihoods, our bread and butter.
The attack on dock workers is driven by greed, and an anti union, anti working class mentality. It is the same greed that has caused the financial crisis and the same anti working class agenda that thinks its ok for us to suffer to clean up their mess.
Well I Just want to say, on behalf of the Dublin Dock workers, it is not ok, it is not good enough. Workers in Coca Cola, in Green Isle, in Mr.Binman are fighting back.
What is happening to us will soon happen to thousands of working class people all over this country, unless we say enough is enough. We see how the rich pull together and unite with their greedy plans. We have seen the bankers; the property speculators and the politicians wreck this country.
Now it’s time for us to unite, for workers and communities to pull together, to say no more , no to bailouts for the rich, no to NAMA and never to forget : get the scabs out, and the Dockers in!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

UK ports' volumes 11% down in first half of the year

The UK’s imports and exports by sea fell year-on-year by 11% in the first half of the year, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (DfT).
In total, the UK’s ports handled 246m tonnes of cargo over the first half, down from 276m tonnes a year earlier.
Imports were down 12% year-on-year, while exports were down 8.4%.
DfT figures also showed declines worsened as the year progressed, with tonnage 13% down in the second quarter, compared to a 9% decline in the first quarter.
The grouped ports of Grimsby and Immingham were the busiest over the first half, handling 27m tonnes, 20% down on a year earlier, with the London ports second busiest with 23m tonnes, 18% down year-on-year.
Of the UK’s five busiest ports, Tees and Hartlepool suffered the worst volume decline in the first half, with traffic dropping 23% to 18.6m tonnes.

MTL Dublin update.

On Tuesday, 15th September, The High Court granted another injunction, this time restraining SIPTU and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions from distributing flyers about or publishing the personal details of people who have continued to work during the strike at MTL.
However, Mr Justice Kevin Feeney ruled that workers were entitled to use strong language including the word 'scab' during protests outside the company's gates.
Below is the full text of a statement issued by The Dublin Port Workers Support Group , following the High Court ruling,...
“Today’s court action centred on the tactic of “naming and shaming” of scabs engaged in strike breaking at Marine Terminals LTD, in Dublin Port.”
The Oxford English dictionary defines the word scab as follows:
A person who refuses to strike or who takes the place of a striking worker.
And also as:
A person or thing regarded with contempt.
We say, if the shoe fits wear it. By either definition, those behind the gates at MTL are scabs. They are engaging in strikebreaking, and make no mistake about it, they are regarded with contempt. In doing what they are doing they are undermining these decent workers who were forced into this strike by a ruthless, anti worker, anti union company. They are siding with an employer who is prepared to throw workers on the scrapheap with no consideration or respect. If MTL succeeds with its bully boy approach there are other employers waiting to repeat their tactics, and many more workers will suffer. These scabs are the enemy of every working man and woman in this country.
Regarding the naming of these shameful creatures. The Judge stated that he wished to balance the right of free speech against the right of the scabs to go work for MTL. He has his job to do, and we have ours. For many supporters, particularly in the local Dockland communities it is incomprehensible that we cannot name those that are stealing jobs off these workers, that we cannot name those that are undermining this legitimate strike, and that we cannot name those that are denying future generations the right to work on the Docks, with a guarantee of decent wages and conditions.
We have no doubt that supporters will consider the judges words. Like him, we will seek to find a balance, but any balance must include our right to free speech, our right to engage in effective protest action and our right not to be bullied by business men with fat cheque books. Just because this company has money on its side does not mean it can simply buy the English language, and remove the words it does not like us to use. We will continue to campaign in an effective manner, using the most appropriate tactics available to us. Read into this what you will.
There were also claims by MTL scabs of intimidation. If these individuals are prepared to act as scabs against other workers they will not hesitate to lie. Let us point out some intimidation that is real, and that MTL are responsible for. They have employed a so called security company called Control Risks, operated from the UK. This company was set up by ex-SAS members, and recruits from the military. It is known for its activities in Iraq and other international trouble zones. We do not believe that this company is licensed to operate in Ireland, yet its personnel have been present in the High Court, at a sitting of the LRC and within the MTL premises in Dublin Port. Can anybody give a good reason for the presence of such a group, other than to intimidate strikers and those that stand in solidarity with them?
This strike has been going on for two and a half months, and Control Risks were actually brought on site before it began. It is time that steps were taken to address their presence, and the intimidation that is their purpose. We believe that the Minister for Justice should launch an investigation into this sinister development in industrial relation issues in Ireland. We also believe that the minister for Defence should give the issue some consideration, as it appears that they are basically a private army, under the command of a UK based company.

Rate rises everywhere and always a quay full of vessels!

I thought I'd post these links seen as we're not far away from the annual pay talks and the company will be telling us how hard their customers are pushing them on the fees charged.

Hapag announces rate rises
Damian BrettGerman shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has announced rate increases on two trades and a new dangerous goods premium.

MSC plans Asia-Europe rate increase
Damian BrettShipping line MSC has announced plans to up Asia-Europe rates from 1 October.

Coscon hikes Europe-Australia rates
Damian BrettCoscon has unveiled plans to increase rates on services between Australia and Europe.

Maersk Line increases rates to west Africa
By Damian BrettMaersk Line has announced rate increases on its eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea services to west Africa from 1 October.

Evergreen to increase transatlantic rates
By Damian BrettEvergreen Line has unveiled rate increases on its services from northern Europe to the east coast of South America.

CMA CGM unveils further rate increases
By Damian BrettFrench shipping line CMA CGM has announced rate increases on the north Europe to Asia and the Middle East and Red Sea trades.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Great Yarmouth, Dublin where next?

MTL management, while attending the Labour Relations Commission, continueforced redundancies & legal proceedings against strikers & their union officials.
While negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission between the company, Marine Terminals Ltd and SIPTU are ongoing, the Company have, again, decided to continue with its plans to annihilate the workforce. On Thursday 10th September MTL went through with its 3rd group of forced redundancies, surprise, surprise.
(Group 1=13 workers terminated)
(Group 2= 9 workers terminated)
(Group 3= 8 workers terminated)
There are now only 6 workers on strike who have not had their employment terminated by the Peel Ports group, not including the scabs who continue on one hand to make light of what they have done and on the other lie, blatantly, to the Irish courts about non-existent harassment and intimidation by the strikers.
A scab is not above lying!
How much longer can we stand by and witness the destruction of Irish jobs and law abiding men & women being brought before the courts by a company worth billions?
Individuals & their families are suffering at the hands of heartless management and corporate greed.
MTL claims that they are losing €2million this year, this is misleading as the truth in fact is that MTL’s PROFITS are down €2million this year – they still stand to make many millions of euro in profit this year.
Their attendance at the Irish Labour Relations Commission is a now a bare-faced PR stunt.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Monday, 7 September 2009


Dear friends,
Everyone's looking for something to do about climate change. What’s needed is something straightforward, immediate and meaningful. I think I've found it.
Today I joined thousands of individuals and organisations from across the country to unite behind one simple idea: that by working together we can achieve a 10% cut in carbon emissions during 2010. It’s called 10:10, and everyone can be a part of it.
Cutting 10% in one year is a bold target, but for most of us it’s an achievable one, and is in line with what scientists say we need right now. By signing up to 10:10 we’re not just promising to reduce our own emissions – we’re becoming part of a national drive to hit this ambitious goal country-wide. In our homes, in our workplaces, our schools and our hospitals, our galleries and football clubs and universities, we’ll be backing each other up as we take the first steps on the road to becoming a low-carbon society.
To find out more and sign up go to www.1010uk.orgTo read coverage of the campaign from the Guardian go to
Andy Hussey

Support For Striking Dublin Port Workers Grows

The strike at Marine Terminals Ltd in Dublin Port is now in its 9th week.
The support for the striking workers has been tremendous, both locally and internationally.
The numbers on the protest marches continue to increase.The entire Trade Union movement in Ireland now backs the official strike action.
Messages of support have come from all over the world and European Docker's are soon to strike in solidarity.
MTL freight traffic has dropped by over 30%, having relocated to other companies within Dublin Port.
MTL are feeling the pressure and have finally agreed to engage with the Labour Relations Commission.
Time will tell if this is a sincere attempt at real negotiation or another PR stunt.
The Dublin Port Company have consistently refused to intervene in this dispute with a view to taking MTL & Peel Ports to task and answer for their deplorable behaviour in its treatment of its employees.
However, Dublin Port Company were quick to act when they applied for and were granted a High Court Injunction against 2 respected local pensioners who took part in a "floating picket" on the river Liffey.
Meanwhile, Marine Terminals have been granted another High Court Injunction, this more bizarre as it is designed to prevent strikers from referring to scabs as scabs. It seems you can ask the courts for anything when you are a billionaire.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Injunction granted against union's 'scabs' posters

AN injunction has been issued by the High Court against senior members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and SIPTU after posters were plastered all over Athy on Thursday alleging that local man Brian Dooley was attempting to break a strike in Dublin Port.
Mr. Dooley, a candidate for Fianna Fail in the recent local elections, works as an Operations Manager for a company in the port called Marine Terminals.
Last Thursday, August 27, a group of people put up a significant number of posters in Athy featuring a picture of Mr. Dooley, and a headline that read "WANTED For Crimes Against Irish Workers".
There has been ongoing industrial strife at the company since the early summer.
The poster went on to claim: "Your "failed" elected representative is actively involved in strike-breaking at marine terminals in Dublin port."
Brian Dooley replaces Dublin Dock workers with scabs from Kildare, Belfast, the UK and Clydeport in Scotland.
"Brian's brothers Cathal Dooley and John Dooley and James O'Connor, Chris Hutchinson and Simon Doody, make up the Kildare strike-breaking team at Marine Terminals."
Employed on lower wages and weaker terms and conditions these scabs contribute nothing to our country while Dublin Dock workers face being sacked by Brian Dooley," the poster's text concluded.
The vast majority of posters came down as quickly as they went up.
"Business people in the town came out and removed them," Mr. Dooley told the Leinster Leader.
"They rang me about it at the time," he said, adding that the news came as a shock to him.
"And for that I have to say thank you to the people of the town."
He said he couldn't comment any further while the matter was before the courts.
On Monday, August 31, the High Court granted an interim injunction to Mr. Dooley's employers Marine Terminal against SIPTU, ICTU and a number of officials and workers from seeking to harass staff who are continuing to work.
Marcus Dowling, counsel for Marine Terminals, told the court that the flier was a clear attempt to intimidate those named in it to stop working during the strike.Noting that the injunction was granted an ex-parte (one side only) basis, a spokesperson for SIPTU told the Leinster Leader that the union would be legally represented when the case returned to the High Court tomorrow, Thursday, September 3.
"The matter is with our legal team," the spokesperson Frank Connolly explained, saying that this prevented him from commenting further or confirming or denying whether SIPTU or any of its members were involved in the posters in Athy.

Progress in talks to end Dublin port strikes

Striking workers at Ireland’s busiest container terminal have agreed to a second round of talks with their employers.
The Marine Terminals workers held talks with their employers on Monday and agreed to further talks today (3 September) at the earliest, and by Monday (7 September) at the latest.
Christy McQuillan, a representative from the Irish union SIPTU, said: “A very small amount of progress was made on Monday (31 August) in talks at the Labour Relations Commission with Marine Terminals.
“The progress was limited, but sufficient to warrant resumption of talks, possibly as early as Thursday and no later than Monday.
“Meanwhile, both parties need to reflect on the discussions at the LRC and respond in detail to the particular issues that emerged.”
MTL’s workers have been on strike since 3 July because of disagreements over redundancies and new pay and working conditions.
Previous talks were held with the Labour Relations Commission on 4 August, but failed to yield any results.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

TUC warns employers to give best pay deals they can or economy will suffer

Commenting on an IDS survey released today (Thursday) which reveals that median pay settlements dropped to one per cent during May to July 2009, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'The main period for pay negotiations is now past and this analysis is based on a relatively small sample of pay deals settled relatively late in the year - during the year to date the median pay settlement is 2.3 per cent and earnings are continuing to grow.
'While unions have negotiated pay freezes and short-time working in companies badly hit by the recession, many employers can afford settlements that provide real growth in wages.
'If the trend in this survey continues, it will have serious knock-on effects for the economy if consumers have less money in their pockets.'

Ports group profits down

PD Ports’ profits fell by more than 45% in the year to the end of June, as both containerised and bulk volumes were hit by the recession.
Container volumes dropped year-on-year by almost a third, from 770,000teu to 520,000teu, while lo-lo volumes declined 26% and ro-ro traffic 14%.
Non-containerised traffic dropped 11% because of the “uncertainty” surrounding Corus’ steel production site at its Teesport facility, which is facing closure.
PD Ports said the recession-related volume decreases caused its ebitda to drop from £59.5m (US$96.6m) to £32.6m while revenues fell to £121.6m from £133.6m.
Looking to the next 12 months, PD Ports was confident its volumes would increase, as retailer Tesco had opened an import facility at the port.
PD Ports’ owner, Babcock and Brown Infrastructure, confirmed it was pushing ahead with the sale of PD Ports, as previously reported in IFW.

SIPTU welcomes small measure of progress in talks on Marine Terminals dispute at LRC

“A very small amount of progress was made today in talks at the Labour Relations Commission with Marine Terminals”, SIPTU Regional Secretary Christy McQuillan said today after over seven hours of talks. The LRC invited both sides to talks in an effort to end the nine week long strike, sparked by the company’s attempt to implement mass redundancies and drastic cuts in pay and conditions unilaterally.
“The progress was limited but sufficient to warrant resumption of talks, possibly as early as Thursday and no later than Monday”, Mr McQuillan said. “Meanwhile both parties need to reflect on the discussions at the LRC and respond in detail to the particular issues that emerged.”
Responding the Marine Terminals statement about alleged intimidation, Mr. McQuillan said, “SIPTU does not condone intimidation by anyone. I understand from the media that the company has initiated legal proceedings against a number of trade unionists, including members of SIPTU and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. As we have not yet received any particulars we are not in a position to respond, but we will certainly do so in due course.”,11042,en.html

Strike Breakers

Marine Terminals has been granted an interim injunction against Siptu, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and a number of officials and workers from referring to the Strike Breakers as scabs.On Monday 31st the High Court was told that last week a group of protesters had travelled to Athy in Co Kildare, where they put up posters identifying a Strike-Breaker who lives in the town.Yesterday, the company sought the orders over actions by the union and the strikers who are allegedly intimidating the Strike-Breakers by calling them scabs.Mr Justice Kevin Feeney granted Marine Terminals an interim injunction against Siptu, Ictu and 10 named individuals.Those individuals include Ictu assistant general secretary Peter Bunting, Siptu officials Oliver McDonagh and Christy McQuillan, and the union’s general secretary Joe O’Flynn.Ken Fleming, an agent of the International Transport Workers Federation, and five current and former employees of the company are also named.Under the terms of the order, the defendants and their agents cannot intimidate any persons employed by the company who have continued to work during the strike.The judge, who granted the injunction on an ex parte (one side only) basis, made the matter returnable to Thursday next.He also gave the company permission to bring proceedings aimed at restraining the defendants from referring to any person at the firm who continued to work as being a “scab”, or from interfering with their right to work.The company is also seeking orders prohibiting the defendants from distributing fliers or publishing personal details of, and from continuing a campaign of naming and shaming, those employees who continue to work.The flyer distributed in Athy contained the words “Wanted for Crimes Against Irish Workers”, and the name of the Strike-Breaker.In an affidavit to the court, Marine Terminals general manager John Rafferty said the defendants had engaged in a campaign of “naming and shaming”.Should the courts protect the identity of these people by restraining the striking men & women’s freedom of speech? Please feel free to have your say by leaving a comment.