Friday, 30 October 2009

Hapag-Lloyd staff to take pay cut

HAPAG-LLOYD has announced internally an across the board pay cut of at least 5% for all staff worldwide including seafarers, with senior employees facing a 20% reduction in salary, the company has confirmed.
While most top shipping operators keep their remuneration policies under wraps, sources familiar with the maritime labour market are not aware of any other big name operator that has adopted a similar policy.
However, Hapag-Lloyd indicated today that its hand has effectively been forced, as taking an axe to payroll and other costs is a condition of the €1.2bn ($1.8bn) in loan guarantees it is getting from the German government.;jsessionid=20DA2B21E6D164E08CD854DC554A916C.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

Friday, 23 October 2009

Maerks saves $500m in bunker costs

AP MOLLER-Maersk has saved a total of $500m in bunker costs so far this year through slow steaming and other efficiency measures.
The box giant, which is aiming for a 35% total reduction in terms of emissions per containership by 2017, says it has already achieved a 15% reduction through reduced fuel consumption.
The percentage reductions have been calculated relative to the amount of business conducted so the dollar equivalent cost savings are unlikely to be quite so dramatic once trade picks up. However, according to Maersk director of sustainability Soren Stig Nielsen, a further 20% reduction in emissions is entirely achievable.
“I think as trade picks up there are going to be more ships in operation so that is going to have a bearing on the savings, but we are very keen on pursuing these targets — particularly if bunker costs are only going to rise. We will do whatever we can to drive costs down,” he told Lloyd’s List.;jsessionid=EACE1570E1074AFA71A204ECEA218E5D.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Dublin terminal dispute resolved

As I reported via the MTL Dockers site, Heres Lloyds report on it.

THE 15-week dockers’ dispute at Marine Terminals in Dublin has ended following the company’s decision to accept a Labour Court recommendation on jobs and redundancies.
Workers at the Peel Ports subsidiary, which is the largest container terminal in Ireland, will now get a pay-off package of six weeks wages per year of service, including statutory entitlements.
Issues surrounding the terms and conditions of those who remain with the company are still to be determined.
The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union, which represents the employees, has welcomed the move.;jsessionid=B2E056392798C72EF26D327BA1E1985C.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

On my facebook page I've had a lot of questions about why we don't have an online ballot and what is the definition of industrial action?

The Law on Industrial Action


The law relating to industrial action is to be found in:

· Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
· Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993;
· Employment Relations Act 1999.

There is also an advisory code of practice on picketing.

The law covers:

· the definition of industrial action;
· strikes;
· ballots on industrial action.

Industrial Action Defined

In legal terms, 'industrial action' means:

· strikes;
· lockouts;
· overtime bans (including voluntary bans);
· go slows;
· working to rule;
· refusing to cross a picket line;
· refusing to work with non-members.

Strikes and the Law

British employment law has no tradition of a positive right to strike, and industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. The tradition, instead, is that of 'immunities'; that is, immunity from legal action so long as certain conditions are met. Since 1979, these conditions have become more rigid and complex.

The law gives trade unions immunity for actions "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". A 'trade dispute' is a dispute between workers and an employer in the UK, which is "wholly or mainly" about:

· terms and conditions of employment;
· recruitment, suspension or dismissal;
· work allocation;
· discipline;
· facilities for union officials;
· the negotiating machinery.

There is no immunity for disputes which:

· are 'political';
· have not yet started;
· are over union membership;
· are protests over dismissal following unofficial action;
· constitute 'secondary action'.

To be lawful, therefore, industrial action must be a trade dispute. It must also be 'official', and it must comply with the requirements relating to ballots (see below).

Official and Unofficial Industrial Action

To maintain immunity, industrial action must be 'official'. This means that:

· the employee(s) taking action must belong to a trade union, and;
· the union (usually the executive committee) must authorise or endorse the action.

Action which does not meet these requirements is unofficial and, therefore, unlawful. Workers can be lawfully dismissed for taking part in unofficial action.

Unions are legally responsible for all industrial action, unless they have 'repudiated' it.

If there is unofficial action and the union wishes to make it official, the action must be repudiated before a ballot is held.
Industrial Action Ballots

In any case where industrial action may be necessary, a ballot must be held. In addition, the ballot must comply with a series of requirements.

First, the employer must be given notice of:

· the intention to hold a ballot;
· the date of the ballot;
· basic details of those to be balloted (i.e. the workplace or job title – not the names);
· a sample copy of the ballot paper.

Following the ballot, the employer must be given:

· notice of the outcome of the ballot;
· seven days’ notice of any action, along with details of those involved (but not their names), and when the action will start.

All industrial action ballots must be secret, postal ballots. Only those workers who are involved in the dispute may be balloted. They must be given at least seven days to return the ballot paper, and this must be numbered and must comply with the prescribed wording, which includes a statutory warning to the effect that industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. An independent scrutineer must oversee the ballot.

To proceed to industrial action following a ballot, there must be a simple majority in favour of action. The union must inform the members and the employer of the result, and give notice of the commencement of any action (see above).

The result of an industrial action ballot only lasts for four weeks; that is, any action must start within four weeks to be lawful. However, if the employer and the union agree to this, the result may be suspended to enable negotiations to re-start.


If workers are acting "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute", it is lawful for them to picket "at or near" their own place of work. However, this right is qualified by a number of requirements.
Picketing must only be for the purpose of:

· peacefully getting or communicating information, and/or
· peacefully persuading others not to work.

There is no immunity for pickets who trespass, or who commit criminal offences such as obstruction, or breach of the peace.

There is no legal limit on the number of pickets. However, the Department of Trade and Industry Code of Practice on Picketing, which has advisory status only, suggests a maximum of six.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Victory for the Dublin dockers, strike over after 111 Days. Well done.

Marine Terminals management have accepted the Labour Courts Recommendation and have entered into negotiation with the Labour Relations Commission and SIPTU.
This Strike is now at an end!
Thanks from every striking Dublin Dockworker to each and every one of our supporters, your solidarity will never be forgotten.
After 111 days the strike has ended. Late Yesterday evening MTL accepted the Labour Court recommendation although as per the recommendation there are still matters to be resolved , in negotiation or through binding arbitration.This represents a major victory for the workers, who's dedication and commitment during this long and difficult dispute was inspiring, and they have set a powerful example for other workers.
Considering the attitude of MTL/Peel Ports, their anti union reputation and history ,plus the almost unlimited resources at their disposal it is all the more significant that they have backed down.
The campaign by supporters was crucial to this successful outcome. This support came from the local communities Eastwall - Irishtown & Ringsend , political groups , other workers and trade unionists.
The role played by the ITF was a major factor in bringing about this successful outcome , which includes the international solidarity, from across Europe, Australia and also the U.S.
The workers have asked that their sincere graditude be expressed to everybody for their support , and that they know they "COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!".
Further updates will be issued as they become available, keep checking the website, and messages of support.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh!

DP World Southampton announces new Managing Director

In line with its succession planning, global marine terminal operator DP World today announced the appointment of Chris Lewis as Managing Director for DP World Southampton with effect from February 2010. Mr Lewis was the former CEO of Hutchison Ports in the United Kingdom with overall responsibility for their port activities and developments in and outside the gates. He has been involved in the ports and shipping industry for over 25 years.Flemming Dalgaard, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Europe & Russia announced, “Chris will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in UK port infrastructure and development as well as an excellent network in the UK maritime industry. We are sure that Southampton will benefit from the synergies that Chris will bring to therole.”Campbell Mason, the current Managing Director for DP World Southampton will return home to Australia upon completing his assignment. He was personally thanked by Mr Dalgaard for his continued commitment and hard work during his time at DP World Southampton.

UK lags behind others on bank holidays

The UK is close behind some of the most generous countries in the world in terms of statutory holiday allowance, with employees being entitled to 28 days per year. But after public holidays are taken into account we drop down the league table.
The 2009 Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines report, by consultancy Mercer, which was based on statutory entitlements for an employee working five days a week with 10 years' service, shows that Finland, Brazil and France tops the global list by offering staff 30 days statutory holiday a year.
UK workers are, however, entitled to the lowest number of public holidays at just eight a year, along with Australia and The Netherlands, while Japan and India offer employees twice as many.
Once the statutory minimum and public holidays are taken into account, workers in Lithuania are entitled to the greatest amount of paid leave in Europe with 41 days' holiday per year, with France, Finland and Russia coming second (40), followed by Austria and Malta (38), Greece (37), and then the UK along with Sweden and Spain (36).

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

DP World bags former Hutchison executive

I got an email from an employee at DP world Southampton a couple of weeks ago asking about this. All I could tell him was we believed he was retiring...

CHRIS Lewis, the former boss of Hutchison Ports in the UK, is joining rival global ports group DP World as managing director for its Southampton operation, with effect from February 2010.Campbell Mason, the current managing director for DP World Southampton, will return home to Australia upon completing his assignment, a move announced in August....;jsessionid=2E1BFD2CB3B2C1D1086B275A5F63112F.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tonights branch meeting

Geordie told us that in the previous quarter the union assisted it's members at the port in claiming over £64,000 in damages. This quarter it was over £41,000! Another good reason to be a member!

The bit you've all been waiting for is Phil put to the branch the pay deal that he will be putting to the company. He will be asking for 5% on all rates (overtime and basic etc) plus a lump sum to cover the two days unpaid leave that we all lost and something towards our Christmas bonus. He added that the rpi is currently at -1.4% so that would mean to us a real improvement of 6.4%. He feels that the company will be pushing for a pay freeze. He is asking for this because volumes over the quay didn't drop as presumed and as we all know in the past few months we've all been busy.
Phil did comment that he knows in the past we've all had our squabbles but we now need to draw a line under this and all stand together strong and united.

I've been asked over the past few days about why we don't have a ballot on the LMS system. I brought up this point at the meeting and was told that the union has rules that we have to abide by and we are only allowed to hold two types of ballot, one being the type that we normally hold which is supervised and held in the union office. The other is a postal ballot, this is normally used if we vote for industrial action after the manned ballot goes this way. It was also mentioned that with the union office now at the Trinity car park 95% of the workforce has no real excuse for not going 1 minute out of their way to vote.

I'd just like to say that I personally though tit was more than disappointing that out of nearly 2000 members that only a handful attended the meeting especially after all the moans I hear on a daily basis about "Just get us our money back!"

New trucks escape charge at Port of Long Beach... What's FDRC doing to reduce emissions?

The Port of Long Beach will eliminate the pre-payment of its Clean Trucks Fee from 15 November for users of modern equipment.
At present all cargo owners pre-pay the fees, although those using rail or cleaner trucks that meet strict 2007 EPA emission guidelines, or run on cleaner alternative fuels like Liquid Natural Gas, are later reimbursed.
From the middle of next month only shippers using older trucks will be required to pre-pay the fee, a move taken in a bid to remove administrative costs for compliant shippers and operators, said the port authority.
From the start of next year, all 1993 and older trucks will be banned from Long Beach terminals and 1994-2003 trucks will need to be retrofitted or replaced.

Marseilles box throughput up 5%

CONTAINER traffic at the French port of Marseilles increased 5% during the first nine months of the year to a total 660,631 teu.
The increase was partly the result of reduced throughput last year following industrial action over the government's port reform but there were signs that the port has started to benefit from a more general recovery in container traffic.
In September, container throughput rose 9%, as traffic at the port's mainline Fos deepwater terminal shot up 40%, compensating for the sharp drop in container activity at the port's city centre eastern docks.

Friday, 16 October 2009

DPWS to upgrade quay cranes

DP World Southampton (DPWS) is close to ordering new super-post panamax cranes after it announced plans to decommission three older cranes, which were suspended following the collapse of a sister crane.
The terminal operator said it had commenced discussions with suppliers with a view to ordering additional super post-panamax cranes, which would operate alongside the other cranes of that class that were commissioned in 2008 and 2009.
Campbell Mason, DPWS MD, said: “While our presently operating crane fleet has more than adequate capacity to handle current levels of demand, we will continue to invest in super post-panamax cranes to ensure that our handling capacity stays ahead of the anticipated growth in container volumes and that our operational capability expands to meet the increasing requirements of shipping lines.
“In parallel with the industry trend toward ever-larger vessels, we must continue to invest in the equipment required to meet our customers’ growing needs.”
DPWS said as part of this upgrade, it would also decommission the three older cranes that were suspended from operation after the boom collapse accident in July this year.;jsessionid=3AEC2BCBF2A0978F44477FE842B2CF4E.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

DP World decommissions cranes

DP WORLD Southampton is decommissioning three Morris container cranes after one of a similar class and design collapsed in July, leaving the operator seriously injured.

The decommissioning of the cranes comes as DP World Southampton announced plans to increase its quayside crane capability to handle super post-panamax container vessels.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

New business park set for Suffolk

FELIXSTOWE: A massive 280-acre business park - as big as the village of Trimley St Mary - could be built on the Felixstowe peninsula to help keep the port as a world-class container terminal.
But battlelines are set to be drawn between those who see the development as bringing a jobs boost for the area and those who see it as a threat to the rural countryside between Felixstowe and Ipswich.
Experts say the Port of Felixstowe will need extra land to help it grow and keep its rivals at bay, and the project could create many new jobs.
Immediate concerns will focus on the size of the development at Innocence Farm alongside the A14, but landowner Trinity College, Cambridge, insists it will not be a “blot on the landscape” and be hidden by a 70-metre deep earthbank, planting and trees.
Earlier this year, Liberal Democrats suggested the site could become a 4,000-home new village to cope with Felixstowe's future housing needs but the site was said to be too far away from facilities families would need.
The college's plan involves:
280-acres of land for a business park between the A14, Kirton Road, and Croft Lane;
a new freight railhead to connect with the Ipswich-Felixstowe line near Morston Hall;
a 44-acre development, probably for container storage, at Christmasyards Wood in Trimley St Mary.
Last year a report examining land needed to cope with the growth of the port said more than 800 acres of potential land had been identified as suitable for port operations and 286 acres would be needed by 2023 if the port grows as expected.
The land is needed for storage sites for cargo, places for modern distribution centres, and offices and yards for port-related business.
Tim Collins, a partner in Bidwells, agents for Trinity College, said the projects were currently before district, sub-regional and regional bodies and it was hoped they would be included in the new planning policy for the area.“Felixstowe port is a significant player on the European and world stage and from Felixstowe's, the port's and Trinity College's perspective, if we want that to continue we have to be planning in terms of supply and availability strategic employment land to take the port forward now and beyond 2025,” he said.
“It will be critical to keep a first-class port functioning and for Felixstowe to have a vibrant economy.”

Next branch meeting.

Tuesday, 20th October 2009
at; Felixstowe Trades and Labour Club
High Road,

Please make every effort to attend. I'm driving from Ipswich and will be picking a few people up, I still have room in the van for more.

Topics to be covered are:
Pay talks and unpaid leave!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Recession Update September 2009

August sees a large fall in total redundancies
In August a total of 6,151 redundancies were announced in Unite companies,
which was considerably down on the July total of 10,291. This downturn is the
lowest reported redundancy figure since September 2008, when 2,539
redundancies were reported. So are we finally seeing a softening in
redundancies? A note of caution would be that August is a prime holiday
month, which may have influenced reporting. So figures in September might
give a better indication of where we are heading.

UK economy ‘returning to growth’
There are signs that the economy has retuned to growth, says the governor of
the Bank of England. Mervyn King told a Treasury select committee hearing
that there were indications of a pick-up in activity, both in the UK and
overseas, but the effects of the recession will continue to affect people.
"Growth rates don't tell the full story, it's the levels that matter," he said.
"For most businesses and households the recession will continue for some
King said the Bank's £175bn quantitative easing programme to boost money
supply and historically low interest rates of 0.5 per cent were helping support
a UK recovery.
"Six months after launching the programme, we are beginning to see its
impact on the supply of broad money and nominal spending," he said.
But he warned that the path ahead would be volatile.
Source: Dods Monitoring

Eurozone is 'exiting recession'

The eurozone is emerging from recession, according to the latest forecast
from the European Commission. "The economy appears to be at a turning
point," the commission said.
It forecast growth of 0.2% for the July to September quarter, with Germany
and France continuing to grow and Italy exiting recession.
The commission also forecast the UK economy, which is outside the
eurozone, would grow by 0.2% during the third quarter, marking the end of

Full report here:

MTL Dublin 100 days on.

On Saturday, 10th of October, the 100th day of this official strike, supporters and strikers met at Croke Park to distribute flyers detailing a connection between Celtic FC and Peel Ports. Mr. Tom E. Allison is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Nomination Committee for Celtic FC, he is also Chairman of Peel Ports. Celtic football club was founded in 1887 to provide relief for impoverished Irish immigrants in Glasgow’s east end parishes and now has support from Irish all over the world.No doubt Celtic fans will be appalled to know that a prominent member of their club is involved in this attack on Irish workers.The game in Croke Park between Ireland and Italy was attended by 70,640 fans with a 2 all draw result.Send messages of protest to, and mark them for the attention of Mr. John Reid, chairman

Thursday, 8 October 2009

UK port operator to be sold for "nominal proceeds"

PD Ports-owner Babcock & Brown Infrastructure (BBI) has revealed plans to sell the UK ports group for as little as A$1 (US$0.90) to Canadian institutional investor Brookfield Asset Management.
Australia-based BBI, which over the past few years rapidly built up a port portfolio in the UK, Australia and Europe, earlier this month rejected a refinancing proposal from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Under the terms of the proposed Brookfield deal, the Canadian company will become a “cornerstone investor” in BBI, pumping US$1.1bn into the firm, and owning 35-40% of its stock, whilst also gaining a 49.9% stake in Darymple Bay Coal Terminal and 100% of PD Ports.
BBI has debts totalling nearly A$8.9bn, with an A$300m payment due in February, which it previously thought it might be able to meet through the sale of assets, including PD Ports.
However, in announcing the Brookfield deal, BBI said: “As the asset sale processes progressed, it became apparent that while it is possible that asset sales could deliver the cash proceeds required to meet the February 2010 debt maturity, they would also likely result in BBI breaching its forward-looking interest cover ratios.
“In these circumstances, all of BBI’s remaining corporate debt facilities would become immediately due and payable, unless renegotiated.”
If the deal is voted in by BBI shareholders, the new PD Ports owner will immediately repay £100m of its £300m debt.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Maersk abandons recovery hopes and looks to slash officer jobs

MAERSK Line is seeking over 280 voluntary officer redundancies from the UK and Denmark in a bid to slash costs across the company.
Confirming the industry’s worst fears, the box giant admitted that hopes of an early economic upturn have now been abandoned and frontline jobs are on the line.
The company is aiming to replace 170 of its 800 Danish seafarers with cheaper Asian crew and cut 113 of its 560 British officers through voluntary redundancies.
While the company has stressed that the lay-offs will be voluntary, the UK cuts are understood to be essential to stem the current surplus of officers out of work thanks to the increasing amount of vessels being laid-up.
The company, which posted a first half loss of nearly $1bn and expects that figure to reach$2bn by the end of the second half, has already “said goodbye” to around 7,000 employees worldwide over the past 18 months.
The possibility of further job cuts has not been ruled out.
“We just cannot carry on with a huge surplus of officers,” AP Moller Maersk head of marine human resources Henrik Sloth told Lloyd’s List. “We are doing this in the hope that there will be better times ahead soon, but we cannot live on hope alone”.
The Maersk fleet has been carrying surplus officers for several months in the hope of an economic upturn. On Friday, the company was forced to admit that their waiting had not paid off and the existing tranche of cost-cutting measures and efficiency savings were not going to be enough.
A total of 11 UK-flagged Maersk Line vessels are currently in lay-up and according to Mr Sloth the company conservatively estimates that 25 vessels across the fleet will join them by the end of the year.
Around 50 UK officers have already been transferred off the UK-flagged fleet into vessels less affected by the current downturn. But this programme has only dented the total surplus of officer that the company currently employs thanks to the increasing amount of lay-ups.
Without a significant upturn in economic activitiy the situation is expected to get worse before it gets better. Maersk currently has over 30 container vessels due to be delivered between now and 2012.
“The container industry is going through a tough period and with Maersk Line vessels laid-up, we simply cannot sustain surplus crew within a reduced fleet,” said Mearsk Company shipping division managing director Terry Cornick. “It’s not an easy decision to take, but it’s the right decision for the long-term future of our business.”
As part of the UK cuts, the Maersk Company has announced that it will also no longer automatically employ cadets graduating from training with the Company, although this decision is open to reviewas market conditions improve.
In Denmark Maersk Line will offer Danish officers with relatively low company seniority to take part in an early retirement and redundancy package. According to officlas the package will be attractive to officers with a desire to work in land based jobs and will be offered to all Danish officers in Maersk Line with relative low company seniority, excluding Captains and Chief Engineers.
Maersk started what promises to be a difficult round of negotiations with unions on Friday following the announcement.
“Of course this is very disappointing and we will be looking to negotiate the number of jobs down, but at this stage it really is a question of saving as many jobs and careers as possible,” said general secretary of officers union Nautilus International Mark Dickinson.