New strike announced at APM Terminals Gothenburg

2017-01-13 The SDU responds after being barred from representing it's members at upcoming redundancy negotiations

On Friday the Swedish Dockworkers' Union Local 4 gave notice about an upcoming strike at APM Terminals Gothenburg on the 24th of January between 12.00 and 20.00. There is already a ban on overtime and restrictions on the use of casuals in the largest container terminal in Scandinavia.

The APMT Gothenburg Dispute has been ongoing since spring 2016, caused by a drastic change in the company's personnel policies. The SDU Local 4 organises some 85% of the dockworkers at the terminal, and has been forced to take industrial action in it's attempts to re-establish a normal Swedish negotiation model, preventive Health & Safety in the workplace and other basic rights (the union's demands in the dispute are listed below).

In December 2016, the SDU and it's international organisation the International Dockworkers' Council proposed an initial three-month period without industrial action in an effort to establish constructive negotiations for a new production model at the terminal. The APMT management responded on the 23rd of December, declaring that it was not willing to make any counter-commitments or compromises concerning the issues at hand. The terminal management re-affirmed that it would allow the union to take part in announced redundancy talks.

APM Terminals is now threatening to lay off up to 60 dockworkers on temporary as well as permanent employment contracts (most of them SDU members) and denying them the right to be represented by their own union. Contradicting the claims of redundancy, the company has recently prolonged a large number of temporary employement contracts until the summer and plans to train more than twenty new straddle carrier drivers.

The latest strike in the APMT Gothenburg Dispute will come into effect in connection with the upcoming redundancy negotiations. The company's threats of mass layoffs is regarded as an act of extortion, aiming to push the dockworker collective to accept down-sizing of the crane gangs from 9 to 8 men as well as eroded employment security.

The SDU states that the announced 8-hour strike is a prelude to a broader escalation of the conflict, that may involve direct solidarity action on a global level.

The SDU's demands in the APMT Gothenburg Dispute:

  • Guarantee trade union rights
    The SDU demands written guarantees that the company will grant trade unions the right to freely form its’ negotiating delegations and to continuously inform its’ members on current issues and developments. Company boycotts, dictates, interferences and sanctions must end.
  • Respect the jurisdiction and the right to our jobs
    The SDU demands an immediate stop to the company’s practice of sporadically delegating dockworkers’ or mooring crew’s tasks to manage reefers or secure ships to other parts of the workforce.
  • Honor standing agreements
    The SDU demands that dockworkers who were promised compensation for extra work hours during a period of changing work patterns be paid immediately.
  • Stop using sick or aging casual dockworkers as bargaining chips
    The SDU demands their 60-year old member immediately receives previously agreed upon retraining for less physically demanding tasks. All cynical counter-demands for collective ¨no strike”-clauses or concessions regarding terms and conditions must be dropped.
  • Re-establish systematic Health & Safety cooperation
    The SDU demands written guarantees of continued recognition of it's elected and trained H&S officers as well as their participation in all future risk assessments and accident enquiries involving blue-collar workers.
  • Acknowledge valid laws and contracts concerning vacation, parental leave, and time bank applications
    The SDU demands written guarantees that APMT will henceforth adhere to the time limits and rules in the Annual Leave Act, the Parental Leave Act, and the local time bank CBA. The stress and pressure inflicted on dockworker families due to delayed decisions and unlawful rejections this summer cannot be repeated.