ITF backs Norwegian dockers’ boycott

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The ITF has spoken out in support of dockworkers in Norway who began a boycott at Risavika terminal on Friday 1st November. The action is over the reported refusal of management to sign up to the national Norwegian agreement covering dockworkers. Instead, employer Risavika Terminal is said to be proposing to use seafarers to carry out cargo handling duties.

The ITF has issued a statement condemning the intentions of the company, claiming these are in direct contravention of the ITF dockers’ clause. The statement reads: ‘All ITF agreements contain the dockers’ clause, which stipulates that on vessels covered, neither the ship’s crew nor anyone else on board shall carry out cargo handling work traditionally or historically done by dockworkers. Cargo handling must be done by professional dockworkers who have the relevant skills and training to be efficient and safe in this role.’

The ITF finds the intentions of management to violate the dockers’ clause in this way totally unacceptable and agrees with the NTF’s assessment that this is a blatant attempt to cut costs and maximise profits in a move which poses a great risk to health and safety standards as well as trade union rights.

ITF dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said: “We are behind the dockers of Norway 100%. They are taking action because they have been left no other choice. This is a long running dispute at the heart of which is the company’s lack of respect for dock work as a profession and its willingness to put lives at risk by allowing those without the proper training and experience to do a job which is skilled and dangerous. That’s something that we just can’t stand back and accept.”

Norwegian maritime unions have requested that vessels divert to other ports where there is a NTF agreement in place, while the boycott is in force.