Ruscon News

No End in Sight for Labor Stoppages at Rotterdam Port

8 February 2012

    A labor dispute at APM Terminals in Rotterdam that has disrupted shipping at one of Europe’s largest container handling facilities for over a week shows no sign of an early end.

    Ocean carriers are mulling whether to bypass the terminal as the strike by around 700 workers is delaying the departure of ships by several hours. Vessels that do sail on time are leaving boxes on the docks. The industrial action, over a new wage contract, has ranged from six-hour walkouts to 10-minute stoppages every hour to do exercises.

    There is an “absolute stalemate” in talks between the company and the unions, said APM Terminals spokesman Cor Radings. No fresh talks are planned.

    APM, a unit of Denmark’s A.P Moller-Maersk, offered a 5.5 percent wage increase over two years coupled with a jobs guarantee through 2015. But it has rejected union demands for the new contract to include compensation for workers affected by government pension reforms extending the national retirement age from 65 to 67.

    The disruption is causing a “lot of concern” for carriers who are now considering their short-term options, Radings said. The dispute is also damaging the APM Terminals reputation for reliability, he said. This is the first industrial action since a wildcat strike in 2010.

    APM Terminals" target="_blank">Rotterdam handles around 2.4 million 20-equivalent units a year, with more than 50 percent of the traffic accounted for by sister company Maersk Line.

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