Workers at the Port of Rotterdam’s container terminals have voted to hold several strikes in December and January to protest against potential job cuts once the two new Maasvlakte terminals become fully operational.
According to a statement from the FNV Havens union, the overwhelming majority of workers at the port’s container terminals were favourable to the series of 24-hour strikes, which are likely to be held on three days in December 2015 and three in January 2016.
The potential strikes are due to fears that fewer workers will be required once the highly automated Maasvlakte 2 terminals become fully operational.
The union claimed that the gloomiest scenario would involve the loss of approximately 700 out of the 4,000 jobs in container handling at the port in 2017.
The demands made by FNV’s director Niek Stam included a job guarantee until 2024 for all employees who had a permanent job at one of the container terminals on January 1, 2015. Major terminal operators Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG), APM Terminals (APMT) and Europe Container Terminals (ECT) have rejected the union’s demand.
The consultations between the employers and the union began in April this year, with Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam, as chairman. As FNV reported, the last meeting to date between the employers and the union was held on November 6, but no agreement was reached.
At the last meeting concerning the strikes organised by the union and attended by the employees, FNV director has reportedly said: “We have to hurt them.”