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Spanish port strike continues

BARCELONA: June 09, 2017. Some 6,000 Spanish dockworkers are expected to continue their strike action until June 24 unless a meeting between their union and employer association ANESCO scheduled for June 13 results in a breakthrough.

Algeciras SpainAccording to European short-sea operator Seago, part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, Algeciras is expected to work during the weekend of June 10-11; few workers at Valencia has forced Seago to avoid the port; and Barcelona remains "heavily congested" due to the lack of stevedores.

Maersk Line's maiden voyage of its Triple E (2) Madrid Maersk avoided Algeciras (right) for Tangier last week on its way to Felixstowe, UK to discharge 6,000 TEU, while its M2 partner MSC this week unloaded its box vessel Ilona at Sines in Portugal instead.

Earlier this week ANESCO called on the Spanish government to intervene to force members of the port workers' union SAGEO to return to work and the negotiating table.

This has prompted Iñigo de la Serna, Spain's minister for Public Works from the country's ruling Conservative Popular Party, to warn ocean carriers could withdraw from Spain if a solution wasn't found.

The strike centers around future worker job protection following an EU ruling to open up Spain's 39 heavily unionized, closed-shop ports that enable stevedores to earn an average €60,000-€100,000 a year.

ANESCO has said it would guarantee current levels of dock worker employment but can't agree on a SAGEO demand for future employees to receive the same income, protection and benefits as it would contravene European employment law, and subject port operators to a fine equal to 10 percent of annual turnover.

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