Mediation between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union (Hamnarbetarförbundets) at the Port of Gothenburg and APM Terminals has broken down, which will result in a selective strike at the container terminal for 24 hours from 1600hrs today (local time) by Hamn4an, the local branch of the Hamnarbetarförbundets.
Discussions between the two sides commenced on May 11 last week and has continued “largely without interruption”, but parties have been unable to settle the dispute, according to a release from APM Terminals (APMT) today.
“This is, obviously, very distressing, and it will hit our customers in particular very badly, and will ultimately damage Sweden’s export industries”, says Henrik Kristensen, CEO of APM Terminals, said of the continued strike action. “But when it became impossible to achieve a time-limited no-strike rule for the port, it was right to break off the mediation discussions.”
The workers’ union has raised “various issues of various managerial ways, in which the union is not satisfied with the employer’s procedures”, concerning salaries, safety, the working environment and other issues, according to an earlier statement from APMT.
The terminal operator is undertaking improvement work at the site to improve the way the facility is managed. APMT wants any agreement struck with the union to “maintain agreed service levels and delivery undertakings” for its customers.
“The question at issue is how can we work together to organise our operations so that they take account of the needs of our customers and are flexible enough to cope with the seasons, our climate, staff illness and holiday periods,” Kristensen said.
An overtime ban came into effect at 0700hrs today for Hamn4an and will continue for eight hours after the strike ends on Wednesday afternoon.
The Port of Gotheburg Authority has warned there is a risk of vessel queues when the grid opens up on Wednesday afternoon after the industrial action ceases, but has said other freight terminals at the port will not be affected by the strike.