Spanish Dockworkers Plan Nine-Day Strike

Spanish Dockworkers Plan Nine-Day Strike
February 22, 2017 by Reuters
Containers are seen at Barcelona's Port, Spain, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

MADRID, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Spanish dock workers have called nine days of strikes to protest government plans to allow ports to hire non-unionised labour, El Pais newspaper reported on Tuesday, threatening to disrupt trade for up to three weeks from March 6.

Dockers last week called off a planned three-day strike after the government said it would put its reforms on hold and open talks, but the decision to push ahead with a bigger strike came after the government signalled it would not change parts of the plan, El Pais said, citing the CETM union.

Reuters could not reach CETM for comment.

The proposals would allow companies operating in ports to hire staff that do not belong to unions, a move unpopular with union members but which would help bring Spain in line with European Union regulations.

The nine days of stoppages across dozens of Spanish ports would take place on alternate days, meaning disruptions could drag on for three weeks between March 6 and March 24, El Pais said.

Negotiations between the unions and the government were set to continue.

About two-thirds of Spain’s exports pass through the ports, which handle some 500 million tonnes of merchandise a year. (Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)