Seaport operators call on Verdi to compromise | Free press

The port companies and Verdi fought for a new collective agreement for seven rounds of negotiations without success. Result: violent blows. Employers are now appealing to both sides.


In a fierce dispute over collective wages for port workers, employers called on the Verdi union to compromise. A compromise must be found “in the sense of the responsibility we share for the operation of seaports,” said Ulrike Riedel, a German press agency, negotiator for the Central Union of German Port Companies (ZDS).

In the seven rounds so far, both sides have negotiated a new wage agreement for dock workers in North Sea ports. The negotiations were accompanied by three warning strikes. Most recently, Verdi crippled vessel handling for 48 hours last week.

“The difficulty in these negotiations is that when we discuss possible solutions, Verdi is very reluctant to compromise,” criticized Riedel. “We are talking about scenarios and offers, but Verdi sticks to the original request that steps in that direction should not be immune at the moment.”

It’s been over 40 years since this small but important industry has had such a heavy wage dispute with strikes in the ports. From the employers’ point of view, this year the union has deviated from a long-term, more consensus-oriented course. “For many years there was a common perception that neither side should dominate the other,” said Riedel. Both sides have always watched what the agreement means for the differently performing sectors of the port industry. “I’m not experiencing it this round anymore.”

Focus on inflation

The union has entered into negotiations with a package of demands, which, according to Verdi, means wage increases to 14 percent. within 12 months. “Verdi is totally focused on the issue of inflation,” said Riedel.

With inflation currently particularly high, at around 8 percent, the employers’ side recently tried to “find a compromise on duration between the issue of high demands and inflation compensation and how we can ensure that companies can do it economically as well.” ZDS estimates the offer, which consists of several elements, for a period of 24 months at 12.5 percent. for container companies and 9.6 percent. for conventional companies and 5.5 percent. arrangement.

“It’s not easy for me to imagine which screws we should still tighten,” said Riedel. “In the long term, the question of adjustment in the second year is one that we are still discussing right now and where we have talked about possible mechanisms and criteria. At this point, we could certainly take on and improve, ”she suggested a possible solution.

Further labor disputes are ruled out until the end of August. A settlement reached at the Hamburg labor court last week stipulates that parties to the collective bargaining agreement must agree three consecutive hearings by August 26 by the end of next week. Consequently, Verdi cannot call for further warning strikes during this period. (dpa)

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