French port workers set to strike again

THE ports and docks federation of France’s CGT union confederation has called on its members to stage a two-day strike on Tuesday and Wednesday to coincide with the presentation of the government’s port reform bill to the National Assembly.

The CGT, which is opposing the government’s plans to transfer port authority terminal employees to the private sector, has said that it is dissatisfied with the “evasive or unacceptable” replies given by port employers to the conditions it set for opening negotiations on the transfer issue.

The union has not excluded participating in negotiations for a framework agreement to accompany the reform legislation.

But it has warned, “The combat of the port workers will only cease when they have obtained guarantees of employment, social guarantees and the guarantee that the relaunch of the ports will not be carried to the detriment of port workers.”

The union, which is by far the biggest among port authority employees in France, has been engaged in a guerrilla war against the reform since mid-April, staging a series of strikes and banning overtime, night work and all “exceptional” tasks.

So far, however, it has failed to shake the resolve of the government and port employers to end port authority involvement in cargo-handling activities.