LAB EuskadiA few weeks ago, when we, the dockworkers, had not yet exercised our right to strike, the dock companies put on sheep’s clothing and launched an excessive preventive press campaign, calling us gangster, banning temporary workers from working extra shifts (nights and weekends) or wanting to perpetuate what they call our “privileges” at the expense of our TEA colleagues.

As time has dismantled their lies, because then and now our temporary colleagues have been working the various extra shifts for which they have been offered a contract as well as the Bilboestiba CPE dockers, we have been able to see their true face. Their only proposal for the casual workers has been to extend the casualty even further. All their unfounded concern for these workers is now exposed by the latest decisions they have been taking as the days of strike have gone by, in a strategy that was to make their situation even more precarious with wage cuts of up to 40% for the same tasks they have been carrying out for 12 years through daily contracts, which as if that were not enough they are now being offered even on an hourly basis.

In view of the exercise of unity, solidarity and adhesion to the strike exhibited by all the workers ─By the permanent workers of Bilboestiba as well as the temporary workers of the historic Randstad labour exchange, who have joined all the strikes called in the sector ─no─ahora the companies, in this trip to nowhere, have proceeded to take reprisals against this group of workers because they are the most vulnerable, ceasing to hire them despite the fact that the CPE does not have enough staff to handle the workload.

This means a de facto dismissal of just over 100 temporary dockworkers, dockers who have been working for these companies for the last 12 years in the order of 130 shifts on average per year in that period. Workers who throughout this period have been the main labour force for the most arduous and dangerous tasks of any dockworker’s job. Workers who were hired only on the day that the workload exceeded the capacity of Bilboestiba’s fixed workforce, and who were terminated on the same day.

Workers who have seen how, as the years have gone by and the number of permanent employees has been reduced, while their activity has increased to 170 days in each of the last two years, instead of taking the natural step towards a permanent contract for which they have been waiting for a long time and which in any fairly normal country would be what they would already have, find themselves in the pillory of choosing between more eventualities, and precariousness, or nothing at all.

These same dock companies that yesterday, while informing in a shameful press release that they had requested arbitration to resolve the conflict and were engaged in charging the entire group of permanent dockworkers with insults and disqualifications that far exceed the minimum necessary to be subject to criminal action, have now taken the harshest possible retaliation against our possible colleagues, with the complicity of the presidency of the Port Authority of the port of Bilbao that prevents the entry of these stevedores in which they have worked for more than a decade.

This crawling reprisal, this savage dismissal, takes place while ships are piling up on the quays, not only because of the strike and the stoppages of the dockers, but also because of the decisions of these same dockworkers who, by voluntarily dispensing with these workers, have only today stopped serving more than 5 ships that could have been perfectly served, thus taking the whole port community hostage. It seems that in the face of this shameful action, Mr. Barkala is not going to take any action.


World Federation of Trade Unions